Colin Kidder

"I'm a full time picture framer. I really enjoy what I do. It's very hands-on...kind of creative, craft work. But I'm also an artist, (semi-professional) working on a large outdoor sculpture for the city of Memphis, hoping one day to transition into a full time artist. I actually designed my own tattoo and had it put on my back. To be honest I did it kind of as an art project, but I was also trying to be a rebel.

Looking back I realize now that I grew up in a really great church environment. But I was a free thinker. I wanted to come to my own conclusions about faith.

So, around age 9 or 10 until my early 20's I had a pretty negative view of the church. Again, not because my experience with people or the church was bad, I never felt condemned or judged, I think I just saw hypocrisy and questioned what people believed. I thought a lot of what people believed was stupid or fake. I sat through a lot of church services that were boring, irrelevant and kind of meaninglessly ritualistic. So I began searching for something real. I visited temples both Hindu and Buddhist working through my doubts.

I feel like I was led back into the church through some friendships in my life. My girlfriend at the time said it was very important for us. I gave it a shot and found a great community for me. Even after we broke up, it was the relationships and community I found that kept me coming. I realized a lot of my previous feelings of the church were personal. It was me being young and judgmental.

I think we were made for community. It's a joyful thing to share love for people and be loved. That community is motivating and guiding for me. There's so much distraction in everyday life, being a part of that community helps me with my priorities.

Jesus is: a way of being close to God and receiving forgiveness. The need for personal forgiveness is so hard to understand and so difficult to admit the need. We do struggle and suffer and we do need the love that is offered through Jesus, that he gives forgiveness rather than condemnation. A relationship with God is still something that's difficult to grasp and I feel like I'm just beginning to understand that. I grew up spending so many years feeling God is there and he's pretty much good, but very distant. I felt like he was involved in the world but not approachable for me. Now I realize that God is sovereign and in control and knowing that takes the pressure off of me. If I'm going through something difficult, trusting that He's in control and that He loves me relieves my need to control my life."