Responses to "Personal Faith with a Passion" Workshop
by Participants Nationwide

This workshop is an example of how God is answering the questions of his people. Christians have always had questions, but have seldom had a good path to have them explored or answered. We may be at the beginning of a new era of Christianity, an era in which educated people can deepen their faith without fear of going against the "common" understanding.
– Walter Smith, Greensboro, North Carolina

I began with feelings that I was inadequate, ignorant, devoid of spiritual background. I now feel hopeful, capable, prepared, armed and knowledgeable enough to continue on the process of establishing my own spiritual beliefs. I feel OK about questioning beliefs and dogma. It's OK for me not to know and say that. I've been on a spiritual quest for about three years now, but mostly wandering aimlessly with little or no plan, believing my own direction was not worthy, that someone else probably had the right answer for me, if I could just find it or them. Today I have a new sense of purpose, a new cleared path to push myself onward, forward, to read, study, question, paint, draw, write, listen to develop what is a comfortable, real theology that is as unique and powerful as I am. I have all the tools I need within me.
– Anne Hines, Dallas, Texas

I found an unbelievable number of avenues/opportunities to explore in depth to enrich/strengthen my personal faith and to bring it to expression. Building your faith is not a piece of cake. It's straw and clay, brick by brick.
– Tom O'Reilly, Paoli, Pennsylvania

Ray Dykes' personal theology workshop was the greatest "mind-stretching" adventure I have ever had! During nine (intense) hours of the workshop, I was forced to do more soul-searching than I had ever done. It raised many questions, but it also enabled me to articulate my faith and/or theology in a much stronger way.
– Carolyn Herrin, Duncan, Oklahoma

I just had one of the most exciting, thought-provoking, fun weekends of my spiritual journey. I've always "known" I believe, but why? who? when? how? Learning how to put these questions and thoughts to use was a treasure. Ray is real, sure and innovative. Can't wait to shake up our youth with this material!
– Merelyn Aubrey, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Your workshop was one of the most stimulating and thought-provoking meetings I have ever attended. Your faith story was amazing and your presentation really challenged me but made me feel very comfortable at the same time. I look forward to reading your materials and hope that I will be able to attend another Ray Dykes workshop in the future.
– Dick Ebling, Houston, Texas

I realized from this workshop that though I was raised in the church and have always attended church, I need to have a clearer understanding of my beliefs about God, the scripture, and my faith. There are certain ideas I have always thought I believed and I need to know if I really do, and if so, why I believe them. Another thing I got out of this workshop was that discussions of theology and faith do not have to be dull or boring. It was the most fun I have had in church in a long time.
– Dick Spencer, Fort Worth, Texas

I know very little about my faith. I need to learn more about myself and my faith. I learned much about the other elders and ministers. There is a wealth of knowledge there. While there are many similarities in our beliefs, there are just as many differences! That comes from our diverse backgrounds (among other reasons). Being a Christian is not just "waving to Christ" or saying you believe. It's being there.
– Kent Higginbotham, St. Louis, Missouri

I learned about the qualities of God, the way you can see God in a person or in nature. I learned about how God treats us, and what to do when he does call on us. Also I learned how I can find myself in the Bible. I am really glad I came, because I learned a lot about God, which will help me find what I believe.
– Tom Bennewitz, middle school student, Athens, Georgia

I learned how little I know. I got a better understanding of myself and my beliefs, and a better understanding of our religion and what it means. The important questions are: Who is God? What can God do? Why? What is our faith? I'm taking away the desire to be a better person, to be more understanding of others, to understand the will of God in my life.
– Bill Husband, Detroit, Michigan

I learned to approach life daily with prayer, thought/reflection, a broader understanding of other folks, a broader understanding of myself and how I'm living and why I do and feel the things I do. And living it will make me a better person and make God happy and make me happy.
– Christie Kelly, Virginia Beach, Virginia

I have not felt as spiritually alive as I have over the course of this workshop. I am excited to work on my own theology. I love your input and that of all the others in our class. The discussions were lively and fascinating. I feel I have a lot of work ahead of me in making my theological bricks worthy of supporting my house of faith.
– Lori Lindsey, Norman, Oklahoma

It was an edifying workshop -- didn't want to miss a word. The instructor had a wonderful background of expertise in delivery as well as knowledge of the Bible and its impact on our beliefs, and how we react to them. It would be an understatement to say that this workshop was one of the best I've experienced and I've been to a lot of them.
– Dorothy Minister, Columbus, Ohio

For a number of years I have been quite "comfortable" with my theology. I learned it as a child, refined it a little, but no real work or thought. This workshop has challenged those staid, accepted beliefs, which means that I must evaluate and tie it together. Theology does not exist in a vacuum. It is a growth process. My theology is coming to life. I look forward to growing, learning, re-evaluating, and living my theology. I know my house of faith is going to have many new bricks.
– David Foutch, Lebanon, Tennessee

This workshop helped me realize that to get along with some vague, floating notion of God is useless. I must confront issues surrounding God's existence, will, and nature, and resolve those issues to my satisfaction so I can have a foundation upon which to build a sound theology. There will still be forks in the road that will be tough, and I don't know if the theology I come up with will be pure and true, or just a sacrifice or compromise to appease my whims. However it works out, I am now committed to undertaking this, and I believe it will become a profound influence on my life. I would like to thank you, Ray, for going inside my head and forcing me to deal with things I had put aside. I give thanks for your guidance during this workshop and in the form of this workbook. Thanks again, and I wish you all the best as you spread the message.
– Barron Thompson, University of Georgia student, Athens, Georgia

This workshop was a very liberating experience. It has given me a tool to help guide me in questioning my faith and thinking for myself. I will use everything I've learned here, mostly as straw and add it to my clay to build my spiritual and theological foundation.
– Tasha Casey, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The workshop was very informative. It caused me to become more aware of theological "facts" that are not a part of my general information. Most importantly, it confirmed my ownership of a solid "religious" spiritual life without being able to "qualify" every belief with page and verse. I like to feel I am living my religion through sharing with and caring about my larger community, living religion via positive action as opposed to just "talking the talk." This was a valuable workshop. God bless the presenter!
– Myrna Kane, Morrisville, Pennsylvania
I got permission — permission to be free from guilt when I could not swallow — hook, line, and sinker — the party line. My beliefs are no more outlandish than any others. I've been looking for a lot of answers the last few years. I now have permission to accept my answers.
– Jane Hogue, Jackson, Mississippi