Feature Thursday: Guest Post by Reba Riley, Creator of Thirty by Thirty

Ms. Riley, a fellow Immersian and adventurer in the world of faith, agreed to guest post on her “Thirty by Thirty” journey and what immersion means to her.


At seven, I wanted so desperately to be a mermaid that I rubber-banded my feet together and enthusiastically hopped into our backyard pool.  Flailing about awkwardly (and, given my mother’s shrieks, no doubt looking like a drowning victim!), I remember feeling very disappointed: my toes remained firmly attached and my legs failed to melt into shiny blue fins. Heartbroken, I cried the tears of every child who realizes they can’t grow up to be a princess or superhero.

I think most folks who’ve struggled with faith can sympathize with my seven-year old self. We were all born into a belief ecosystem comprised of family, community and culture; its truths were the very air we breathed; its morality the ground we walked. Then came a day when we realized There’s a great ocean of belief out there, and I want to jump in. But there’s one major problem…we’re not equipped for the swim.  So maybe we flail about for awhile, trying to acclimate: maybe some of us even manage for a while . But most of us? We find it easier to simply cry our silent tears, mourning a dream that will not be. Not because it’s impossible, no; because it’s simply too hard trade comfortable beliefs for the unknown.

Then there’s this guy, Andrew Bowen, The Immersionist, a guy with a foot (and a fin?) in both worlds.  He left behind what he knew—everything he knew—and dove into 12 belief systems, emerging a year later with a message: it’s hard, but it’s worth it. And now he’s taking this message to the world, leading the charge into uncharted waters.

For me, Andrew’s Immersionism is unique because, by its very definition, it means diving into to something new…for a time. His is not the gospel of forever; it’s the gospel of the now: today, challenge yourself to take a dip in unfamiliar waters. Today, take a deep breath and plunge in: try adopting a new faith system for a day, or even an hour.

If Andrew’s Project Conversion was a year spent scuba-diving from a submarine, my Thirty by Thirty experience (365 Days, 30 Faiths, 1 Chance to Recover Mine by 30) was more like doing hand stands in the shallow end of the pool. But for both of us, our experiences were exactly what we needed:  in Immersion we lost ourselves and found our faith. So maybe my mermaid dream wasn’t so far off after all. I may not be able to grow fins, but I can sure as heck wear some flippers and a snorkel! And so can you.

C’mon and join us, friends, in the ocean, the shallow end, or even dipping in a toe. The water may be a little cold at first, but we promise it warms up fast once you start swimmin’.

Thanks Reba for guest posting for us today. I’ll never look at mermaids quite the same way again. Be sure to join Reba’s Thirty by Thirty Facebook crew and also on Twitter. She continues blogging on www.thirtybythirty.com.

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