Who Am I? What does my name mean? Who are my spiritual role models?

What is my current faith perspective?

My name is Joseph James Cook Jr, clearly heavily influenced by Christian figures. Its funny, I used to be so embarrassed and afraid to even mention my middle name to people, not because I thought it sounded odd or funny, but because I was afraid of being ridiculed and marked a ‘religious freak’ because of its strong and clear religious ties. Nonetheless, religion has always played a important role in my life. My faith when I was younger was heavily influenced from my grandmothers, ‘nana’ and ‘Big mama’ like I used to call them, who have since passed. However, their influence and moral guidance have never left me. I attended a Christian elementary and middle school, and then a Catholic high school. My parents talked about religious ideals and wanted me to have a true understanding of faith as a growing adult, however, church was never seen as a huge priority. I would pray regularly at school and go to church for big holidays or special gatherings, but consistent church attendance was not apart of my childhood. In retrospect, I’m not quite sure if this was a good or bad thing. I didn’t have the same foundational principles of faith and understanding of the Bible like some of my peers did, but I also did not get burned out like many young kids seem to and end up resenting church and talking about God. God and my faith have always been something I was curious about, and thus I was always drawn toward wanting to learn more. This child-like questioning and pondering has never quite left me.

For religious guidance, I look toward the Proverbs for their relatability  and life lessons. As a spiritual guide or leader, I really admire Martin Luther King Jr. for his fortitude and commitment to religious principles in the face of harsh adversity. Though not perfect in his personal life, but truly none of us are, his determination and relationship with God is something I admire and strive towards. Through my trials and tribulations, the Lord has allowed me to grow in ways that I previously couldn’t of imagined. These experiences along with conversations with my professor and friends have lead me to adding this section of my blog. I hope and truly believe God will be able to speak through me and hopefully help others who are struggling with their own faith. Though I consider myself a stagnant Christian right now, I hope through this process of writing and reflecting about my faith; I can reach a greater understanding about who I am and my purpose, while inspiring others along the way. Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. No matter where you are in your faith journey, never give up. Don’t ever give up.

God Bless,

Joseph Cook