Conversion , to me, simply involves the turning from one way to another. In general terms this could mean within my mundane, everyday life. For example, changing my mind on whether I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches one day and then simply appalling them the next. In effect, I have had a conversion of thought and belief on my stance of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. What I used to like, now no longer has any meaning to me and is actually something I do not want in my life at all.

In regards to my faith, conversion may follow the same line of thinking. Conversion is the process whereby I exchange my own ideas of living for those of God’s. In a sense, one could say conversion involves a change of appetite to what one desires to feed the soul on.

Conversion for me also involves the idea of reform. When I converted to Christianity, I instantly experienced the grace of God and received salvation. However, the process of being fully converted to Christian beliefs and practices was not fully ripe. I had growing to do “in Christ” and “with Christ”.  This growing or coming to fruition in Christ is the reform/reformation part of conversion. It is during this conversion phase that Christians begin and cultivate the spiritual life. Henri Nouwen says that “Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation.” The important message of that statement by Nouwen is that a reformation of the mind, heart and soul is a key factor or indicator in conversion. While one person may do this instantly and dramatically, for others (like myself), it is something that must be molded and shaped and grafted into us by God Himself.

So, for me conversion is both instantaneous and progressively reformational. It is instantaneous at the moment of salvation. In that one decision, we decide to throw off the old self and become a new man in Christ. It is progressively reformational in the fact that when we become that new man, we must relearn who we are. This is done in the cultivation and renewing of the spiritual life.