Monday, November 29, 2010
This segues into my experience tonight here on the west coast, far from removed, unfortunately from Denise.
I just returned from a men’s prayer group, which meets at the home of one of the men of my new church, Westminster. This is only my second meeting, outside Sunday morning, with my new church. It was a gift. I haven’t been in a group of men like this in many years and I was hungry. There were no lectures and no domination of the conversation by a single person. We seven men came, shook hands, sat down and did the work of prayer for ninety minutes. We prayed earnestly and honestly. I prayed for my wife and her family. One prayed about his grief of loss of a wife taken far too soon and now his wrestling with God over that unfortunate fact. I’ve been where he is (not loosing a wife, but having a great disillusionment), and I had to give him a hug. I felt quite comfortable there among strangers.
On Sunday I noticed an amazing thing. I’ve never been much of a Sunday morning church person. I had always looked for an excuse not to go to the service (which was rare). I don’t believe that the present concept of Sunday morning church is meant for everyone and I do believe that there are emerging forms from which many (maybe including myself) will be better suited. However, Sunday, I had a clear excuse not to go. My kids were with me and we were having a marvelous time at the coffee shop. Two of the three didn’t want to go. It would have been natural for me to stay. But, I actually wanted to go. I wanted to hear the classical choir, the pipe organ, the message about world peace and God’s mercy.
I reflected back on my decision to change churches a few months ago. I did the right thing. Those were/are good people at my old church. But I had come to a dead end. I think back through life and all the big decisions that I’ve made. Every single one had people who stood in opposition. That must be one of the cardinal sins . . . trying to block someone from making the right decision for their life. I hope that I’ve never done that.
All the media outlets today were talking of Wikileaks and their . . . well, leaks. As I’ve listened to the “cables” I had to chuckle about the absurdities of life. There are bad things about the release, especially when it comes to endangering the lives of people. However, the silly comments made by one diplomat about the other was what made me laugh. The reason is, the cables of course were expressing their true feelings . . . which they thought were private. So, I’m sure that the leaks were far closer to the truth than the “public statements” which the diplomats say. But quickly they are scrambling to put the best face on their very true statements. I just wish we could live on that level of truth.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The first reason is that it stands as a marker for the passing of time. If September 22 has no meaning to you (for example no one's birthday) then there are no memories to conjure up by the date. But of course, Thanksgiving and such special days create an experience that is like holding a mirror in front of another mirror. If you align them just right you can see a tunnel of repetitive images dimming back the further you go.
The second trigger for life reflections is that the fact you have family around. As I’m typing here right now I am surrounded by three of my five kids and none of them live at home anymore. You can’t be around family without thinking of the past.
The last factor of the perfect storm is having time. In normal life I don’t have time to reflect much. I think that is why most people are addicted to busyness . . . because they don’t want to remember. If the old times were good, it is painful to know that they are gone forever. If they were bad, you want to forget them.
Pictured here are my aunt Helen (the smaller girl) and her big sister Rosa. Helen has been like a second mom to me. She lived with us for part of our life and was always very close. She is 82, lives with my 89 year-old mother now and she (my aunt) is in poor health. But recently I came across several photos of her and her big sister.
I never had the chance to meet Rosa. She, like her mom and other sister, succumbed to TB and die a slow and painful death in the 1930s (as teenagers). My aunt Helen watched each one disappear, almost literally. I don’t know how she has such a positive attitude on life with so many losses under her belt (many I haven’t mentioned).
Another marker this season is the fact that my father-in-law is quite ill. Denise flew home last night to be with him. He seems to have improved from death’s grips to being communicative again this morning. But one can not think about him without thinking about the memories of his better days. Denise of course has much more than I do. But I watch my dad die ten years ago and I know how it is to go through this.
But at times like this, as you sense your own immortality and the passing of time, you pause and ask, “Am I on the right path? Am I doing what I should be doing in life?” These are hard questions to answer. I’ve known men who asked them, then bought a Harley Davison and took off . . . literally, never looking back, never coming back to their families. My desire to do that right now is quite low . . . although when life was difficult a couple of times (a decade ago and before that, two decades ago), it was tempting.
But this brings me back to today and sitting her with my kids and cherishing ever second that we have. I can smell them, reach over and touch them and talk to them. Someday, they will be flying home to either my deathbed or my funeral. The time between now and then will fly by.
On a closing note, I stayed awake last night in my big empty bed. It is harder to fall asleep when Denise is not there. So I checked my e-mails and started to explore the world of the Internet. When I was forced, by a snow storm, to stay on the mainland earlier this week, I had the same problem with sleep. That night, I spent two hours studying the entire geological history of the earth. I never knew that they believe that they were three super continents, rather than just one.
Last night I went back and tried to catch up on Imonk a bit. I read Jeff Dun’s Saturday ramblings. Once again, he brought up Keith Wheeler, the guy who has been carrying a cross around the world for the past . . . I forgot, 10-15 years? So then I jumped to Keith’s web page and read his entire story and looked at all of his photos. I know that for the majority of Christians, Keith is a hero. I have some trouble with the story, especially when he joined forces with Benny Hinn to make a DVD.
In my opinion, I put Benny Hinn (in the spirit of Dante) in the inner most circle of Hell, as one of the most despicable people who are alive today. A year ago, my old church had a fall campaign using material written by Benny’s right hand man. I sent an e-mail to the entire church that I was having a very hard time taking the project seriously knowing that the author worked closely with Benny. There IS guilt by association. No one else in the church saw a problem except that I was being a trouble maker. But there were other things that Keith says that troubles me. I was going to blog on it today, but, to avoid sounding like the negative person again, I will just let it go. If you know me, I will simply say that Benny lives up on the 80-90th floor above reality. I had the sense that Keith lives on the 40th. I admire people down near the ground floor the most. I will let it rest at that because I may be alone in my perspective.
Speaking of Jeff, I guess he is one of those people who communicate via silence. He asked for my manuscript a couple of months ago. But if I e-mail him about it(and I have his private e-mail address now) he never responds. If I ask him a non-manuscript question, he immediately responds, so I know the address is good. But I’ve never understood people who use silence to communicate. I have no idea what that means. But after our disagreement over the nature of the call of God, I have a sense, like all other publishers and agents, we are not on the same page either.
Lastly, I added a new program on this blog. The most frequented posting appears at the upper right hand corner. It can change from day to day. This is an automatic function. I was a bit surprised when my very personal story about my anxiety appeared and stayed. It is the most read. I wonder what that means. It is not the posting that I would want most people to read because it does paint me in a bad light. But maybe it says something about a hunger in Christians to hear stories about other Christians that aren’t so successful.
I wasn’t planning on writing today, but I wanted to savor this moment in Starbucks with my daughter on my left, Ramsey across from me and Quentin sitting diagonally from me. I wanted to sit and savor their smells (between the smell of espresso) their voices and their presence.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I was talking to a really nice person this week and it started me thinking about another one of those great paradoxes of life. I know I’ve talked about “niceness” before, but usually in a negative light. I’ve described the “cult of niceness,” as some have called the Victorian age. Equally I’ve mentioned the façade of niceness that exist in many evangelical circles. But this time, I’m referring to real niceness, or so it seems.
In my old paradigm of spiritual life, I (like many Christians) believed that before I became a Christian, I had many not-so-nice traits. I attended many workshops a few decades ago on “developing your personal testimony.” In those workshops, we would go mining for those bad things which had plagued our non-Christian self. Sometimes we were encouraged (implied) to embellish them, in the spirit of a Mike Warnke, to highlight the contrast. Then, in our post-meeting-Jesus self, we would focus on how nice we’ve become.
But now I realize this line of demarcation is not so crisp and doesn’t not come down precisely where we would like to imagine. It seems to come down between people who have been born (or raised) nice, and those who were/are not.
I wish I were nice. But, I often get frustrated . . . more so than the average Christian, or so I think. I’m not downplaying what I mean. I don’t yell, scream or say hateful words to people. But things like plumbing problems frustrate me and I don’t hesitate to say I’m frustrated. It’s been a few years, but I’ve been known to scream and pound a leaky pipe with a hammer to vent that frustration. I would have done the same before I became a Christian. Maybe my threshold of “loosing it” is higher now . . . maybe a little higher.
I was describing my frustration this week to this nice person. It has been a rough five days and just got worse as I was typing this (just got word that my father-in-law is gravely ill. I will come back to that as I gather my thoughts but I will first finish this thought).
Earlier in the week, I left for work with the temps around 33 and a little drizzle. I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t watched TV where I could have heard a weather report. To make a long story short, the drizzle quickly turned to snow and I got snowed-in over on the mainland at my office for two days. Denise likewise got snowed-in at her job at the hospital on our island for the same 48 hours. During this time, the temps plummeted to 8 degrees (in a place that it rare is below 28 degrees) and set a new all time record.
When I was finally able to climb my way back up our little island mountain in my studded four wheel drive, I found our poor pets in panic (our neighbors had let them out once during the span). I had dog poop in the house, which I expected. What I didn’t expect is that our guest cabin’s pipes were all frozen and broken.
I didn’t expect it because they froze and ruptured a couple of years ago when we had a desperate friend gradually extend her “4-week” summer stay into a 20-month one. The cabin was never meant for winter use. After the pipes ruptured on her, I literally laid on my back in a 14 inch crawl space, in 30 degree mud, no light but my headlamp, for seven nights as I completely replaced the plumbing. I also carefully wrapped the pipes in electric heat tape and insulation, so that would never happen again. But now it has.
What really frustrated me was the dumb thing that the electric tape had become unplugged. I have no idea how. Maybe I did it. I don’t know. But now all that work seems ruined.
But this post is not really about that unfortunate incident . . . it is about the frustration I feel in those situations, and more so, how nice people seemed immune to. I’m only sharing about a difficult week to illustrate a much bigger picture.
The nice person was with me and I showed them the pipes. I simply said how frustrating the situation was. I showed emotion but didn’t raise my voice. Inside I wanted to kick the pipes as hard as I could. The friend was appalled. They could not relate how an inanimate object would ever upset me, even if it meant a huge amount of hard work and money to repair. In this season of being thankful, they pointed out how wonderful my life is right now. Four of my five children are home. I have plenty of food, cars that run and I live in a place which I’ve dreamt of living in for a long time. I really am thankful but I still get frustrated even with my abundance of blessings. Hey, many people in the world don’t have a roof over their heads and here I am being frustrated by my empty “guest cabin.”
This is how this posting is different from my previous ones. I think this friend was sincere. They really couldn’t relate. They almost never feel mad, frustrated, depressed or anxious (by their own confession and my observations). Yes they are a Christian, but I think they would be the same if they were a Buddhist or even an atheist.
The paradox is that the story doesn’t follow the narrative. “I was so bad . . . then I met Jesus . . . now I am so good.”
One of the things that shook my evangelical faith so deeply a couple of decades (besides the most godly man I had ever known, also turning out to be the most cruel) was my own failings. I had covered them over with Jesus Bondo for a long time. But the Bondo cracked. I knew in my heart that I wanted this missionary boss to die a painful death for what he had done to me and my family. What happened to the good, post-Christian Mike?
I know of several people whom have visited this blog and have likewise concluded that I’m not a nice person. I’m cynical, cruel and seem to always look at the dark side (I don’t see myself like that at all). The nice people, sincerely, only see the positive side of things and are never cynical. They only share praises for other people . . . including evangelicals.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It’s really inevitable. The Church, sitting in a pool of culture, will eventually absorb some of that culture like the smell of smoked salmon sitting open in the refrigerator tainting the Jell-O. There is nothing wrong with that and in many ways can be a good thing. But it can also be a bad thing . . . depending on which part of the culture that is absorbed. The big problem is, while the first generation (the one doing the absorbing) may see it as innervations, by the time it gets to the next generation of believers, it is fused with the few simple doctrines of scripture and becomes an essential.
I was thinking about this last week as I listened to NPR’s Science Friday. The computer scientists and engineers behind the Microsoft’s Xbox’s Kinect described how they developed the system and what the future may hold.
Already the system, that is the system sitting on the shelf ready for Christmas, can recognize your face and match it to a data bank about you. It may soon be able to do that with your voice as well. Once the match occurs, the possibilities are endless. The software can record your voice and habits . . .and get to know you much better than you can imagine. In the future, your little Xbox, sitting in your living room, may be able to communicate to vendors (via the Internet) of your habits, wishes, vocalizations . . . so those vendors can tailor-make their products for you.
Not too far fetched, you could be sitting in your living room, Xbox off (or so you think) and you say something about needing to buy a new washing machine. Then, you go to check your e-mail and there is a letter addressed to you, offering you a “special” discount on a washing machine down at the local box store. It could happen, sooner than you think. It wouldn’t be big brother because in the five-page, 4 pt. font, contract (which you signed when you bought the Xbox) says that they can sell your information to the vendor.
Of course product placement has been around for quite a while. I remember when I first figured this out. I felt so deceived.
But to my point. I was listening to Christian radio this week again . . . in that dead zone between NPR stations. Sometimes I am positively surprised. But then I noticed some product placement. A sermon about a topic . . . then a commercial came on advertising about a book (written by someone totally different) on that same subject matter and I wondered what the relationship was (speaking of $$$$) between that pastor and the publisher? Of course authors are expected to market their own books, but paying a pastor to speak on a subject, just to get a book noticed (a book, which the pastor had nothing to do with) is different.
Someday, I predict pastors will sign on to “product placement” within their churches. It may start out simply as message from a publisher, “Preach about the gift of mercy this week, mentioned our new book “God Have Mercy, the Neglected Gift of the Spirit” and we will give you a gift card worth $100 of books at our online bookstore.” Now if your church has more than 500 people, the gift card might be $200. If you have a TV ministry, you might get . . . a new BMW. Then down the road, it gets a little more scary where it is more than product placement but thought placement. For example a pastor is asked to preach on the good idea of giving money to the Red Cross, then the Red Cross cuts him a check for the placement. Far fetched? We will see. As my Jewish friend David tells me (and he’s in publishing in Manhattan), “Mike, all human behavior boils down to money . . . just follow the money.” I disagree. I would say that 95% of human behavior boils down to me trying to make myself feel significant. Money is just one means to than end. Fortunately, in that remaining 5%, there is a little room for altruism.
It is Thanksgiving Eve and I need to get home. Sorry about the typos. Have a great day of rest and being with your family!
Monday, November 22, 2010
I heard an interview once with Rabbi Kushner (the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People), I think it was on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He made a very remarkable statement.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This is a recurrent theme here at Christian Monist. This time the provocation was a conversation, which I was having over at IMonk. The position I want to expound on is somewhat divergent from Jeff’s original point, about (the merits) of being a fool for Jesus. So the chain of thoughts went like this. I asked the question, how does one know the difference between being a fool for Jesus and being an idiot (not a positive trait) for Jesus? Jeff’s answer was that the fool for Jesus is being called by God. So I asked, how does one really know if they are “called by God” because there have been many people who thought they were called and/or who convinced others they were called by God . . . but in the end did some horrible things or had terrible outcomes.
The answer to that question was that we Christians we have the Holy Spirit and it was implied that this sets our thinking apart from the non Christian. I will expound (with good intentions but without the answerer’s permission) that would mean that we have a supernatural ability which supersedes the normal human frailties of misjudgment, psychological factors, misinterpretations and etc. It would be like having an antenna inside and the Holy Spirit fine tunes that antenna to the will and voice of God. Maybe another example would be how dogs can hear sounds that humans can’t. Thus Christians have an ear to God’s will which mere mortals don’t.
There is nothing outrageous to those statements. I would say that most Christians consider Jeff’s points deeply woven into the Christian narrative . . . but not all of us.
The last point of the discussion was an illustration of how we Christians can be assured that we know God’s will by following a particular formula. It consists of; A) reading the Bible, B) seeking godly counsel, C ) prayer and D) waiting to see if the door opens. I am very familiar with that formula because this was the same one that we used in the Navigators. I taught a workshop using that formula at conference and years latter I taught a Sunday school class on the same. On top of that, the very last phase of a decade-long process of becoming Navigator staff, was doing a serious of really intense Bible studies. One was almost a whole year (spending many hours a week) on “The Calling of God.’
Now all of this was hunky dory until I started to notice some disturbing trends. It was hard to spot them at first. It is where “good Christians” (meaning very sincere and diligent people, who wanted deeply to follow God’s will) followed the “discovering God’s calling, or will” for their lives with great skill. But then, the calling or action ended in disaster. As I mentioned on IMonk, these situations are quickly swept under the Christian carpet. The situation falls into that area I was speaking of recently about Christian weirdness. Where reality doesn’t mesh with the idealized Christian narrative and then it is erased as if it had never happened.
Now that my introduction has eaten up all my time and your attention span, I realize that I will have to continue this thought on subsequent postings. But before I leave, I want to illustrate this with a real life situation. I have many of my own failures to draw from, but I feel like I’ve shared them all before. So I will pick one that happened to two friends of mine during my Nav days.
A man was involved with our Navigator group, whom I will call Jim. Jim had just finished graduate school and the time was right for him to find a wife. People in the Nav ministries in those days didn’t date. They just decided it was time to get married then would go through this tedious process of determining God’s will for their perfect soul mate.
While Jim was a friend of mine, I will tell the story through the eyes of his eventual wife, Karen. She is the one for who this narrative failed.
Karen was a “godly” woman in another Navigator ministry. She was very, very sincere. She, as we used to say, really loved the Lord. She (like all of us Navigators) also had her eyes on being a career missionary (we all did because we considered a career missionary as the highest position on the spiritual hierarchy).
Jim and Karen met at a special conference (I know it sounds odd now) that was sort of set up as a mass match-making endeavor by the regional Navigators. Singles, who were in the position to consider marriage (meaning having graduated from college and had jobs) were invited to a weekend at Columberland Falls State Park. During that weekend there were a lot of “spiritual” activities, such as hours in prayer and workshops, but also a square dance and formal (so-called romantic) dinner.
Jim and Karen started corresponding. Karen liked Jim. Jim liked her too, so it seemed. Jim was a “godly man” and had a heart or missions. Karen wanted, and I mean sincerely wanted, a Jim Elliot-type of husband, and Jim seemed to fit the bill. He had studied medicine and wanted to be a missionary in the Philippines (having already spent one summer there).
Jim started to talk marriage. Karen met many times with the Navigator staff women to talk this over and to seek Godly counsel. All of them gave her 100% support for marrying Jim. She did a long Bible study over several months, trying to determine God’s will for her and Jim. All the verses she studied seemed to be God talking directly to her . . . Jim was the man. Then she entered a period of prayer and fasting for several weeks (fasting one day a week).
The last “fleece” which Karen was waiting on, was to see what God was doing in Jim’s heart. Then one night he called and to her surprise, he proposed. Karen raced to the two Navigator staff women’s homes. She told them what had happened. They confirmed that this had to be a “God thing,” no question about it. Karen called Jim back and said that she would marry him.
The brief engagement was nothing short (in Karen’s eyes) of a fairy tale. Here was the man she had always wanted and God certainly had brought him to her. She was ecstatic.
Before I flash ahead a few years, I will comment that Jim seemed like a great guy to me too. We were pretty good friends for about a year as we were in the same graduate school program. The only odd thing I ever noticed was a casual comment he made once about which porn shop was the best. I assumed it was some kind of strange joke (because if any of us Navigators ever visited a porn shop, we certainly wouldn’t talk about it unless we were weeping and gnashing of our teeth.) Another time I was with Jim and he ran into some of his non-Christian friends. They commented that Jim really knew how to party. Again, I thought that was odd (we Navs never “partied”) but I didn’t think much about it at the time.
So Jim and Karen had their Snow White and the Prince wedding at huge Evangelical church in Knoxville, Tennessee. All the Navigator staff were there with glowing smiles and to give their blessing of this marriage . . . literally . . . “made in Heaven.”
To make a long story short, the honeymoon period ended and Karen started to sense some oddities about Jim. She lived in denial for a couple of years. Time went on and they still talked of going to the mission field. They had a little girl, then a little boy. A couple more years passed. I knew, through Jim, that they were experiencing some “sexual difficulties” in their marriage and Karen wanted to seek counseling.
I lost touch as I went to the mission field. But, the bombshell hit a few years later when Karen caught Jim sexually molesting their six year old daughter. Karen was devastated. She forced Jim to go to counseling. During which, it came out that Jim had a second persona. He had been habitually molesting children (mostly relatives) since he was about 12. He was addicted to child porn and didn’t seem to be repentant. He hung out with other pedophiles in his other persona.
Karen’s fairy tale marriage seemed to have drifted into a nightmare. She divorced Jim. Then, suddenly, in her pain, she started to get hints from her spiritual leaders (mostly church people now, although she was still loosely involved with the Navs) that, besides Jim being an evil man, that SHE had done things wrong too . . . not listened to God carefully about marrying him. Karen became very disillusioned as her daughter continued to suffer tremendously from the abuse. Had she missed God's obvious will, you know, her internal Holy Spirit antenna for truth? So, was it her fault? Or, was God some time of cruel jokester? None of it made any sense to her . . . but, "for the sake of the Gospel" she had to push her story and feelings under the rug so no one would find out that all Christian fairy tale weddings don't end in bliss.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Pictured is Dr. George Rekers, the country's (previous) most outspoken critic of homosexuality. He is at the Miami airport in May with his . . . paid . . . gay escort.
Now why am I bringing this up now? Honestly, it had completely slipped beneath my radar back in May. Apparently it was big news with the story broke. After all, he was James Dobson’s right hand man and his chief architect for programs to persuade people from becoming gay, and to re-convert them to heterosexuality. He had credentials. Besides being a Baptist minister, Dr. Rekers, is a Harvard graduate in neuropsychology. If you want to know more click on the title above and it will lead you to an excellent NY Times article.
Two of my sons were home this weekend, Ramsey and Quentin. Quentin is a very smart guy (PhD student in math and computer science). He’s the one who has made comments about what drives him away from Christianity is its farce factor. Quentin is the one who told me about the Reker story. So, I do take these things very personally . . . because they are. I am always haunted by the statistics that 85% of kids raised in “good Evangelical homes,” leave the church by the time they are 25.
But I hesitated bringing this up here. It seems that I’m always out to criticize Evangelicalism. But my point isn’t really about the hypocrisy of preaching against homosexuality, while renting “toy boys” for your own sexual gratification. This story sounds reminiscent of Ted Haggard doesn’t it?
It also reminds me of something one of my psychology professors described to me. He referred to it as the “St. Paul factor.” I think this was a layman’s term he used because—although he was teaching at a state school—it was in the Bible belt. What he meant was that those people who fight the hardest against certain moral vices . . . are themselves most tempted. I’m sure there is a more clinical term for the phenomenon.
What bothers me the most is a far more troubling and pervasive problem within Evangelicalism than simple hypocrisy . . . it is weirdness. I’m not sure if I can even put a handle on it right now but I think you know what I mean.
So when the Miami Herald sighted Dr. Rekers and published the story, he gave a couple of statements in the media (and on his blog). He tried to explain that he had surgery and he needed someone to carry his luggage during a vacation to Europe (notice in the photo the good doctor seems to be handling his own luggage pretty well thank you). So, he found this young man (and stranger), whom he paid, to travel with him an assist him in carrying his bags. The young man’s only advertising, though, was on a very graphic (may I say pornographic) web page. The page was explicit about its purpose, renting young, gay men for sexual favors.
Dr. Reker’s next statement was that he shared Jesus with the young man during the trip and that was the main purpose. However, soon after those clumsy explanations . . . Dr. Reker vanished. He stepped down from Focus on the Family. He stopped blogging the next day as well.
I’ve searched the web and I can’t find a single statement by James Dobson . . . not in Dr. Reker’s favor or against. This is the weirdness, which is the greater sin.
Say, that you completely believe Dr. Rekers. After all, we Christians are brainwashed—er—I mean taught to never question other Christians, especially if they are in a position of leadership. It falls under the “judge not least you be judge” misinterpretation. Even his story (if it was true) is bizarre. Would you really go online and rent a boy from a graphic gay porn site, not realizing he was an escort, just to carry your luggage on a European vacation? Who are we kidding here?
I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Then I thought of the most extreme situation. I knew a Dr. Black. He was handicapped with a spinal cord injury. He was also wealthy as he was a department head of a very famous medical center. Dr. Black couldn’t carry language very well. But he did travel a lot as he did medical talks all over the world. He never rented strange men from the Internet to carry his bags. I’m sure that colleagues helped him, the airlines helped him, his wife helped him or his medical students helped him. Dr. Rekers also taught in a medical school. As a leader of Focus on the Family, he was surrounded by capable people who could have helped him, especially if he was willing to pay their way. It not only doesn’t add up, but it is such a stupid explanation that it assumed that we are all idiots. Maybe the Christians buy such nonsense but those on the outside, and those like my son (whom I care dearly about) aren’t that stupid.
It is very much like my recent leaving of my old church. It could have been a healthy leaving. I wrote a very flattering letter to all my friends explaining that I love them, respect them and am not leaving mad. But, that letter was canned by the pastor. My leaving was instead swept under the rug . . . like a scene from bizarre-o-world. They now pretend that I never existed. It is the same bizarre behavior as James Dobson sweeping Dr. Rekers under the carpet. So, if Dr. Rekers does have a gay side, that isn’t the biggest problem he has. No, it is the strange world that has developed around the Evangelical kingdom . . . where all hands on deck are smiling . . . with smirks, while who knows what the hell lurks below deck.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
You know, I hate to even bring this up. Here I am getting ready to join a new church, but I must ask, what would happen if I decided to leave in a few years? In other words, how does this church see my commitment to join? You see, some in my last church perceived my joining as the same commitment of a man marrying his wife. Therefore, this must mean my leaving is the same as divorce, and the leaving for another church is the same as betrayal (or adultery).
Oh. Good heavens no. I just had lunch today with a couple that said they were leaving. The hard thing was that they were also leaving The Church, never to attend anywhere again. I would have been delighted if they had chosen another church in town to attend and that wouldn't have bothered us all all. Certainly a church membership is nowhere near the same as two people getting married.I did want to have lunch with them and I wrote them an e-mail promising if they would have lunch, that I would not, in any way, attempt to talk them in to coming back. But I just wanted to communicate to them that I love them and support them and that they are leaving in peace. I didn't say this as not to put guilt on them, but I am concerned about them because they don't want to go to any church and I will be praying for them.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”