Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grace Ministries and Giving

I'm sorry, but I have a problem with "Grace" ministries asking for money. It seems to me that if God wanted them to survive, that they wouldn't have to ask.

I get mailings from 2 major ones asking for money, "in these troubling times."

Is it just me?

Glengarry Glen Ross Sales Meeting

This is a scene from the David Mamet movie, Glengarry Glen Ross and is the epitome of the world's system of performance.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't watch it if you are offended by strong, pervasive profanity.

Love Song

Elton John's Classic From Tumbleweed Connection

The words I have to say
May well be simple but they're true
Until you give your love
There's nothing more that we can do

Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen

You say its very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But there's no other way
And now its really up to you

Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen

Monday, March 30, 2009

Great Quote

And the Word was made flesh. And theologians made it word again.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Radical Sonship AND Fellowship Weekend

I cannot say enough about what this weekend meant to me; for both getting to finally meet and fellowship with dear brothers and sisters that, formerly, I had only either talked to or for some, only chatted with electronically, AND being allowed to receive wonderful teaching by Steve McVey and Paul Anderson-Walsh.

It was also, for me, an opportunity for my wonderful wife, Donna, to meet and get to know these folks in a closer way; in a way that I had already known and grown to love them.

Matthew Campbell (who has a wisdom that belies his youth), Jamie (beautiful, passionate, outgoing) and Ryan (affable, likable, easy-going) Weeks, Joel Brueseke (quiet astuteness, enlightenment, discernment and balance personified) and I learned, fellowshipped, and discussed the deeper things of God all weekend. Oh yeah - and ate.

(Clockwise from bottom left - Me, Joel Brueseke, Matthew Campbell, Ryan Weeks, Jamie Weeks)

Steve and Paul tag-teamed the teaching, with six total sessions Friday and Saturday; Steve teaching the odd-numbered ones and Paul the even-numbered. The title of the conference was Radical Sonship, who's theme was taken from the book of Ephesians. "Radical" it was. One of the more, er...controversial teachings was the first session of the morning on Saturday. It was something the group had just discussed the previous night over coffee, immediately following the first sessions Friday night. It pertained to the Cross and what the bond of the Trinity was DURING the crucifixion.

We've always been taught that the Father turned His back on the Son when Jesus "became" sin because He (the Father) cannot look upon sin. This teaching connotes that the Father had no part in the crucifixion itself; that the Son did all the suffering. This teaching has always bothered me. Steve (Wayne Jacobsen has dealt with this theme in depth in his book, He Loves Me) posited that the Godhead itself was crucified on the Cross. For those who say that the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" would negate this theory, Steve says that it was Jesus humanity, clouded with the sin of all mankind, only THINKING that the Father had forsaken Him, but, in reality had not.

Paul and Steve went on to expand on the identity of the believer and living in the Love of the Father.

I am already looking forward to next year and meeting new friends I'm sure I'll get to know over the course of the coming year, and of course RE-connecting with "old" ones.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Christian Mysticism, Cont'd

A Very, Very, Very Short Mystical Apologetic

To know God directly shows that mysticism is different from any passive or legalistic kind of Christianity. It means:

* That while we honor the Scriptures, we want to know God directly, not just through Scripture.
* While we respect our heritage of teachings about God, we want to know God directly, not through doctrines and teachings.
* While we gather in communal worship, we want to know God directly, not just through the Church.

Some readers may find this unsettling. Maybe you believe it doesn't apply to you, because you "know" that your church is purer and more correct than others. Even if that were true, is it a substitute for knowing God directly? Or, you might also feel that trusting the Bible alone gives you knowledge of God directly from the Source. But it was written by mystics, listening to God speaking his Word in their hearts. Is it possible for you to read it directly, without the conceptions of your language, time, culture, and personal history? Are you sure you wouldn't understand it very differently if you were reading it, say, in third-century Damascus?

The religion we call "Christianity" changes, but God is eternal. Mystical faith wants to know this unchanging God to whom Christianity leads us, the One behind the beliefs and the words, the One whom beliefs and words cannot describe. We want to follow Jesus' example more closely, and go beyond the religion about Jesus, and take the religion of Jesus: the knowledge of the Father and unconditional love he had, and urged us to have.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Christian Mysticism

Tozer read the Christian mystics and considered himself one. Found this website about this subject.

What is Mysticism?

To many modern Christians, words like "meditation," "mystic," and "mysticism" bring to mind Eastern religions, not Christianity. Certainly Eastern religions are known for their mysticism; however, mysticism is not only a vital part of the Christian heritage as well, but it is actually the core of Christian spirituality. Mysticism simply means the spirituality of the direct experience of God. It is the adventure of "the wild things of God."

The direct experience of God is a kind of knowing, which goes beyond intellectual understanding. It is not a matter of "belief." It is marked by love and joy, but it is not "emotional experience." In many ways, it is better described by what it is not. To describe what it is, we must use metaphors—the marriage of the soul to Christ, the death of the "old man" and birth of the "new man," being the "body of Christ."

Jesus proclaimed "I and the Father are one," (Jn. 10.30) showing the world what the union of God and man can be. Christian mysticism is about nothing else but this transforming union.

Christ is the sole end of Christian mysticism. Whereas all Christians have Christ, call on Christ, and can (or should) know Christ, the goal for the Christian mystic is to become Christ—to become as fully permeated with God as Christ is, thus becoming like him, fully human, and by the grace of God, also fully divine. In Christian teaching this doctrine is known by various names—theosis, divinization, deification, and transforming union.

A common misconception about mysticism is that it's about "mystical experiences," and there are many volumes on such experiences in religious literature. But true mysticism is not focused on "experiences" (which come and go) but with the lasting experience of God, leading to the transformation of the believer into union with God.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Interesting Searches

Here are some interesting Google searches that landed on my blog:

"is womanless pageant a sin"

"gracewalk steve mcvey+overeating"

""grace walk" book report"


"U2 God"


Saturday, March 21, 2009

God Speaks How He Chooses, Part III

Experience as told by Mr. Ray McAfee from the biography in The Mystery of the Holy Spirit by A. W. Tozer

"Ray McAfee was the associate pastor, choir director, and song leader for Dr. Tozer in Chicago for fifteen years. They often met together for prayer and conversation. McAfee wrote, 'On a day that I shall never forget, Tozer knelt down by his chair, took off his glasses and laid them on the chair, rested back on his bent ankles. He clasped his hands together, raised his face with his eyes closed and began, O God, we are before Thee.

With that, there came a rush of God's presence that literally filled the room, and we both worshiped God in silent ecstasy, wonder, and adoration.'"

Tozer is read in seminaries today, but I dare say that a very large number of evangelicals today would deny that God still works in this way. Some would say that there IS no place for experience such as this, nor should we seek it.

Why have we replaced seeking His presence with Religion?


Bono says he is a believer. That is a declarative remark and no judgment is imputed on my part.

Formerly, my Baptist sensibilities would have judged him by MY standard. However, this standard would have been set by someone other than the Holy Spirit and me. For the past 17 years I let a man be my guide in what I should believe - what I should be CONVICTED of.

Bono did not use the same words, do the same things, or follow the same path that I was. He went to places I would have been told NOT to go to. Associated with people I would have told NOT to associate with. This would have been my measuring stick for a "Christian".

Then there's Bono's song, Yahweh. This song is naming our God's name, and in doing so, talks about his understanding of Him.

Lyrics to U2's Song, Yahweh

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

Friday, March 20, 2009

Apprehending God

O taste and see. — Ps 34:8

It was Canon Holmes, of India, who more than twenty-five years ago called attention to the inferential character of the average man’s faith in God. To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. “He must be,” they say, “therefore we believe He is.” Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in Him into the back of their minds along with the various odds and ends that make up their total creed. To many others God is but an ideal, another name for goodness, or beauty, or truth; or He is law, or life, or the creative impulse back of the phenomena of existence.

These notions about God are many and varied, but they who hold them have one thing in common: they do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.

Christians, to be sure, go further than this, at least in theory. Their creed requires them to believe in the personality of God, and they have been taught to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven.” Now personality and fatherhood carry with them the idea of the possibility of personal acquaintance. This is admitted, I say, in theory, but for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle.

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tozer on Good Communication

Tozer's advice to preachers.

"Read some of the great Puritan authors and some of the mystics. Read and memorize good poetry. Observe how these writers express themselves. Become word conscious. Pay attention to words and the effect they have. Get and use a dictionary. Whenever I come across a word I'm not familiar with, I look it up immediately and study it. With a large vocabulary you are able to be precise in what you are saying. Nothing takes the place of using the right word. Flaubert used to say that there are no synonyms. Find the right word, and use it."

Our Blogging Freedom

This is NOT a political blog, but I wanted to share this here.

Iran blogger jailed for Khamenei insult dies

A young Iranian blogger jailed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for insulting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died, his lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said that although there is not yet an official report about the death on Wednesday of Omid Mir Sayafi, "officials in the prison said that he committed suicide."

He demanded "an immediate inquiry and an autopsy into why he died."

Dadkhah said another prisoner in Evin, a Dr Hessam Firouzi, "had warned officials in the jail of the state the young blogger was in.

"Dr Firouzi called me from the jail to say Omid had a slowed heartbeat and he had taken him to the infirmary, but that doctors there did not take this seriously and said he was faking it," Dadkhah said.

He added Firouzi reported that Sayafi had also been very depressed.

The blogger, aged around 25, was sentenced in February to 30 months in jail for insulting Khamenei and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic.

Sayafi was first arrested in April last year and released on bail after 41 days before being detained again this year.

Iran has launched a crackdown on bloggers and Internet users deemed to be hostile to the authorities and their Islamic values.

You can find the original post here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 6 Myths Of Creativity

For someone who doesn't consider himself creative, I was intrigued by this.

Written Over 60 Years Ago

There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy.

I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: “Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions, yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this.”

Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold “right opinions,” probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely,and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the “program.” This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mark Twain

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it cost nothing to be a patriot."

If The Dead Could Speak, What Would They Say?

By Mike Myers
I have 3 sets of grand parents and 1 father buried in the same cemetery just 2 miles from where I live. So I pass it a lot in my everyday errands. But today I had the thought, “What a trip! My dad used to drive down this same street and pass his father in this same cemetery as he did his everyday errands.” And then I wondered, “What if my dad could come back to talk to me, what would he want to tell me? And what if he only had like five minuets to say whatever he wanted to tell me? What would be the most important thing he’d have to say?”

It’s funny, but I knew the answer instantly because I believe God was listening in on this conversation in my head. He’d tell me to fall in love with God! And I would say, “But dad, I am in love with God!” And he’d say, “No son, you don’t even get it… I mean abandon yourself to Him, Michael! Jump off of the cliff into the ocean of His love! Let His gravity pull you like an overwhelming force to Him! You think you have to climb to Him when you really just need to fall into Him! It’s just letting go of yourself and all of your insecurities and allowing Him to take you to Himself and fill you overflowing with His love! We were made to be containers of His love, Michael! You don’t need to love people more, you need to just let yourself go and jump into God! I don’t know how else to explain it to you if you haven’t seen Him! He’s pure love wrapped in skin! Love just emanates from His being! He generates all of the love for the entire universe and heaven! All love that exists is coming from Him, son! Drink it! Swim in it! Abandon yourself to Him! The only reason He made us was to love us! LET GOD LOVE YOU, SON! Just let Him! I can’t wait for you to see Him… the way He really is! I’ll see you soon, son!”

Stacey Robbins

Because of Free Believers Network, I have discovered Stacey Robbins. I've only read two of her posts, and I wanted to share one of them here.


The Universal Presence

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? — Ps 139:7

In all Christian teaching certain basic truths are found, hidden at times, and rather assumed than asserted, but necessary to all truth as the primary colors are found in and necessary to the finished painting. Such a truth is the divine immanence.

God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works. This is boldly taught by prophet and apostle and is accepted by Christian theology generally. That is, it appears in the books, but for some reason it has not sunk into the average Christian’s heart so as to become a part of his believing self. Christian teachers shy away from its full implications, and, if they mention it at all, mute it down till it has little meaning. I would guess the reason for this to be the fear of being charged with pantheism; but the doctrine of the divine Presence is definitely not pantheism.

Pantheism’s error is too palpable to deceive anyone. It is that God is the sum of all created things. Nature and God are one, so that whoever touches a leaf or a stone touches God. That is of course to degrade the glory of the incorruptible Deity and, in an effort to make all things divine, banish all divinity from the world entirely.

The truth is that while God dwells in His world He is separated from it by a gulf forever impassable. However closely He may be identified with the work of His hands they are and must eternally be other than He, and He is and must be antecedent to and independent of them. He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them.

What now does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here. No point is nearer to God than any other point. It is exactly as near to God from any place as it is from any other place. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Amazing Rythm Aces

Life's Railway to Heaven

Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that's brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the hills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never quail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.

Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us,
Til we reach that blissful shore;
Where the angels wait to join us
In thy praise for evermore.

I KNOW the lyrics don't exactly point to an exchanged life, but I still LOVE Southern Gospel, and this is one of the best examples of it.

I hope this link works for those who don't have a Facebook account.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

An essay by Michael Spencer from the Christian Science Monitor.

You can read it here

Heaven Can Wait

Meatloaf's Classic from Bat Out of Hell

Heaven can wait
And a band of angels wrapped up in my heart
Will take me through the lonely night
Through the cold of the day
And I know
I know
Heaven can wait
And all the gods come down here just to sing for me
And the melody's gonna make me fly
Without pain
Without fear
Give me all of your dreams
And let me go along on your way
Give me all of your prayers to sing
And Ill turn the night into the skylight of day
I got a taste of paradise
I'm never gonna let it slip away
I got a taste of paradise
Its all I really need to make me stay --
Just like a child again

Heaven can wait
And all I got is time until the end of time
I wont look back
I wont look back
Let the altars shine

And I know that Ive been released
But I don't know to where
And nobody's gonna tell me know
And I don't really care
No no no
I got a taste of paradise
That's all I really need to make me stay
I got a taste of paradise
If I had it any sooner you know
You know I never would have run away from my home

Heaven can wait
And all I got is time until the end of time
I wont look back
I wont look back
Let the altars shine

Heaven can wait
Heaven can wait
I wont look back
I wont look back
Let the altars shine
Let the altars shine

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cats and the Father

For those of you who don’t like cats, please indulge me.

This goes along with an earlier post I wrote last year about what Father gets out of our relationship

We have a cat we call Scooter. He is a big, fat cat. We adopted him in the early part of 2000 from a cat rescue facility. We didn't pick him out – they just gave us one they believed would be fine being by himself most of the day.

We could not have picked out a better pet if we were given a checklist. Most people who don’t even like cats, like Scooter.

I got up Sunday morning, and as usual, he was waiting for me downstairs. He did his usual habit of rolling on his back inviting me to play with him. I was rubbing his stomach and he was pretending to bite and scratch me, although he only goes so far before he starts licking instead of biting.

This little creature gives me joy and makes me laugh every day. I was thanking Father for bringing him into my life when something hit me. Even though I KNOW that he will do the same thing every morning and roll on his back and want me to play with him, he never fails to make me happy.

Perhaps this is how Father delights in us also. He already knows what we will do and already knows our reaction, but He still LOVES to see it. He loves the reaction when He gives us something or sees our joy when He reveals something to us.

I want to learn to live in Father's affection.

The Speaking Voice

I was taught that God was silent from Malachi to Matthew and that He ceased speaking at the end of Revelation. I wondered about that at the time. It is believed by some that the written Word is God's FINAL word. I no longer believe that. I like this from AW Tozer's, The Pursuit of God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1

"An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed,and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος

John Ortberg on spiritual growth, "Spiritual growth, in a sense, is simply increasing our capacity to experience the presence of God."

After I read this this morning, I started thinking about it and its implications. We are told that we will bear fruit and my former church would say that we are measured by our fruit. I would ask them where is THEIR fruit from all of the activity? Where are all of the souls being saved at every invitation? Where are all of the new members from the weekly visitation? Why is the world not beating down the doors in order to get in?

They might say that we can't really measure the fruit of their labors, and I would say EXACTLY. WE judge by externals - numbers, appearance, etc.

I like seeking Father better than the busy-ness I used to be in bondage to.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

REAL Reality

Our trouble is that we have established bad thought habits. We habitually think of the visible world as real and doubt the reality of any other. We do not deny the existence of the spiritual world but we doubt that it is real in the accepted meaning of the word.

The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s tragic race.

At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality.

Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real, never. The spiritual is real.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


You can be as straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as one spiritually.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Removing the "And"

When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and" we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Good and Becoming Good

Spiritual growth is a process of replacing temporal appearances with eternal reality, and living out of it.

Dan Stone & Greg Smith, The Rest of the Gospel

Sunday, March 1, 2009

John's Story

Excerpt from Recover Your Good Heart by Jim Robbins

John’s Story (Not me, though it could be)

My first experience in Christian fellowship after I became a believer was in a large Bible-believing institutional church where know knowledge was equated with Christian maturity. The heart was rarely mentioned at all, and when it was, it was in the context of emotion. I came to understand that if one had deep feelings about anything that indicated they “had a heart”. I was led to believe that it was rare to find men with hearts in the church. I actually had an elder in the church tell me he wished he had a heard like mine, “but,” he said matter-of-factly, “I just don’t.”

In the subsequent 12 years or so, in the same denomination but different locations, that attitude was pretty much the same. Personal interests or desires, let alone passions, were rarely discussed. The concept of “heart” was restricted to the synonym of emotion. The message from the leadership was always more about duty and responsibility. The common theme was simply that Jesus died for our sins and thus, out of gratitude, we should live our lives like this…

The religious spirit facilitated an appropriate comfort zone in my experience in the church body. It did that by justifying the laying aside of passion and the asking of difficult questions. I was confused by much of the Scripture that was quoted and how it related to my life now. It actually seemed like all that was required of me was to know what the Bible said, and then, somehow, when verses were said, we were expected to make the application to our own lives without honest questions. It was all Greek…all didactic, with very little opportunity for questions.

Because everyone was silent, we were like a bunch of cattle going through the rituals of activities, never being challenged. In retrospect, it was settling into an environment which was arrogant and boring…and lacking in life. The religious spirit promoted the attitude of “not rocking the boat” above all, and it was promoted by “strong leadership” which was really very weak…a group of men hiding from difficult questions I their rote memorization of theology. Amazing. For a very long time I allowed my own independent thought, along with my passion, to be locked up, and I actually sought to do the same to others.

The religious spirit caused me to put my faith in theology created by men. I had faith in faith, but not in God. I worshipped the Bible rather than its author, and the natural consequence of all that was that I was kept at a distance from the source of life; I was kept from the very intimate, “personal relationship” with Jesus which was being advocated from the pulpit.

End of Excerpt

For me, church activity WAS the means to the end. EVERYTHING was laser-beam focused around church. If one had any outside interests that took one out of church on a regular basis, that person was not considered "faithful" and, not prayed for, but internally and corporeally scorned by those how WERE "faithful". Remember Jesus parable about the man who paid all his workers the same no matter when they started, morning, noon, or evening? Baptists HATE that THEY are doing all the work while some seem perfectly happy to let them. I was one of them!

I worshipped the Bible rather than its author

Yes, yes, yes!! The written word has supplanted the living Word.