Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Heretic Looks at 40

Actually I'm 43, the title was a an attempt to be clever with a Jimmy Buffet song (A Pirate Looks at 40). I'm not sure if anyone caught the humour but I'm laughing hysterically at my keyboard.

The title came to me as I thought about this post. Anyone who has followed my blogs over the past 3 years will know about my past. If you're new to this page I'm a died in the wool Christian with a a heritage that dates back at least 400 years in the Faith. I'm also a survivor of a Charismatic Christian cult. The leaders didn't ask the membership to drink Kool-Aid together or start stockpiling an arsenal but I left at the same time Jimmy Swaggart was caught red handed, Jim and Tammy's Wonderland came crashing down and the so called (mega) church I was attending sent a form to all members asking us to list all expenses and income in detail. The plan was for us to turn our finances over to the church leadership. I was hit particularly hard as I was a dedicated militant holier than Thou Christian.

Int he wake of leaving my life turned to a pile of garbage. The economy went into a recession. I was living in Orlando, Florida, where the economy depended on tourism and a big military budget. Orlando and area is built upon amusement parks, missile and tank factories. I had a friend who painted MX missiles for a living. Painted missiles? Why on earth would you paint a missile? Anyway I digress.

As the econmy slid backwards, my marriage of 7 years went in the same direction. I started drinking, smoking and carrying on in the same way I did when I was a dedicated young christian growing up. Jobs became scarce, my then wife left me for ner Ex whom she never got over and I could not find a church that I didn't have an issue with. When I lost the house, cars, kids and last smeblance of self respect I hit bottom. It took several years to climb out of the hole.

After several years of trying several churches and finding none that suited me I turned to serious prayer. After nearly 30 years of being a Christian, you might as well say my entire life as I made the "decision when I was 7 years old, I admitted I had more questions than answers. By this point I had read the Bible cover to cover over 4 times chronologically in almost as many versions. I came to the realization I really didn't understand what the Bible was about. I understood that Jesus was LORD but I really didn't understand what that meant other than confessing HIm as LORD and Saviour. I couldn't explain the Trinity, every time I read Romans I had new revelations (from the same passages). I couldn't explain why the Old Testament was relevant if it was wiped out with Jesus' sacrifice. If anything I had more questions. Questions that I couldn't answer.

So I prayed. I asked the LORD to give me some direction. By this time I was relatively cleaned up from outward appearances, kicked cigarettes and drinking my face off and living a not so virtuous life. I was married to a wonderful wife and beginning to start a family over again. I still had a burning desire to be a servant of Jesus. I desired to have a priestly knowledge (immersed in the Faith not necessarily referencing my friends in the Catholic wing of Christianity). I figured if Solomon was blessed because he asked for wisdom then I might as well start there. I also wanted Knowledge and Understanding. I wanted to know what the Word was all about. To really know who Jesus was and not accept that there are still mysteries that we will come to grips with someday.

For the past six years my prayer has been and continues to be answered. The revelations have been very settling and comforting. Some of the answers have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and contradict some age old teachings that are laid deep with the foundations of my psyche. The single most defining principle is that Jesus remains at the center of everything I have learned. No philosophies, people or institutions are lifted up. Jesus is it. Every step of the way the focus i son Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life. Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus, the Word who has always been and will ever be.

The struggle I am faced with is that I feel a little like Elijah when Jezebel was hot on his heels. Alone. I know there are there are millions out there who are on the same track but those in my immediate circle, friends, family, fellow church members are not quite there. At least I don't think they are.

This first step to bridge this gap will be using this page to work some of the challenges out. I'm not an expert or anywhere near being a priest but am stil pursuing the goal. pray for me.



Frasypoo said...

Looking forward to some good old fashioned arguing!Though we may be on the same side

Melanie said...

I so appreciate your honesty. I look forward to reading your posts. :)

Sian said...

You are speaking tremendous sense.

Jesus is the centre of everything - no matter how confusing things get, if we hang on to that one thing, we won't go far wrong.

It is the hanging on that gets difficult for me sometimes :o)

Michelle said...

I wil defiantly pray for you. I myself have so many questions as to religion but I pray or the anwsers I sek and for the anwsers to help me with my marriage. I'll pray for you if you pray for me. :) great post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your testimony. Sorry to hear about the cult fiasco.
"No philosophies, people or institutions are lifted up. Jesus is it." --Very important to remember.