Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#46- Brave New World.

 My and I church didn't see reality in the same way.  I submitted my thoughts as best as I could but I couldn't take the politics and bullshit very well.  I started suggesting that we held a round table event where we invited the best representatives of different religions and/or denominations and allow them to explain their beliefs for themselves instead of our church members making up stories about them.  This idea was not allowed in Sunday School but I kept pushing the envelope.  I went to meetings hoping to promote the idea to the bosses of the church.  Obviously it didn't fly.  Questions came up about my standing in the church.  Was I a member or not?  Meaning; did I get baptized?  Apparently, without being a baptized member my ideas wouldn't travel far.  So I did what I had to do and enrolled in baptism class.

It was around that time that I decided to tour different places in order to get my answers.  Two places come to mind the most.  One was a home church that one of the former members of the church attended and the other was a budding and energetic church called "Tabernacle of Glory".

Anti-homosexual Pastor Ted Haggard

A friend of a friend left the church because of internal discord and gossip.  She got with a small home based church which I decided to visit.  It was there that I was given a book called "Fossilized Customs" by a Lew White.  What made this visit so unique is that I had a slight phobia of the group because I was affected by the rumors that she had joined a cult.  I was reluctant and closed-minded at first.  Eventually I read the book and it blew my mind.

Tabernacle of Glory is the brainchild of a young pastor that has all the makings of a rising star.  I found out about that church through another defector who grew tired of the politics and deception of my church.  T.G. was friendly and the people seemed genuine.  I knew a good deal of people from there and that was good.  I started to feel right at home at Tabernacle of Glory when my loyalty bells started to ring.  No matter how nice or established another church was I wanted to donate my talents to my home church.

In a desperate move to have a literate Christian leader answer my questions I enrolled in a class at Tabernacle of Glory hoping to speak with the head pastor.  I felt that the head pastor was dodging my sophisticated, philosophical ideas.  He seemed to sense that I was educated.  This was during a New Believer's Class.  I only took the class because I didn't know another way to get his attention.  Pastors tend to be very busy.

I visited various other churches during that time.  I was very disgruntled and spoke to various individuals about the Bible.  I read and verified as best as I could.  I consumed information relentlessly.  This only seemed to make me more at odds with my church fellows.

Baptism class was a struggle to submit to the same old non-sense.  I was treated like an elementary student who didn't know any Bible knowledge.  I became insolent to my fellows and when I noticed this I did my best to still my mind and tongue.  Eventually, I graduated and got baptized.

I did my best to stay on the narrow path after baptism.  I felt like I had gotten married to Jesus on that day.  Unfortunately, I was getting the most steady and rocking sex of my life at that time.  Guilt ate away at me and I gave in.  Having cheated on Jesus within days I eventually broke up my arrangement with my sexual partner for the sake of  the Lord and being serious about my commitment.

James Randi
There was not other class for me to take at my home church.  I couldn't teach because I was a rebel.  The only avenue left for me was to get married and to take the married couples class.  That class was dreadful as well.  I tried to go to functions with the Men's Ministry.  I went on a retreat with a few of the men from church.  The guest speaker introduced me to a new word:  "reprobate".  He used it like it was a curse word.  I knew I was in the wrong place when the guest speaker ask the attendees to sign a petition to keep homosexuals from getting their due and proper rights to get married.  My table consisted of my delegation and they got up to sign the ghastly petition.  I sat down quietly in protest.  I felt compelled to step to the microphone and educate the homophobes about equal rights.  But instead I sat down.  I still feel ashamed of this cowardly act until this day.  I tried to make up for it by questioning the presenter with a tough Bible question but I honestly don't remember what the question was but I wouldn't have been satisfied with the answer anyway.  I believed in and went to war for every American and when it was time to stand up to tyranny I sat down.

As we sat in the car I told one of the brothers that Jesus was not God during what I thought was a casual conversation.  He took it personally; as if I defamed his mother.  The quiet that fell over the people in the car was nerve-wrecking.  I apologized to him later but it was apparent that no matter how much I could back this up with facts at my church emotions ruled.  It was overwhelmingly clear that I did not belong to that crowd.

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