As a child, my history holds little in so far as accumulating any religious instruction. Well, at the age of twelve, I did complete catechism classes to become a member of a local inner city Lutheran assembly; but, if such lessons provided any great insight into their particular brand of theology, it evidently went in one ear and out the other. My teenage years experienced only as much encounter with church as was necessary to gain fellowship at their youth roller rink outreach parties; and, for whatever reason, catching my dad at home alone one day, about six months before he died, I asked him if he, himself, believed in God. His one word affirmation, given only after a long pause, was followed by my immediate question as to “why”. His explanation was almost equivalent to “just because”. I would be thirty, with three daughters and about to dissolve my marriage, everything in my life making absolutely no sense, before stepping into a little old-time holiness church, looking for an answer to my mess. Legalism. Pure and simple. Enough “thou-shalt-not”s to make Christ’s Sermon on the Mount pale in comparison. Yet, in the middle of all the religiosity, the reality of a Gospel that proclaims a risen Savior was verified by frequent visitations of the Holy Spirit, indeed, His presence so thick in our midst at times that worship became communal, the whole congregation baptized together in an assurance of grace. Over four decades later, it is yet that personal internal connection that holds me within the faith. The Bible remains a foundational truth, a Book giving me “mystery to explore”, every now and then its verses opening up to me in a different way, truth not written in concrete within its pages, but rather an “umbilical cord anchor-line in my belly” that teaches me as I go. Standing in the shadow of PTL’s history, tattooed, pierced, and with a message that rings different to most, he nonetheless somehow reaches me with such statements. When we pick up the “sword”, rather than surrender it unto the Holy Ghost, indeed, the One who appears to own it according to Ephesians, like Peter, all we accomplish, for the most part, is “severed ears”….