Sunday, November 23, 2014
My religious roots are within a small, inner-city Lutheran assembly that my grandmother frequented. Sunday school and Catechism classes educated me to be baptized into its membership at the age of twelve, but nothing actually connecting me to Christ ever occurred along the way and, when my family moved, “faith” was not a word embracing my morals. A neighbor attempted to draw me and my siblings into a nearby Baptist bunch, inviting us to teenage excursions. That ended, however, when my sister and I were rudely ejected on one occasion for jitterbugging on roller skates. It would be a few months after turning thirty, with my marriage about to self-destruct, that something drew me to follow the people next door to a little “old-time holiness” bunch of believers. Their message was over my head; their worship was not; and salvation came through a personal encounter with the Holy Ghost at home in my living room. The last four decades, then, have been what I might refer to as “boot camp”, a lesson in knowing Him, learning me, and surviving humanity as it exists within the sanctuary. That latter portion, of course, includes me as part of the problem and is stated only in a wish to be honest. While fellowship had definitely created life-long relation, bonds that resemble “family” in the sense of an inner connection that isn’t severed when personalities clash and opinions differ, yet it remains that, in pursuing Him, the journey doesn’t always produce a continued set of “like minds” in so far as individual perspectives on “thus says the Gospel”. One has but to look at Church history to realize that, out of such conflict, Christianity has split many times down through the centuries. Thus far, however, in my case, His voice, and my staggered stumble down the road has me still “blooming where I was planting”, sitting in the balcony most Sundays and attending the Wednesday evening Bible studies, but not involving myself in any activities, social, administrative, or otherwise. I’m just the strange old man, anymore, who visits the rescue mission and Detention Center. A fellow yesterday questioned my equating “absolute truth” with “Jesus only”, assigning me a charge of preaching “relativism”. I had to google the definition of such term and then pleaded “guilty” if denial meant change in my confession of placing Christ above the Book. We are still very much friends. Discussion will, no doubt, continue. “Witness” isn’t just outreach to the “lost”. We have multitudes on the pew (again: including me) who have not captured this in a theology; and the real sadness about that is that so many think “thinking” is not required…….
Posted by Jim at 7:52 AM