Tuesday, August 22, 2006

wilderness

Anyone out there ever been in the wilderness?

I'm serious. I need to know.

What was it like? How long were you there? In hindsight view, what was its purpose for you?

I think I've been in this desert-like place for 3 and a half years. I'm trying to embrace it, but feel the urge to run from it (if possible).

25 comments:

Deana said...

yeah...i'm still there...but hoping...praying...screaming...kicking...fighting my way out of it.

Agent B said...

So, Deana (and all):

For you, what is (or was) the wilderness? Finances? Health? Lonliness? Lack of community? All or some of the above?

Thanks.

Mike said...

wait... the wilderness isn't normal?

shit man.

Matthew said...

I suppose my current bit of wilderness is disgust with the idiocy and impotence of the church. I think I'm on the threshhold of a self-imposed exile.

Also, just an observation: the holy spirit made Jesus go into the wilderness, but Jesus apparently decided when to come back to town.

Agent B said...

an observation: the holy spirit made Jesus go into the wilderness, but Jesus apparently decided when to come back to town.

true.

But Moses & the isaelites did not have a choice. Neither did Joseph in his experience.

Guess the wilderness period can end in various ways.

b said...

Some have chosen the wilderness experience (i.e. the desert fathers), while others have had it thrust upon them (i.e. bonhoeffer). I think that the important thing to consider is not how one got there or even how one is to "get back to town." The important thing is what we do while we are there.

miller said...

agent b,

i know this has to be frustrating to you... i know you want real answers and they don't seem to be forthcoming. i feel it too because i need the same kind of stories you need.

is it just that people haven't been in the wilderness?

is it just that they don't have the time to write it down for us?

or is it that they don't really care?

or perhaps there's a special club you have to join and learn the secret "wilderness stories" hand shake...

well i feel like i've been in the wilderness from the time i got saved. having grown up in the church i knew how the bride should look and act. not based on what i'd experienced but on what Jesus taught. thats no huge statement about my insight, a child can figure out matthew 25 and like passages, it ain't rocket science.

however, i wasn't experiencing anything remotely like that in any of the churches i was attending... ever! i wondered if i was missing the point of Jesus' teaching at times. i have been a constant burr under the blanket for preachers and pastors and elders and deacons and little old ladies who sit five rows back on the left side of the auditorium every sunday because there's a dent that fits their butt just right.

"why don't we do it like Jesus says?" my question again and again.

and even now, among those who seem to be on the leading edge, the bleeding edge, of discipleship i don't fit very well. at times i think there's only so much of my heart people can handle. (its true for me, why shouldn't it be for anyone else?)

i just want to find a place, a fellowship wherein i'm not abnormal. i think i have, at least for a time, found that here in the fair mother city... and now that i have, i find it so good that i want to invite everyone to that!

but it's still fraught with pitfalls and it doesn't really feel like i'm out of the wilderness yet. in some ways i hope i never am; i kinda like it out here. it gets lonely at times and there's always alot of doubt concerning which way to go, mainly because i'm never quite sure where i am... and when i hear the voice of God its usually something like "i love you miller, you're doing good..."

honestly, if it weren't for the fact that i'm sure the wilderness is where God wants me, i'd probably lose my faith. if it weren't for the little words i get from him sometimes, the little encouragements like i just mentioned, i'd have long since given up.

but it don't help me find the way any better.

i heard a story, i don't know if its true... the Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit the Wild Goose because one could never tell for sure where it came from or where it went. and from that usage we now get the common saying "wild goose chase"...

i think i'm on one.

i think you are too.

i think there are many of us who are.

i hope they'll share their stories.

peace

Mike Exum said...

I am up early this morning. I been thinking about wilderness, but I have not commented for a couple of reasons... 1) I jammed up your post on membership recently and thought you and your readers might appreciate a break from me & 2) Wilderness experiences are, in some instances, deeply personal of a nature I do not blog on.

What I share in the blog-o-sphere is true, real, authentically me etc, but it is not the whole story. And my story is not the Whole Story. Some of it is too fresh, too complicated, too painful and personal and too much someone else's business too to share it all in public. So I must dance around things like that.

However, I will tell this:

When I was a teenager/young adult, I was a pot-head. I sold dope to parents right in front of their rug-rats etc. I dodged the cops etc. I was stoned all the time. I was ashamed of myself and I never amounted to anything. I also lived in Colorado, a beautiful part of the world. I love the mountains. But my life was at a dead end in this beautiful place at 16 years old.

I got married when I was 23 or 24, (don't tell my wife I said that). I cleaned up my behavior and "settled down" when I got married, but I worked a very low paying job with no goals or ambitions. And then my parents divorced.

Once my parents divorced, my sister took a dark path. Actually she already had, but she found an even darker path and today she is a meth addict. My grandpa came to be with my mom after the divorce. He has always been a very controlling type to us all. He had been working on spliting up my folks from the time I was born. He turned his sites on my marriage. He told my wife to divorce me. It was sick.

Of all his grandchildren, I was the only one that graduated high school. I had beaten the odds in my family. My sister had dropped out, and all my cousins had dropped out too. We had all been drug addicts of one sort or another and two of us had been heinous. My sister became antogistic with me and my wife too. My mom was aloof. My Dad was gone to California, and though he was my spiritual mentor (he was the only one still faithful through all the years), he was too far away and in too much of his own pain.

My wife and I decided to move to Pheonix. We just up and left them all. It was scary. We had neither one lived in a big city like that. It was live moving from earth to mars. The obvious change was the temperature. But who would have guessed that where in Colo. you can go to the tap and get fresh cold water to drink, in Phnx you get salty hot water. We did not have to use the "hot" knob at all in the shower. The terrain was dusty, with strange trees, plants and cactus everywhere.

We were very disoriented for three years there. But I began going to church. I got in touch with my roots. I had not been a faithful member in years. Suddenly I was a part of every service and function and meeting.

If you don't believe in Hell, it is because you have never been to an old fashioned church of Christ men's business meeting (where wmn are not allowed). If there is one entity I would personally like to see God blast like Sodom and Gomorrah, it is coC men's business meetings. If you have never seen one, count yourself blessed!!! They are such a lousy loud of faithless crap. Bastards who don't even realize that they don't know their father. It is some of the sickest business on earth.

But I went.

Some of what went on there is still too sensitive and raw to share in public. Believe me when I say that I repented. I was sucked into the power play. I did things I am not proud of. But some of it I did good too.

Anyway, when the stuff hit the fan finally, I left that church. I began writing in my journals about my experiences. I saw that God had freed me from bondage in Egypt and I was in the desert wandering. I began looking for His leading again. I wanted a promised land. My journals are filled with novice theological reflection on just that point for several months.

I went to a different church in Tempe for a while. As I was praying and considering going to college it Texas, one Sunday a young woman came who had just moved to Tempe from Abilene. She filled out the standard membership card and the old cowboy who did the anouncements at the end of services read it. When he came to the part about where she came from, he said, "Hmm... Abilene, TX, everyone knows that's the promised land." A dumb old joke that the mormons use with regard to Salt Lake City etc... but it got a nice laugh out of the crowd that day anyway. But to me, it was the voice of God. I heard God speak to me that day. It is a rare thing, only happened to me a couple of times and that was one of them.

So I cashed out my 401k and off to college we went, Kathy and me. While in college, I was a terrific success. I enjoyed that experience like no other before or since. I became a Bible major, and I remember the first day of the first Bible class. I was thinking, this is the core of why I am here. I was so thrilled I cried.

Dr. Willis began sharing the deep mysteries of the universe, of life, of God. I ate it all up. I could not get enough. I will always have the foundest memories of that experience. However, it lead to questions and then answers I had not known were on the tour program. In the years I was there, Willis introduced me to the work of N.T. Wright. I learned that there is not a "Hell" really. And Heaven is not what I had ever thought before. (Actually there is a Hell, it is CoC mens business meetings, even war squirms in comparison).

My mind was far more expanded in college and since than it ever was on dope. And I loved the experience beyond measure.

That does not mean that I was or am uncritical of ACU, the church, or any of that. And, in fact, I am in other deeply bewildering places in life now too. But that was my journey through a wilderness, at least in a nutshell...sort of.

Many blessings...

Matthew said...

agent b said...
Guess the wilderness period can end in various ways.

That seems right.

Agent B said...

X - thanks for sharing your story & testimony.

That was the kind of reply I was after: a who, what, where, when...and especially why sort of thing.

I think you answered those in your story, so thanks.

I'm anxious to read any other stories out there.

Also, if anyone has expert advice and/or biblical knowledge to share about "the wilderness" in general, please post. Otherwise, I'll move on to a new post soon.

I gather that the wilderness is a good place to be, in light of it being a training for ones true or real calling. Or for a new task the CEO is preparing one for...?

Thanks.

Deana said...

I got your email about adding more to my comments...so I'll try to fill you in on some of my wilderness in the past two weeks...this isn't counting the past couple of years.

I have to get in the car and drive 12 hours to a place a hate and see my crack-head dad who just got out of rehab and play happy family for my grandma's birthday.

On top of that we just found out today our car was damaged with a "little bump" on a curb which will take a HUGE hunk of London vacation money out of the mix...and we get to drive a rental car to OK now.

And if that wasn't enough, we just found out that Max's medicines have been dropped by medicaid because he's the only one in ALL of friggin medicaid who takes them...so there's another couple of hundred a month out of pocket.

Not to mention Max's doctors all in a tiz over some test results that came back on his eyes so now they are all talking about should he stay on the medicine that has saved his life because it can cause eye damage...and if we keep him on it we are inducing chemical blindness on him...like we need that kind of bull crap guilt trip.

So I guess to sum it up that's the wilderness to me right now...I can't win for trying...I see the light at the end of the the tunnel and I get hit by the train. And the world keeps turning and I have to get up tomorrow and face the same thing with no end in sight. And I am so stinking tired of it.

Agent B said...

man Deana, the wilderness is definately different for everyone. I can't fathom going through what you're dealing with now. Thanks for sharing.

...and it's not my usual policy to solicit comments for this blog. But I really wanted some answers to my questions after your first comment. So, thanks.

b said...

As I come back here today and read through some of the comments that followed mine, I am compelled to return and say that my previous comment does not fit the circumstances. I was merely interpreting the "wilderness" referred to in the post to be a place where one is having a hard time interpreting the Father's direction and where one may be having a hard time listening.

There have been several who posted comments laying out the struggles of everyday life that would absolutely level most people. In no way did I mean for my comment to sound trite or to be taken as a cuff on the shoulder saying "buck up little christian! everything will be all right" I realize that it could come across that way. I apologize to any who may have taken offense.

Peace to you all,

Agent B said...

a place where one is having a hard time interpreting the Father's direction and where one may be having a hard time listening.

Great wilderness definition, b.

That definition is really where I was searching with this post. It at least defines what I'm going through.

...and no offense taken at all. Thanks for contributing.

JesusFreak said...

My own personal "desert" began much like others of my day: uphill battles, foot rot,...okay just kidding about that.

After many, many years of trying to pretend that I was okay without God, out of the blue, He made it abundantly clear that I was not. I began working at a local sandwich shop (shout out to any fans of Becker's Loft) about 2 years ago. The people there are very deep in their faith. At that point, I had never seen such faithful people. I saw a happiness and peacefulness that I had never witnessed or experienced before. I wanted that. I was jealous of it. Through working there, I starting attending a non-denominational church in Clyde. The way these people worshiped was truly amazing. I had never seen anything like it. I wanted that too. For the next year or so I prayed, I worshiped, I lifted my hands...all that jazz. I was still reserved in my heart though. A few weeks before the women of the church were supposed to be going on a retreat called the Burning Fire Within, I had felt the Lord calling me to be closer to Him. Oh, let me mention that at that time I had a "baby's daddy" of 6 years and we have two children together. He pretty much treated marriage, or any talk of it, like it was the most heinous thing that could happen to him. He had told me once point blank after me repeatedly asking why were not married yet, "Jennifer, I NEVER plan on getting married." So, anyway, I feel my Father calling me to make a final decision in my relationship. I still was not ready. I decided, with counseling from one of the elders at my church (shout out to my homie Brenda) that I would go to the retreat concentrating on my decision. Some women can do just fine without men. Not me. I have not been single since I was 14. I have always judged my self worth as the kind of man I was with. Plus, my BD (babies' daddy) paid for ALL of the bills, my children were totally in love with him, and I was (still am, pathetic I know) totally in love him.
Well, to make a short story long, at the retreat all I prayed about was My Decision. During that retreat, I felt God's hands on my heart; my heart beat was of one with His. I worshiped like never before, I opened myself wholly to Him. I always wanted someone in life to love me so much it hurt. I realized that is how Jesus loves me. That weekend was the most joyous time of my life. It was more joyful than when my children were born.

When I came back home, I was a warrior with a mission. I was determined and I was NOT going to let BD pacify me any longer. Three days after coming home, I had the "talk" with him. I told him what the Lord wanted of me and of our relationship (which was to lead a Godly marriage, not just shacking up). I asked him if he thought he would want to get married. He said that he would start saving up money to get his own place.

Needless to say, that hurt me deeply. However, after that day, I did not stress too much over it. I didn't try to beg him to stay (which I would have normally done) and I did not give in to any of his "compromises" that pretty much meant things just staying the way they were. I helped him find his own apartment; I even paid his apartment and electricity deposit. I was so amazingly at peace with the whole situation. The day he actually moved out, June 9th, I was still okay with it. I helped him pack his stuff. It just seemed like I was putting his clothes away like I always did. I was so amazed with the peace I had with the whole situation. It lasted for about until 5 minutes after he walked out the door with the last box. I had prayed so much for that peace. God gave it to me wholeheartedly. I also believe that He gave it to me because of the pain I was going to have afterwards.

I have since had to get a full-time job, which I have not done since my 4-year-old son was born (i'm a wimp, i know). So, I had 2 jobs, going to school full-time also, and had my two kids. At first, I couldn't even get out of bed. For days, I laid in bed, crying. I thank Jesus for my sister who made sure my kids had clean clothes and food to eat. I had found out later also that not even 3 days later, he had introduced another woman to my kids when they went to go see his new apartment. That was kinda hard to take.

My children have their own issues with him leaving. My daughter has started telling outrageous lies. She told her friends that Hannah Montana lets her borrow clothes. She told my mother that I was teaching her to babysit by leaving her alone with her brother. (i got in trouble with my mom for that one until she found out it wasn't true). She has taken to saying some very mean things to me. See one of my earlier blogs for an example. She is also very afraid of the dark and being alone now. Both her and my son cannot use the restroom by themselves yet. They start crying hysterically when I try to leave the room. Keep in mind that my daughter is almost 6 and my son is 4.

Oh, my son. He has taken this especially hard. He has become violently angry. My sister was keeping them for me while I go to my second job at night, but now she doesnt want to because of his outbursts. One day, he plugged in the iron and then burned my neice on the hand with it. I punched my other neice in the stomach. He stepped on my daughter's face while she was lying down. My daughter's 2 front teeth are missing because he hit in the mouth with a PVC pipe.

And of course, when I try to talk to BD about this, he is of no help. His response? "What do you want me to do aboutit?" Nice.

Seeing my children go through this is hurting me so deeply. I am not used to dealing with these things by myself. I am still dealing with the hurt I have from ending our relationship. I understand why my son is so angry. I understand why my daughter lies about things. I have those same feelings.

Through this all, I have been trying so hard to hang onto my faith. To recapture that feeling of "God is in this"

I know in my heart that God called me to do this to break me apart so He could make me whole in Him. Every single heart ache I have endured so far is for Him.

It's like the "deserts" are purifiers of our souls. The world is a drug, we are the junky, and the deserts we go through are the rehabs that make us clean.

"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Luke 23:46

JesusFreak said...

the part where is says "I punched my other neice in the stomach" was meant to say "He punched my other neice in the stomach."

Sorry about the confusion! I try not to go around punching little kids in the stomach, I promise!

Agent B said...

JF: thanks for commenting. I (and all) appreciate your honesty.

I think you made the right decision in life, even though it's breeding chaos right now. I can't imagine the lonliness you may have or the confusion that's gripped your kids. I'm sure those folks in Clyde will walk every step with you.

you said: "The world is a drug, we are the junky, and the deserts we go through are the rehabs that make us clean."

There's wisdom in that...

Mike Exum said...

JF,

Me too.

Thanks for sharing. That is real pain. Beyond the telling...

I will pray tonight for you.

Many blessings...

Mike Exum said...

B,

Linger with this topic a bit. It is very interesting, very cathartic.

Thanks for the post.

agent wife said...

Wow, I only now just read the comments here on this post. Thanks to all who have so willingly bore their souls and stories. I commend you for your honesty and transparency, that is so God. One of the things that draws us to the people of the bible is their falleness. I mean the man "after God's own heart", sleeps with another man's wife, kills the man to cover it up and marries her making everything look peachy, except to God and himself and a prophet and the wife/widow/stolen woman. I'm a lot like this David that covers up and tries to make everything look perfect. I've discovered that I am performance driven, smoothing over my faults, and I think the church is set up like that to a big degree, which is why the lost feel like they can't belong. The irony is that those who admit their sin or anger or pain are closer to God than those of us who feel we have it all together- or at least make it appear so.

The Shaman taught us once on the Lord's supper saying that we as God's people are 1- taken 2-blessed 3-broken so that we can be 4-given out to others, just like the bread (the passover bread and the bread=Jesus).

The hardest part for me in our wilderness is the rejection I felt from those that I was "ministering to". We called our groups "friends", but I still walked in arrogance and "I'm the teacher" mode. I didn't want to, but I think my nature (flesh nature) exudes this. Failure, or sense of failure causes me to be more cautious now,and not want to reach out, but just hide away and raise my kids and maybe God can use them since I screwed up. I try not to have The answers now and am discovering that there is so much to learn from others and this walk. I really don't know any ministry plans or goals apart from wanting to Love Jesus with all my heart and learn to really and actually love others. I have a long ways to go.

miller said...

wow,

i am so humbled.

i am so ashamed that i dare to complain about anything.

ever.

X, my story is similar to yours. i have nightmares about some of the things i've done. sometimes i can't forgive myself, most of the time i don't think about it.

Deana, my wife and i will be praying for you. i'm sorry you are in this. i can't even begin to relate... but i promise to pray.

JF, i feel for you. our own children are fighting alot and it hurts. i am proud of your decision! i don't know if i could have expressed that kind of love for God... we're praying!

Agent fam, you are the stuff! i know how much you are carrying... at least i know you're carrying alot. you know i'm praying for you as well.

i wish my prayers were of greater value, i have but little faith.

peace

Agent B said...

In seeking answers to my own desert experience, I had no idea that we'd receive the answers gathred here.

Basically - everything in my pathetic little "whoa is me" life has been put in great perspective. I may share more details about my desert walk in a separate posting this weekend.

My basic jist: I live in near lack, constantly wondering how we will financially make it day to day. Even though the CEO has a 22 month track record in provision for us this way...me of little faith.

Boo-hoo.

Meanwhile, my wife and I enjoy excellent health, 2 excellent pregnancies, and 2 beautiful healthy babies. Yet Deana has a beautiful son, but spends her entire life trying to keep him alive among other standard (and difficult) life issues.

In a warped way, I can kind of relate to JF. She gave the ultimate sacrifice for a woman in order to follow the CEO: sacrifice of security. She left a boyfriend of 6+ years who was paying all the bills, etc in order to be a "single" working mom trying to raise kids who are confused and acting out because of the decision she made.

My wife & I have made financial sacrifices in an unwilling way, and with no emotional chaos like JF's. No comparission there...

All this to say...I'm embarassed and humbled. I thought my life had "trials" and by reading other's testimonies I'm seeing just what "trial" can really mean.

I hope no one felt compelled to share the intimate details of their life on this blog. But by doing so, you've really built up the faith of many jesus followers. They've told me so off-line.

And my wife & I are 2 of them...so thanks.

Mike said...

warning, this thing is rambling...

I have held off commenting at length because I feel like this wilderness thing is a very personal experience and I have a hard time articulating personal experiences. And I am not sure how or what I will write here.

Also, this is all encredibly hard to sort out. There are things that I have brought on myself, and there are things that are a result of a fucked up Institutional Church. Not that it really matters, but it makes it hard to tell the story when you aren't sure what the story really is.

What is more, I am not sure that what I am experiencing is the wilderness. What if those who are on the inside, officially approved by the church gate keepers - what if it is they who are in the wilderness, what if it is they who are lost with out a guide? what if this strange, sometimes isolated, always difficult place I am in is really a blessed place benieth the happy gaze of God?

Prayer is hard most of the time, and to be honest seems pointless. I have more doubts than I do faith. When folks talk about being happy or joyful in Jesus I have to choke back the vomit and resist the urge to tell them to shut the fuck up. This faith with out works thing is turning out to be nothing but work, and work that I don't think I am willing or able to do. But yet somehow I think maybe that is where I should be and while there are moments in which I watch the smily happy christians and wish that I could just be like them I also know that it is all bullshit.

It doesn't really matter much how any of us got here. But if you want to know (as it seems you do) I will tell you.

I started as a christian when I was around 20 and right away I bought into the evangelical bullshit line that jesus would make me a better person and looking around at the "examples" set up I could only assume that I would have a better life as well - that squeeky clean always smiling everything all together kind of life that I had always wanted to have as a poor farm kid. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get there. I couldn't over come my own interior rot. And for some reason, no matter how much I begged and begged Jesus wouldn't clean me up. So I just faked it.

I had one thing going for me, well at least back then it seemed good but now i am not so sure. That is, I understood what I read - esp the bible- and I could teach it. And I had some pastoral gifts that would latter develop.

When I left college I took an internship at a mega chuch in KC. Long story short I ended up being fired from that church and basically black listed. That church was a very respected church in Kansas. So much so that other churches would call them first when they were looking for staff. A good recomendation meant you were on you way, a bad one meant you were done.
I got fired because of a lot of things. Mostly a combination of my youthful and foolish and arrogant approach to the situation and the corruption of the church. The two biggest things where this. First they were located in a poor part of town and they wanted to move to a rich part. The new location was in the 5th richest county in the nation. They did things like hold meetings about the new project that only those who gave OVER A CERTAIN amount could attend. What was the last straw for me was when I was told to "dump" my kids from the poor part of town and start drawing in kids from the rich part. The reason being - and it was explicitly said this way - that those kids parents have more money and they will be able to give more to the new building project. When I protested and refused to "obey" and be "teachable" about this I was labeled contentious and a trouble maker. What finally did me in was when they brought in a dude to teach on Isaiah and instead he talk for 6 weeks about how jesus was going to use Y2K to come back. He said that the GPS system was going to fail on sept 9th and that was when jesus was coming back. When I pointed out that first jesus said no one would know the day, and second if he were so sure of this then he should sign over the deed to his house to me cause he wasn't going to need it - all hell broke loose. I wrote a brief refutation of what he was teaching and passed it out to the 9 (yes 9) lead pastors. Big mistake.

There were a lot of other things and there were some good things like how parents and kids stood up for me. But the bottom line was that I was fired and when I applied to other churches they would check up on me and I would have that mark on my back ground from this church - and they were saying that I was angery and unteachable and devisive - well who wants that kind of ass hole on your staff?

So I moved out here to cali and took a job at a camp. Eventually I would serve in the church again in San Jose but that wouldn't last. The church was full of good hearted folks, but they needed a lot of help and after I arrived the senior pastor and the associate pastor both left leaving me with there duties plus mine as youth pastor AND I was also the interim youth pastor for another church. I did everything but marry and burry people. I preached and did visitation and counseled and anything else that the church needed and the denomination would allow and unordained guy to do. Needless to say after a couple of years I was burned out. On top of that I had, while maintaining a very successful youth program, determined that youth ministry is actually more damaging to the church and to youth than it is helpful. So I left.

I spent two years serving as a camp director. Which was no heaven let me tell you. This camp, like all other christian institutions had its own dirty underbelly. One example - I was once on the maintenance staff and when the septic pumps failed there was a switch that they would throw and all the shit would get pumped into the creek. When I brought this up to the executive director he pretended to not know. Except that he did. The reasoning was that if they shut down the camp to fix this and other problems then kids wouldn't get saved and that was more important and outweighed the other problems.

That shit is just the tip of the iceberg of what I have seen and experienced. I haven't spet most of my life in christianity, but out in "the world." I think I can say with some experience that I have seen more averice, greed, hate, pride, wickedness, and immorality (if you are evangelical you will hear immorality and think sex - don't cause it is a bigger word than that) in the church and christian institutions than i have in the "world." I and some friends have a small construction firm. Construction has a rep for being corrupt. And there is some of that, but I have to say that the church has more. I feel safer and more able to trust the "thugs" and "crooks" in the construction world - including some really narly union guys - than I ever did around christian people, esp christian leaders. and oh, don't get me started on the bullshit scam of buying your seat in the ministry. which is what you have to do. if you can't afford $60,ooo for a seminary degree then you can't be ordained and therefore you aren't a part of the guild and you have nothing to offer the people of god - regardless of your gifts - and if you are a women then you are really up shit creek. Simony is what the reformers called it - thy buying of a seat in ministry - and that is exactly how you become a leader now. as i wrote above in one church I did everything but marry and burry my people at that church but because I wasn't ordained I couldn't give them communion, I couldn't baptize their kids, and I couldn't marry them and I couldn't put them in the ground - even though I had walkded with them through every other aspect of life - all because I hadn't paid for some piece of fucking paper. but that is for another day.

like I said all that was just a glimps. how has that effected my faith? it has totally fucked it all up that is how.

but maybe it isn't "fucked up" maybe it isn't me who is in the wilderness. maybe it is everyone else.

Agent B said...

Mike (fletch). Thanks for sharing. I love you and your realness.

I have nothing to add to your comments.

Well, maybe this:

I gather that you worked in the church system shortly after (3 years?) you became a follower of jesus. Since you didn't grow up in "the church" I assume you had no church related baggage (cultural upbringing) upon entering a ministry profession.

Thus, I assume it was easy for a guy like you to look around and see that the emporer had no clothes. Or something like that. Plus, you seem to have a real brain and can see though BS pretty well, etc.

I'm not surprised they ran you off. That's the same religious spirit that killed jesus and imprisoned Paul, etc. It's that "don't rock the boat" spirit, or whatever. I experienced a very similar ordeal. I know...you didn't get stoned or sent to jail. But the experience still sucks.

I would assume you are now in a wilderness of sorts. And from what I'm gathering about wildernesses from scripture, this is the time where the CEO is molding you for some future gig...whatever that means.

Don't alter your life by anything written in a blog comment (duh). But I'd hope this would bring an ounce of encouragement to you, etc.

You mean much to me. Thanks for your continued internet friendship.

JesusFreak said...

hey....uuummmmmm, i feel kind of embarassed about sharing all the things i did with the people here. i didn't really think anyone would actually read it or care. I just wanted the people who prayed for me to know how much it touched my heart. Reading those comments seriously lifted my spirit. Man, this is why I love being a christian!


P.S. I wanted to say sorry for all the grammar and spelling errors in my previous comment. I started crying in the middle of it and if I had used the backspace button any more than I already did, it would have popped off and possibly injured my eye. accidents happen...