Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is real?

As I am moving into my future with stronger faith, I can't help but look back on my journey and the paths I have taken into Christianity.  The choices that I have made, the things I have done, some because I felt they were right and some because everyone was telling me, either directly or indirectly that I should. I don't want to make the same mistakes, so I tend to avoid everything.

  • Serve your heart out vs. Sit quietly and mind your own business. 
  • Church every weekend vs. Taking a vacation once in awhile. 
  • Say hi and greet everyone, so they can be saved vs. Get in and out quick before anyone talks to you.
  • Bring everyone you can to church vs. Avoid church conversation at all costs. 

It makes me wonder how many of my choices were so far off base that I need a redo.

One thing, specifically, that bothers me is this: Was my baptism as fake as the rest of it? Think about it. I was baptized by a "prophet" (1) to whom God gave a "vision" (2) to have a congregation of 20,000. A man that has "sermons" about ways to make your life better, in the bedroom, financially, in your relationships, etc. (all pop-psychology really). All things many people are wanting to hear about (3), not things that God, through His word in the bible, wants us to know. I was baptized primarily because everyone gets baptized to prove the change they are making in their lives. I didn't fully comprehend the seriousness of what I was doing. I didn't get baptized to wash away my sin and start anew. I got baptized because I believed it would be a magical experience that would instantly change me. The whole concept at the Crossing is the more you do for God, the more He will bless you. It stands to reason that if I got baptized, He would show up, right?

I need to ponder on this a bit. I hit the brakes, did an about-face and started doing what the Bible said rather than relying on what other people said. God gave me the ability to use my OWN mind and I most certainly will take advantage of that. He gave me the ability to make my own choices, based on His guidance, not be led along on a weird magic carpet ride. Seriously, the Lord pretty much gives us permission to do backsies right?(4).

I'm dusting off my bottom and trudging along!!

At least this time it wasn't my face.


ADDENDUM:  Just to be clear, since I have had a couple inquiries, I am not interested in being re-baptized. After all, baptism itself is just a symbol of your commitment to Jesus. I will be saved by grace, through my faith. Let me say that again: I will be saved by grace, through my faith. Did you notice the period at the end. There is no "and service, works, tithing, etc" or "if you_______" or even a "but not if you are ______". Just GRACE & FAITH. 

(1)  --  Matthew 7:15  -- Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
(2)  -- 1 John 4:1  --  Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
(3)--  2 Timothy 4:3  --  For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.
(4)   --  Jeremiah 8:4  --  Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?"' 

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Without a trace of irony I can say I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and drove me in new directions.
E. O. Wilson

The irony of today just hit me. 

My last days in the cult climaxed with me being left in my car, crying, (see my first blog) by a "pastor" at the Crossing. Today, as I left church crying, in a mad rush just to get away...a pastor followed me to my car to make sure I was OK. Even though I was in no shape to talk and couldn't look him in the eye, and he was due to preach any second - - he stood outside my car and prayed for me, wished me well and expressed care and concern over my well being. As the irony of today settles in, it makes me feel peaceful. It gives me hope that everything will really be alright.

Thank you PTS


Homonyms.....kind of.

I need to tell myself to stop and realize that things that sound the same may not always be the same. Just because it has the same title, doesn't mean it has the same meaning or evil purpose behind it.

Trigger: Sermon topic (It happened to be the same topic of the first Crossing series I ever attended)
Reaction: Try not to run like a crazed lunatic with the hounds of hell after me.
Aftermath: The crash of guilt and shame for jumping to a conclusion that, at this point, I have absolutely no reason to assume is correct. My rational mind says that I was wrong to assume and that I should hear people out and judge them based on what I have previously heard from them, but then my irrational mind is screaming "Run, they are all the same".

I took a step outside that box and realized today that if I continue to respond in irrational ways, cut myself off from friends, refuse to get close to anyone else, let triggers run my life, listen to my irrational self, then they WIN. In case anyone doesn't know, I can be a very sore loser.

At Crossing Church, it was all church focused and if you weren't church focused, you were not a good Christian. You would never be told "Well done, good and faithful servant" if you didn't serve your brains out. We were expected to cut everyone out of your life that wasn't Crossing focused, or spoke against what the church was doing or the way they did it.  We were expected to constantly try to recruit more people to come to church. At every turn, everything that you didn't do for the Crossing was something that would ultimately damn you to the burning pit. Every sermon seemed focused on one of the following:

  • Money (and how much you should be giving in order to get a blessing)
  • Bringing people to church (because they will go to hell and it will be your fault)
  • Sex (constantly having sex with your spouse is biblical or you are in sin)
  • Serving (again, if you don't serve properly or with everything you have, that one person that you didn't treat right on Sunday will have a bad experience and go to hell and it WILL be your fault)
I heard, through a fellow blogger, that Easter was a good, biblical, Christ-centered sermon. I pray that they continue down that path. Keep it up so the Crossing will change and it can be positive place for everyone. 

Since I have left Crossing, I have heard good, biblical sermons from numerous pastors. Sermon titles and the different, subtle things that are similar tend to still make me cringe. What can I do to get past this and move on? I guess only time will tell, but from here out, I am going to make an effort stop and take a moment to listen before I run.