A Hope Dashed
Picking up from the last post, 2007 was the year I really began to embrace the intellectual side of Christianity. For far too many people, even the idea of an “intellectual side” sounds like the death of vital, vibrant, Spirit-led Christianity. Many Christians see the intellectual pursuits of doctrine as divisive, often citing the warning to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:3-5
“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (ESV).
The Christian life is meant to be a marriage of spirit and truth, of piety and knowledge, of joy and sobriety. Many strains of Christianity end up dry as deserts, lost in pits of books, disputes, and dissensions, while others end up drunk on emotionalism, rejecting the pursuit of knowledge, and susceptible to every wind of doctrine which whips along.
But for me in 2007, the flood of new doctrinal insight I received through studying Calvinism was a flood of information laced with deep pockets of joy. Continue reading
Buckle up for a longer post this time. I have to mention all the events and people included here, and I don’t feel like artificially breaking this up into separate posts, mostly because I have a lot to cover, and I’m not trying to tailor this series to a popular audience. When one wishes to blog like a champion, one must observe the rule to keep posts short, so as not to lose the interest of the average reader. Since I do not have many readers, nor average readers, I am writing at length today.
See this list for all posts in this series.
Still Floating Along, Not so Alone
Upon returning home from Yellowstone National Park in 2005, I continued working toward my Bachelor degree at SUNY Brockport, leading Campus Crusade for Christ (CC4C) on campus, and practicing evangelism with my mentors Peter and Phillip.
At CC4C, I became President of the club because the other student leaders had either graduated or quit college. With no leadership or ministry experience, and at 23 years old, I stepped into a pastoral role for two dozen young college students. Only two years out of drug rehab, I was relying mostly on zeal, while my learning in the Scriptures still had a long way to go. Continue reading
Last time we saw the young man awaken in a small boat at sea, not knowing who he was or why he was adrift. By the end of the post, another person in a boat had been contacted. Please go back and read the previous posts in this series before reading this one. It’ll be more fun for both of us if a few of you follow along the whole way…
And look, I don’t have all the time in the world to really prune these posts and to make them titillating reading. I am doing this for posterity, so I ask you to bear with my writing, knowing it leaves something to be desired.
It was 2004, I was clean and sober for less than two years, and I barely knew my right hand from my left. I lived in a micro-apartment with rent of $330 per month, and worked night shifts at Tim Hortons, making just enough money to eat a little food and drive several miles each week in lil’ Murph, my 1989 Mercury Tracer hatchback. I had picked it up for $550 cash, and the air conditioning was a large rust hole in the back where the wind rushed in.
Aimless but Happy
Life was good, but I had no local church, no Christian friends, and no aspirations. Then I met Phillip at the Redemption Center in Brockport (see last post). Continue reading
Hang with me on this one, as I try to shoehorn the story into a little bit of an analogy. The post should feel a bit meandering to you, and that fits it well by the subject matter. Thanks for reading. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.
A young man awoke, blinking at the bright morning sky above. Wh..where am I? he wondered, opening his eyes a bit wider. There was ocean on both sides, a small boat shifting around in the gentle waters, and a glorious blue expanse above, and the man, waking alone in the boat.
He tried to recall who he was, and why he was waking alone in a boat with no land in sight. “Where am I? Where was I going in this boat?” Sitting up, he noticed the ache of hunger in his guts, and the dryness of his mouth. Looking out at the waters, he began to notice other small boats like his, no bigger than two-man fishing vessels, some near, most further out.
“Now this is weird!” he thought, and tried to spot any other people in the boats. About a half mile away, he saw what looked to be another person sitting up in their boat. He raised a cry, “HELLoooOoo!” But his voice faded, throat too dry to do more. The sun’s energy was already blasting away any morning cool that had clung to the bottom of the boat where he had slept. Continue reading
In part 1, I tried to lure you into reading part 2, which seems to have worked. My goal here is simplicity: to get to and stick to the point.
Growing up in American evangelicalism left me rootless and spiritually orphaned.
I was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church as an infant because my grandparents were fairly devout, and my mother had had something of a re-conversion experience while pregnant with me. That was basically the last I saw of Rome, at least from the inside. Continue reading