“Stop Trying To Figure Things Out and Just Believe” ~Joyce Meyer

I’ve only recently begun to read and listen to Atheists at the forefront of the Freethought Movement. One might think that, as a new atheist, I’d devour the writings of the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, or Richard Dawkins. With just a few exceptions, I haven’t been doing that until recently. For good reason…

Leaving Christianity meant I had to learn to think for myself and therefore, reclaim myself. The last thing I needed was to dive into Dawkins or Hitchens works using my old methods of learning and digesting information. Until I could break old patterns and replace them with healthier methods, I needed space. At least for a little while.

Reflections on my life of indoctrination led me to conclude that I needed time to wake up more fully before exploring the works of atheists. 

For children, indoctrination is a relatively passive exercise. But for the adult, it requires some work. I did the work.

To give perspective: My ‘relationship with Jesus’ really took off at the age of 17 when I was baptized in the holy spirit. Because I was a ravenous reader/studier, I practically set up house in our local Christian bookstore.

All my books had highlighter markings on Bible highlighted and marked up.jpgpage after page with notes in the margins. My bible was fat with dog-ears and underlined with color coded pens. I saw it all through my God glasses.

When a controversial topic popped up, I’d turn to trusted Christian leaders to find out what they were teaching about it. I’d read their books, listen to their tapes and, ultimately adopt their belief as my own.

As I grew and matured in the faith, I began teaching bible studies and prayer groups. Preparing my material typically consisted of a Strong’s Concordance, 2 or 3 bibles of different translations, and 3 or 4 books by authors our church trusted that covered the topic at hand. From there, I’d piece together my own rendition.

Many Christians know that this is the process by which many believers gather and disseminate doctrine and dogma. Most bible studies or sermons are nothing more than re-writes of someone else’s beliefs and teachings, made personal.

sheeple.jpgIt took massive amounts of mental gymnastics to make nonsense make sense throughout my Christian experience. But milling about in the sheep’s pen made it MUCH easier. I learned within those fences how to regurgitate the dogma and bleat with all the sheeple.

I’ve had to face the fact: I was a full participant in my own indoctrination as a member of the herd.

Now, at nearly ten years out of Christianity, I feel like I have enough distance from all of that to indulge in the writings of knowledgeable atheists without pulling the wool over my own eyes.

I’m not kidding myself… I’ll never achieve 100% objectivity, but I’m certainly more up to the task than I ever could have been as a Christian.

The beauty of where I am right now is that for the first time in my life, I’m wide open to possibilities. I’m reading new authors from all kinds of backgrounds with an aim to see something new. To put a fine point on it: I’m not reading Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, or Dan Barker to learn how to think like an atheist… that would completely miss the point of free thought at its core and further rob me of thinking like MY SELF. And the fact that I see that is amazing.

I’ve already found myself at odds with a few atheist authors on some points along the way. It could be that I don’t yet know the scientific data but when I do, I’ll change my position. Maybe I’ll see the data differently and stick to my guns. The difference is that now I don’t have 10 foot high walls around me. I actually welcome being proven wrong so I can further grow and understand. This is TOTALLY counter to any Christian training I’ve ever had on how to think and consume information.  Whatta wild ride!

This may sound childish to a whole lot of people adept at critical thinking. You’ve been enjoying the wonders of your brain in ways I never did because I was discouraged from doing so. But there are ExChristians who will relate. We were trained to ‘die to self’ and just believe. Joyce Meyer said it perfectly in this terrifying tweet:

Joyce Meyer Tweet.jpg

As I round the corner toward my 10th year out of Christianity, I’m acutely aware of how my thinking continues to evolve. I think differently today than I did just one year ago. As my oldest son put it recently, “The farther away I get from Christianity, the more ridiculous it all looks.” And I feel the same.

But I’ll add; the farther away I get, the freer I feel to think outside the God box I was stuck in for so long. And now… NO box will do. Believe me, this is Way Past Due!

 

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True Story: Feel Free To Call Me Mother

The Time: Around 1991

The Place: Student Pastorate, United Methodist Church, The Bible Belt

young-woman-praying-in-churchI’d signed up to participate in a prayer vigil at our small UMC in rural Georgia. We’d scheduled people to pray in one-hour increments in an effort to “pray without ceasing” for 24 hours. (I know… how can you ‘pray without ceasing’ if you cease after 24 hours?) Anyway…

I spent my hour alone in our tiny sanctuary that smelled of musty, old hymnals and bargain brand cleanser. Kneeling at the altar, I began with praise, “Thank you Jesus for blessing my family….”

After some minutes of gratitude, the old pain bubbled to the top as it always did. So I faced it head on, requesting God’s comfort praying something like, “Father, please help me. Because of your Word my feelings of ‘lesserness’ and inferiority permeates every thing I do, infiltrates everything I am. Father God, why does your Word speak so poorly of women?”

In a flash I got an inner sense of God’s voice that said, “Feel free to call me Mother.”

By the time my hour of prayer was over, my face was covered in tears as I rode a wave of relief at the words I believed God had spoken to me. At least they were somewhat validating. But when I got home and told my husband what God had said he replied, “But that’s not scriptural.”

What little hope I’d had in that moment was crushed when I got home. Crushed by someone who knew the depth of my pain. What was he thinking??

Even right now, as I re-construct this incident, I can still feel the desperation I wrestled sitting in that tiny church. It was as though my heart was breaking. I could see that I was changing as a person, my light was growing dimmer. I was watching myself being slowly snuffed out by bad theology. The more I learned, the worse it got.

The way I saw it, it was hard enough to face sexism out in the godless world… but, hell, I expected it to be there. It was quite another to face it in God’s Church and even worse, for God to inject it into our homes. God was the only one who could fix this mess and set things right, but to me, He’d stubbornly refused to do that. Moreover, He’d refused to say why in spite of my persistence. 

I swung open the church doors that day knowing I was at an impasse. No amount of study or prayer could make sense of the endless amounts of apologetics I’d heard in defense of God’s words against women. The rape He didn’t stop, the murders He’d commanded, the babies He’d drown, the virgins He gave as spoils of war, the women He’d silenced, the women He’d subjugated… I simply could  not reconcile it and I was dying inside trying.

I can see it now with the brutal clarity of hindsight: If I was going to continue in my Christian walk believing God was love and God was fair, I had to have something to counter balance what I had that said the opposite.  So, I did the next best thing right there in that country church…

I threw myself a lifeline.

I constructed my own solution, wrapped it up neatly in my God concept and presented it to myself as a gift from God. God said, ‘feel free to call me Mother.” I sensed these loving words out of desperation and into my reality.

Maybe it was genius. Maybe it was delusional. Maybe it was both. But without a doubt, it was pure self-preservation. And it probably would have worked for a little while. At least, it might have if I’d not heard the words, “But that’s not scriptural.”

Fuck me.

 

Kirk Cameron Is In Charge Chelsea Nobel

The title of this post is certainly no newsflash. Kirk Cameron has been flexing his male privileged spiritual muscle for a long time now. But the article I ran across today really got me to pondering some things. I’m interested to know what you think. 

Elizabeth Cady StantonThe Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women’s emancipation.

~Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton witnessed the damage of the bible in her day as it impeded her progress in the fight for women’s rights. For the Christian culture today, equality for women remains an arduously slow evolution.

While society as a whole continues to evolve and grow with newly acquired knowledge, the bible remains frozen in time. Those caught in the crosshairs between growth and Christianity are bound to be bifurcated, for how can any of us evolve to higher thinking and yet, still hold fiercely to a stagnant set of religious beliefs outdated by thousands of years?

Kirk-Cameron-Chelsea-NobleKirk Cameron illustrates how stuck many Christians are. Christians who take the bible seriously must deny progress in order to hold tightly to antiquated concepts in a book they highly revere but rarely read.

An article published on The Christian Post website earlier in April titled, Kirk Cameron: God’s Word Instructs Wives to Respect, Follow Their Husband’s Lead reports his views on marriage in a nutshell:

“Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband. When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.” ~Kirk Cameron

Cameron falls into the complementarianism camp. Complementarian Christians believe and want others to believe the husband and the wife are equals but with different roles in their marriage and in the church. The husband is the breadwinner, the head of the family. The wife tends to the home.

Complimentarianism 1

In reality, it’s not an equal set up at all. Family life can get sticky when kids enter the picture especially for professionals. Typically, it is expected that the wife will give up her career in lieu of raising children. Positions of authority in the church are most often limited to men. And while many complementarian couples will say they work out their differences together, in the event of an impasse, the ultimate decision lies with the husband.

Complimentarianism2That is not equality. Any child could tell you that.

Try an experiment in a room full of 5 year olds. Tell all the girls that the boys get to be the boss of them and see just how ‘fair’ the girls think that set up is. This just isn’t rocket science.

Colossians 3:18-19 and Ephesians 5:22 are often referred to by couples living this lifestyle as the “Christian Model for Marriage”. As for Cameron, he believes the bible gives him authority over his wife because it’s scriptural. Period. Ironically, the bible is actually far more severe in its limitation of women than he is as a Complementarian!

1 Corinthians 14:34 specifically says women are to keep silent in the churches and learn from their husbands at home. It’s highly doubtful that Cameron holds his wife to this strict standard. And yet, it is every bit as biblical as the scriptures he models his marriage by.

Not only is Cameron failing by being lenient… he faces extreme difficulty even getting into the kingdom of heaven in the first place. Given his net worth is estimated at some 20 million dollars, one might wonder if he takes seriously the words of Jesus when he said:

Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

If he doesn’t take that scripture seriously, with all of heaven riding on it, why take the scriptures that subjugate his wife seriously when the consequences are so much less grim? Is the kingdom of heaven and your entire eternity not be worth giving up 20 mil?

In his defense, he’s being a human… I could go on and on about the many ways in which he is violating his own holy book as is every Christian who calls it ‘God’s Word’. And it cannot be any other way. I, too, was a massive hypocrite. One only needs to read the book to see how impossible it is to live by and how much of it would be criminal if you did.

Christ - husband - wifeMaking wrong seem right doesn’t happen over night. It takes years of indoctrination. It takes immersion in the bible and in the Christian culture. It takes instruction by trusted leaders and the continual influence of fellow believers.

However, I believe if you were to ask Cameron flat out: Is sexism wrong? he would answer with a resounding, “Yes, sexism is wrong!” just as he would if you asked him if slavery or racism is wrong. Societal peer pressure is also powerful and you’d have to be a butt-notch to answer any other way.

And yet, it IS sexist to subjugate women and worse to tell women they must stay in their marriage, “regardless of how their spouse is treating them.” Cameron teaches a sexist doctrine without apology and yet would recognize sexism itself as wrong.

Complementarianism is no different in its twisted mentality than was the concept of “separate but equal” in 1890. Where would we be in our society today if the scriptures read, “I suffer not a black person to teach a white person or be in authority over whites.” Where would we be?? And the same Christians who condemn blatant racism continue to accept blatant sexism.

 No… It’s worse than mere acceptance. They teach it. They pass along the shackles to the next generation of women and lock them up tight in the name of their Lord and by the authority of His Word just as Kirk Cameron is doing. 

It’s easy to disregard Cameron. Many resort to name calling when it comes to him and his message. In fact, it’s not tough to disregard any person who spouts this kind of garbage. But when God does it, it’s a betrayal at its worst and leaves horrendous emotional scars.

yikes.jpgI know from experience; reconciling a good, fair, loving, merciful, perfect God with this message of male supremacy is a vagina vexer… (or ball breaker if you’re a guy).

How deeply ingrained is this kind of theology?

Very. But it’s not unbreakable.

What do you suppose would happen if Chelsea were to stand up to Kirk and say that she disagrees with his message of subjugation? What if she challenged him saying she no longer believes he is her authority and now wants to live life as a full and equal partner, as a fully grown, responsible adult woman?

My bet is that if she stood her ground refusing to remain in an unfair marriage, he’d find a way to change his theology to match hers and meet her demands.

It’s easy to stick to your theology if no one ever challenges it.  Twitter_logo_blue_48.png  But when there’s a negative personal consequence attached to clinging to it, a person’s truth can change.

So, why doesn’t Chelsea Noble make that stand? Why don’t all Christian women?

Given that I don’t know Chelsea Noble, all I can do is address how the Christian women I DO know handle the subjugation message based on actual conversations I’ve had.

  • Many believe the bible is the ultimate “Word of God” and Jesus is the only way. They are stuck with nowhere to turn. They make the best of it even though they can’t make sense of it.
  • Many Christians don’t even know these restrictions on women exist. They don’t read the bible much, if at all. Theirs is a social gospel. Their church – a social club and their pastors preach a ‘feel good’ version of the gospel. These pastors know; the message of subjugation wouldn’t feel good to at least half of their congregation.
  • warren-jeffs-child-brideMany were raised this way. If they’d been raised in Colorado City, they’d be stuck in a plural marriage to an old goat 10 times their age like Warren Jeffs of the FLDS pictured here. Some will even admit the fact that geography has everything to do with their belief system.
  • Some were like me. They read the words of scripture and were appalled and confused. The loving God they thought they knew could not behave in such an unfair way. But the more they studied, prayed and inquired, the more psychological damage they endured and the more they felt betrayed by God.
  • Some women like the simplicity of the submissive role. It absolves them of adult responsibility and the consequences of their decisions.

The root problem will always exist within this static book called the bible. Women are not equal between those particular covers. And they’re not especially valued, either.

Complementarianism is nothing other than the shackles of sexism in disguise. And not even a very good one.  Whatta ya think-Share your thoughts about this postin the comment sectionat the bottom.

A True Story of a Negative Confession

If you had anything to do with the Full-Gospel/Charismatic movement or with the health and wealth gospel movement, then I’m betting you remember the wave of teachings about positive and negative confessions.

In simplest terms, we were taught that our words had power, both negative and positive words. To make a negative confession would be to ‘agree with the devil’ about whatever negative thing was going on or possibly could happen. To confess sickness or poverty would be like saying we agreed with its existence in our lives.

A positive confession though, could turn this around into a faith statement putting things back in line with God’s will. This is based on the belief that God wants only good for us, so instead of speaking negative things, we were to turn them into positives in faith so that God’s will for good would come to pass.

Preachers would often use Romans 4:17 as their basis for this teaching that reads, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Of course, they left off the context of the scripture, because it doesn’t work if you keep it.

We as believers were thus instructed to speak things that aren’t as though they are so it becomes a faith statement. It is this teaching that was so instrumental in teaching me to lie to myself and to others. 

In practice, it goes kinda like this. You wake up one morning with a sore throat…

Negative Confession: “Oh no! I have a sore throat. Ouch!”

If you say that out loud to a fellow believer, you’ll probably get whacked across the knuckles with a bible. (Just kidding about the physical assault. Typically it’d just be a verbal one.) :o.

The correct approach to your sore throat is this….

Positive Confession: “Thank you Jesus for your healing power and blessing me with a healthy body and throat!” 

Whatta ya think-Share your thoughts about this postin the comment sectionat the bottom.

True Story:

My senior year of High School, my friend and I opted out of the senior trip to the Bahamas in lieu of driving ourselves to Jesus ’80, a Christian festival held down in Florida. You might say, “Way! What were you thinking?! You missed the Bahamas!??”

But I’ll tell ya, we had a BLAST! We packed our happy butts up and headed down for 3 days in the sun to hear artists like Amy Grant croon her sweet little ditties, and watch faith healers like Benny Hinn heal the sick.

I’ve included a video I found online of this festival. Brought back some serious memories! Check it out at the end of this post. Somewhere in that crowd was little me and my friend, raising our hands to Jesus in praise!

We were so excited about the festival. For the drive down, we’d created a big poster and put it in the back windshield of the car that said,

JESUS 80

We were mighty proud of our sign and the sentiment behind it that communicated our dedication to our destination! After five hours worth of driving we’d arrived! Ready for a Holy Ghost experience, par excellence! 

We parked in the big field among the other festival goers with our big sign proudly displayed in the back. But when we got back to our car after a day of hobnobbing with God and His children, we found a note on the front windshield of the car that said,

Dear friend

I remember we were both so mad! It crawled under my skin that someone would take the time to ‘correct’ us with a word swap that really wasn’t any more or less negative than what we had! I ripped the paper into pieces wishing the writer would show up so I could give them a piece of my mind! Not very Christian of me, I know. Oh well.

Here’s the video clip of Jesus ’80! Whatta hoot!

 

I Had an Ah-Ha Moment Today

 

I had an ah ha moment today by way of Twitter, of all places.

In reading through the feed, I stumbled upon a name that sounded familiar. She’d posted this picture:

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 2.36.41 PM.pngShe’s Becky Fischer, the preacher behind the children’s ministry that ran the controversial Jesus Camp. You may have seen the documentary that came out in 2006. I saw it several years ago but decided to watch it again this afternoon. (I’ve included all 6 parts below).

Watching the film was a huge trigger for me, catapulting me right back into the world I lived in for so long. Our children’s church ministry at our Full-Gospel/Charismatic church was a virtual carbon copy of this woman’s ministry as seen in the film. The raising of the hands in worship, the speaking in tongues and tugging on the children’s emotions with the shame of sin… it’s all in there. And more.

I was in the Full-Gospel/Charismatic church for roughly 20 of my 40 years as a Christian. Eventually I settled back into the United Methodist Church. The core of the teachings, (Jesus born of a virgin, crucified, resurrected for the sin of human kind) is all the same. But the Full-Gospel/Charismatic church veers away from more traditional denominations by teaching that Christians should expect miracles and acts of God like healing, deliverance, and tongues, among other things.

As I watched the film again, I cringed. I winced. I hung my head in shame for the ways in which I’d made my contribution to this twisted way of thinking. Blogging about my personal experiences has taken on new significance for me from watching the film today. This is a truly toxic brand of Christianity.

The kids in the Jesus Camp documentary just break my heart. I encourage you to watch it because people like Becky Fischer are hard at work, indoctrinating kids with dangerous dogma and I for one, know the damage this kind of stuff can do to a person.

No matter what your background, this film is fascinating. It’s worth your time:

I want to know what you think! Post a comment after you’ve watched the documentary.

What do you think?

Transgender Bathroom Break

I’ve been writing a post for my blog for two days now but it’s just not coming together. The words keep fighting with themselves on the page.  So, I thought I’d take a break from all that and post this video on Transgender bathrooms.

If you’re a fan of common sense and logic, you’re gonna like The Liberal Redneck’s perspective on this debate. It made me laugh… enough to watch it twice!

 

True Story: Toe-To-Toe With The Healing Evangelist

The place: My Full-Gospel, charismatic church located in the Bible Belt.

The time: Early 1980’s.

For weeks our pastor had been building the excitement, preparing his congregation for an upcoming healing service lead by his faith healer friend traveling to us from Alabama.  He was a traveling evangelist anointed by God with the gift of healing. Everyone was eagerly awaiting his arrival.

The evening of the healing service arrived and we welcomed him into our church with hopeful anticipation. We began with a full hour of praise and worship with our praise band front-and-center. Then, with an enthusiastic introduction by our pastor, the evangelist took center stage.

praise

“Jesus said,” he began with conviction and authority, “ If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Many in the congregation echoed his words with a quiet, amen.

“Our Heavenly Father does not play favorites. He wants you physically and spiritually well! He wants to heal YOU! Deliver YOU! Not just the person standing next to you! Do you believe God wants you well? The words in the book of James tells us that the prayer of faith will save you!” The crowd burst into applause. Amen! Yes! Praise Jesus! 

“Consider the words of Jesus to us when He said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” He stood silent for a moment, scanning the crowd from one end to the other, waiting for the applause to die down .

Then he hushed his tone to a near whisper. He took the microphone in his hand, stepped away from the pulpit and closer to the crowd. “How many of you have had a sick child? Don’t you do everything in your power to make him well? Well, your Heavenly Father doesn’t delight in your sickness any more than you would delight in your own child’s sickness! Do you think He takes pleasure in your pain?”

The crowd responded quietly, No. Praise God. Praise Jesus.

I listened intently as the man proceeded to rifle through passage after passage that spoke to the truth of God’s healing power. Faith swelled in me at the same pace as the escalation of his preaching voice.  I quietly whispered in tongues, praising God for his mercies and thanking Jesus for his promises.

By the time he headed into the homestretch of his message, he practically shouted Matthew 18, “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven!”

The air grew thick with hope as people praised Jesus and clapped their hands.

“What does the word, anything mean, Church?” He paused only briefly before answering himself, “Anything is cancer!” The crowd roared in agreement. “Anything is migraines! Anything is kidney stones… anything means any sickness you can name!” Praise God! Praise you Jesus!

Then in an instant, the sermon took a turn and the atmosphere of the room changed. He came to a halt, looked down and shook his head before he spoke. “There are things that can stand in the way of your healing, though. And we’re going to face those things right now, together, in groups of two or more just like the Bible says.”

He instructed us, a room full of some one hundred people, to gather in groups of two or three for the prayer of repentance.

Sin will rob you of your healing!” he shouted. “Satan will use unbelief to hinder your healing! Lack of faith will keep you sick! If you want to be healed, confess your sins to one another. Rebuke Satan right now! Confess your unbelief to your sister or brother in the name of Jesus!” The rumble of voices enveloped the room as people huddled together in prayer.

I confessed to my prayer partner to the ‘sin’ of not engaging in routine ‘quiet times’ with the Lord. It was all I could think of in that moment.

“That’s right, Church…” the young evangelist said cajoling the crowd, “Yes… Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. Shanda-lahundela…” he prayed in tongues.

He summoned the band to play as we prayed. The music, soft and sweet, hummed in the background as the evangelist encouraged us further, “Tell one another now what you need from God. And remember the words of Jesus! ‘Whatever you ask in my name, I’ll do!’

prayer for healingThe room was electric as voices rose saying, “In the name of Jesus be healed!” and “Satan I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!”

For several minutes the evangelist paced back and forth on the stage, praying in tongues. He held his bible in one hand while reaching the other hand out toward the praying crowd. Shundela hundela….

Then he stopped abruptly in his tracks and pointed to a woman nearest the stage. “You!” he bellowed. Everyone stopped praying and looked up. “Did you get your healing?”

His tone took me aback. More like an accusation than a question, he stood, feet firmly planted, waiting for an answer. For a flicker of a second the woman looked confused, but then quickly raised her hand in the air and said, “Yes! Praise Jesus!” and abruptly sat down. “Praise the Lord!” the evangelist beamed! “The works of God are alive among us! Pray, Church! Pray!” The thunders of prayer fired back up.

Then he did it again. He stopped his pacing and praying and pointed his finger, “You! Are you healed?!”

The young man on the front row hesitated for just a second and stammered, “Y…Yes, I think so.”

“You think so?!” the evangelist barked. “God is not a God of speculation. Pray until you know so! God has promised healing in His Word. Keep praying, Church! Pray in the name of Jesus until you get your miracle!”

I grew nervous… God, please don’t let him call on me. Even if I HAD been healed, I was growing more and more intimidated by the maniac on the stage with his big, booming voice and accusations phrased as questions. I secretly decided that if he called on me, I’d just say, “Praise Jesus” and quickly sit down. Surely, God could see how tense this had become.

The man went back to pacing and praying. And then…

“You!” he pointed in my direction, “YOU! Are YOU healed?!”

Adrenaline shot through my system landing like a cannon ball to the stomach. Then I realized, he wasn’t looking at me. He had addressed the woman standing right next to me, thirty years my senior, and one of the church’s largest financial givers. A fixture in our church.

She didn’t flinch at being singled out, “No. I’m not healed,” she said. The praying stopped throughout the sanctuary as silence fell hard with a thud.

A look of dismay crossed the evangelist’s face. Finally he said in a tone of disgust, “Why not?!”

She looked him square in the eye and said, “I don’t know why. I’ve done what you said.” For a moment, the two stood toe-to-toe, just looking at each other in a sort of stand off.

Slowly, I eased myself down into the pew, asking God to make it swallow me.

Sermon“Something is standing in the way of your miracle! And it’s not God.” the evangelist accused looking down at her as much figuratively as literally. He turned to address the entire congregation.

“Our God is the God of restoration and healing. If we are not healed, the problem lies with us!” Then he looked back at her, “What is it that’s standing in your way?”

“I’ve repented of my sin,” she said. “I have faith and I do believe. But I’m not healed. I don’t know of anything that’s standing in my way.”

He took a couple steps in her direction and looked at her prayer partner, “What about you?” Everyone waited, breathless. But the woman just stood there, saying nothing.

Finally the evangelist took a step back, let his shoulders fall in defeat and said, “Look, people. You must stand before God pure and holy, cleansed of all sin. Full of faith. Ready to receive His blessings! You can’t let Satan rob you of what is rightfully yours!” Then in seeming exasperation he added, “Let’s take some time in worship right now. Band… keep playing. People of God… keep praying. Don’t let Satan have a foothold.”

worshipWithin a few minutes, arms were raised and eyes were closed and in short order, people ascended back into a state of fully involved praise and worship.

For a few minutes, I stood among my brothers and sisters in Christ, completely nonplussed. What had just happened?

The boxing match was over, but the woman didn’t budge from her spot. She stood keeping her eye on the evangelist.

At the earliest possible moment, I quietly collected my purse and slipped passed her, out the side door and went home.

The following morning I arrived at work at the church office. The woman who had sparred with the evangelist the night before arrived shortly after. She marched up the steps of the church, directly into the church office demanding an audience with the pastor. She came back the next day and the day after that, too.

I wasn’t privy to the discussions behind closed doors between the two. What I know are these things:  I was also not healed that night. Many others said the same. The evangelist/healer never returned to our church. And our pastor never again spoke his name to our congregation.

Whatta ya think-Share your thoughts about this postin the comment sectionat the bottom.Scripture references:

James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:11: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 18:19: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”