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Posts Tagged ‘BELIEF AND BEHAVIOUR’

I’ve lived long enough to realize that we have seasons in our lives. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Not just physical seasons but spiritual seasons as well. And recently I’ve began thawing out from a long hard, cold winter in my soul. I was too long alone in the wastelands of my frozen, ice hardened heart. I’ve been dark, cold and miserable.

Recently a Spring breeze has been warming my soul, awakening my stoney, cold heart. And a still small voice on that wind has been speaking “life” to my darkened mind. Remaining me whose I am. That I have been chosen by the Father and given to his Only Begotten Son. It’s all of Grace!

My soul is being revived! The love of God is crushing this heart of stone and replacing it with a heart that is tuning into Christ. His love and patience is breaking into the darkest corners of my mind with light, life, and truth. He is restoring my soul!!
All I want right now is to be with him. To walk with him. I understand what Paul was saying now… to live is Christ!
“In Christ”
I get it now! To be in Christ as He is in The Father… my sin is blotted out because of what Jesus the Christ did on the cross in obedience to the plan of redemption he and the Father prepared before he ever created the first thing. That is the Sovereignty of the one who created everything that was ever created. He is the Sovereign God over all the Universe, over all Creation!
And I am his!
I am in Christ.
His will, his plan, his workmanship!

Do you understand?
Do you see?

What a savior!

He is my Lord, my redeemer, my God!

Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can I be quiet any longer!?
How can I not witness what He has done for me?
I am a Child of Love, I’ve been adopted and am in Jesus Christ, God the Father’s accepted, saved by His Amazing Grace!!

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Anyone else like me?

I know whose I am but I often do not live like it. Take for instance, Life.

What is life? Is it just the living, the breathing, and being conscious? Yes, those are necessary in order to sustain life. 

But what is life?

Is life what we do? 

Is life who we are?

What is life?

When I was a younger man I didn’t think of these things. I took them for granted. I was…  therefore I was alive. And if alive then I had life. I never questioned what life actually was/is. So what is life? 

Genesis 1:26-27

¶Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

¶So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:7

…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So…

All these years I have misunderstood what life was. I was under the delusion that life is about me. It’s actually about God. Just as I have misunderstood the Bible. It’s not the story of man but of God. Man is secondary. Man is the result of the will of God. Life is the result of the will of God. 

John 1:1-4

¶In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Are you beginning to see as I see?

Life is a gift of God. When one speaks of the sanctity of life this is what they are talking about. Life is not man’s to give and therefore it is not man’s to take unless according to God’s Law. 

Obviously I have much to learn about life.

At this point I see my learning is sorely lacking as to what life is and how I should regard it. I have only seen life as a series of circumstances and how they affect me personally. My life has been based on my reactions to the events of life and I haven’t stopped to think on what life is, and where life comes from. Right now I see through a cloudy, dimly lit, out of focus glass. I pray I will grow, mature and begin to see with more, and more clarity. 

Yesterday at church, Pastor Kyle mentioned that when we are in distress and need clarity (at least this is what I got from what he said) we should give thanks in everything, and for everything be thankful. That caused me to think of the most basic thing of all,”Life.” 

Now as scripture says, “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” we see life is literally, God breathed.

Later, in the Garden of Eden, man disobeyed God’s one command and became spiritually dead, becoming separated from Adonai through his sin. Thus Death entered the world. 

And so death reigns from then until now on the physical body. But God had, before creation, prepared for us a sacrificial lamb, without spot to take away our sin and restore us to himself: his son, Jesus, the Christ. 

John 14: 6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the LIFE*. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

(*Emphasis mine)

All of John 14 is Jesus’ witness to the Truth, of himself, and of the Father. 

Our restored life is in Jesus Christ, who is in the Father. 

Again, “life” is a gift from God.

Yet how lightly we esteem it. How flippantly we care for it… how often we neglect and abuse it as if it were our own. 

Anyone else with me?

Do you see what I see?

Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

God has to deal with me in degrees, as with an infant. I have to learn to crawl, and then walk before I can run. In this case I have a small taste of the truth and small understanding about life now. 

So here is something I was given earlier as I was thinking about all of this. How do I start my morning? What is the first thing I do when I wake up?

I reach for my phone.

I check in on the world before I recognize the very one I claim is Sovereign Lord over all Creation, Adonai.

What if I change that?

What if instead of reaching for my phone I would recognize Adonai first and as Kyle said, give thanks. What if a prayer of Thanksgiving was the first thing I do every morning?? How would that affect my day? How would that change my life? My approach to life?

I found this Prayer

Morning Prayer

I give thanks unto You, Adonai, that, in mercy, You have restored my soul within me. Endless is Your compassion; great is Your faithfulness. I thank You, Adonai, for the rest You have given me through the night and for the breath that renews my body and spirit. May I renew my soul with faith in You, Source of all Healing. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who renews daily the work of creation.

Maybe seeing life as less about me, I will appreciate the life I have more… because I will see it for what it really is a gift from God. 

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So tonight I was looking over some of the things that Liz is having to go through to prepare for college now at my Alma Mater, UNCG.

Of course my brain started wandering down through the halls of time dragging up memories. And I really tried, but I don’t have any really good memories. One or two half decent ones but it’s mostly just a blur. I have a few good Memories of Little League Baseball. But even they are overshadowed by the bad ones and my failures both on and off the field. Sports in general were not good to me. I did have a perfect record going in wrestling in highschool but then I won one.  (Actually it was a forfeit) Eventually I did legitimately win a match.  It was a bitter victory because it hit me that there was a bigger loser than me out there.  I kept thinking, “how bad do you have to be in order to be beaten by me??”

For the life of me I can’t dredge up more than a handful of good memories. Fishing and hunting with Bill Harris are a few. Camping out in the woods, eating Beanie Weenies and farting all night with the four guys I grew up with, (two sets of brothers and me an only child… Keith and Greg, Bill and Craig) too bad we drifted apart. Rather I drifted away. 

I was always so busy trying to get to the next stage in life… I never really lived life to the fullest where I was at.  Now, as the song says:

“The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away

And only I am left on stage to end the play”

My children are all adults now. Yes, 18 is young but she’s still an adult and I’ll treat her as such. I have found people tend to rise (or fall) to the expectations you set for them. Treat them as adults they will be adults. Treat them as weak victims…they will become weak victims. 

Reminds me of another song:

“Where do we go from here now that all of the children have grown up

And how do we spend our time knowin’ nobody gives us a damn”

Socrates at his trial said, 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”

I would also include the life that has been examined and found wanting is also not worth living. It’s merely an existence to be endured. 

So, as I look back, all I can see are the pot holes, the overgrowth, the failures, and nothing of worth. I never knew how to live so I’m saddled with a current mediocre existence bent on the necessary before the good, and the immediate rather than the best. 

And before I get sermonized, I get it. See, this is my lot in life. This is where I am, where I’m supposed to be. And I am trying to come to terms with my place in life. 

Yes, I know who I am “in Christ Jesus,” that does not change who I am, and where I’m at in life. One is spiritual, the other is in the flesh or physical. My salvation does not change my past, put rose colored glasses on my past or improve my past. The facts of my past, and my rembrance of my past remain unchanged.

So tonight I waded through the wastelands of my memories hoping to find a few good memories to salvage and all I can come up with are counting the weenies in the beanies and all night farting contests. That’s about par for my life. 

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre

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Have you ever really read the words to the hymns you sing? Read with meditation the words Robert Robinson penned in 1758. 263 years ago, yet still as powerful as the day they were written.(truth is like that you know)

“Come Thou Fount”

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

1758
Robert Robinson.

May verse 4 become one of my daily prayers.

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Gym’s Wisdom

Every so often I have an epiphany that is so simple, so obvious, so elementary that I get angry at myself for not seeing it sooner. Or at least not acknowledging that it is something that I know already… but I’m not practicing as I should.

Here’s an example:

“IF you want to get better at something (doesn’t matter what it is), the way to improve your performance is…

*ready for this?

… do whatever it is that you want to improve in.”

Well, duh!

Yet how much time do we spend looking for a magic pill, a shortcut, some hocus-pocus that will make us better without putting in the hard work it takes to actually get better?

You say you want to be a better runner. Guess what, if you continue to run you will get better.

Want to get better at pull-ups? Do them
Want to get better at singing? then sing
Want to get better at playing an instrument? Then play

Intuitively we know this. Why are some people great at playing video games? Because they play them all the time. Why are athletes so good at the sport they do… because they do it all the time.

In order to get good at anything you have to invest time and hard work in doing it.

Let’s bring this home to everyone and make it real.
You say you want to lose weight? Guess what… it’s going to require time and effort. Period. The “gurus” out there are making a fortune selling illusions of quick fixes and shortcuts… but if you want to make it real, make it last and see real results then you have to invest time and effort in the process.

Yet in this culture of instant gratification we want results NOW, right now. We also quickly become bored with the effort and move on to something more shiny, more new and easier. We want the sculpted, supermodel body but we want it with only the couch potato effort. We will spend thousands of $$$ dollars buying meal plans, pills, shakes, gadgets and fads in order to lose weight and slim down… but we won’t spend that amount of time and hard work doing the same.

It is a journey, a lifelong journey. It requires your time and your hard work. It will not happen over night (so you can get that fantasy out of your head right now.). It is a game of inches. Results are in direct proportion to the time and effort you invest in doing whatever it is you want to improve in. (R = time+effort)

See, its so simple, so easy to say, so easy to gloss over… but sometimes it is the simple things that we trip over along the way.

Now, begin… do what you can do today… and increase that by a little bit more tomorrow… and don’t quit. The results will come I promise you. Just keep on and don’t stop.

*we now return you to your regularly scheduled life already in progress*

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Update (read: bragging)
Here we are 14 days into the New Year and yes, I am still at it.
For the new year I have decided to learn how to swim. (yes, I’m AARP eligible and just now learning to swim.)
I have had a couple of swim lessons and I haven’t drown yet. I’ve inhaled my share of highly chlorinated water… but not drowned yet. (I will probably die of chlorine poisoning… but not by drowning.)

This past week we found out at work that our per-ordered uniform allowances from 2013 were processed wrong so we had 15 days to re order. I did (and for the first time in 8 years I used every single penny of the allowance)… but there is a catch.

As of this moment I’m in 42 pants. Now the smart thing to do would be order 42’s right? Well… no one has accused me of being smart so what did I do? I ordered 40s and 38s. So… now I have to keep at it in order to fit in my new clothing allowance.

So here is the real reason for the update.
**Now let me preface this with some disclaimers:
I know that to the purists, machine mileage is not the same as “real” or “on the road” mileage. I further concede that my times are s-l-o-w compared to real runners and people who are in a shape other than round.

Having said that:
Tonight I was on Mistress Sadie’s cousin the Elliptical (name yet to be determined) and I did 95 minutes of the “Rolling Hills” program for a total of 7.31 miles. Again, that’s 7.31 miles. That’s averaging sub 13 minute miles. (12.99589603283174… but who’s counting, right?) which was 11770 strides on the elliptical.
Now the interesting part is, that is more than a 10k. (and again I realize that’s not “real” running… but still, it’s pretty darn impressive if you ask me! )

I’m going to have to get a shirt or a hat that says, “I’m Getting There”

Anyway… that’s the update, we now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing and lurking.

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altar call

The altar Call is an outward show of how the pastor can emotionally manipulate his followers to do what he says through guilt and other pressure tactics.  It is a power play so that there is visible evidence of a successful sermon.  The (so-called) “Altar Call” is the pastor’s way of  “proving that he is worth his paycheck.”  It is part and parcel of the Man-centered Gospel of the Church Growth Movement in Modern Churchianity.

The church lecture series is all about the man in the pulpit no matter how much he claims to the contrary.  The Cult of Personality is the glue that really holds the congregation together.  Take away the charisma in the pulpit and the so called church that meets in the temple they have built for themselves will dwindle down and die.  The sheeple will find themselves another proxy god to put in the pulpit.  They must have their very own idol to listen to and to worship.

“Not a god,” you say?  Really?  Pastors are the gods over their congregations.  His is the only voice allowed to speak during the lecture and he cannot be questioned about anything he says from behind the so called sacred desk.  He is infallible and not to be questioned.  He demands loyalty and obedience.  His word is law.  The sheeple are conditioned to passively, and unconditionally accept what the man in the pulpit is saying no matter what he says.  The pastor is in fact speaking “ex cathedra” as he is the head of his church no matter who he gives lip-service to.

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”   -Lord Acton  expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887

_________________________
My premise is that any man who is given authority over others will, if left unchecked, make full use of that authority for both personal gain and personal power. The amount of corruption by this person will ultimately be decided by the amount of power that is available. As Lord Acton says, “Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority.”

In modern Christianity most church congregations are based on a simple design. The authority is vested in the persons of the (so called) clergy, usually at the consent of, or at least the tacit agreement of the (so called) laity. This Catholic Idea of Clergy/Laity came from the teachings of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprias, and Augustine who created and promoted the whole “Christian” class/ caste system. While not addressing the theological issues of this problem Lord Acton actually does a marvelous job of attacking just such a system, “There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” As true today as when Acton said it.

-excerpted from my blog:  https://persifler.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/corruption-is-directly-proportional-to-the-level-of-control-that-is-available/

The “Altar Call” is nothing more than a way for the Pastor to practice his manipulation tactics while stroking his own ego.  I dare say that what most people claim to be a movement of the Holy Spirit is at best ginned up emotionalism brought on through guilt and spiritual/emotional manipulation.  Why would I say such a thing? Because the “feeling” is generally gone by the time you reach the parking lot, that’s why.

Finally, and most importantly, the Altar Call promotes a man-centered humanistic approach to religion and “salvation.”  It portrays a weak frail god who can only work in “his building” following the pastor’s sermon.  I have heard testimonies from folks who sweated bullets all week long until they could get to the Altar Call part of the service so they could get saved.  That screams of a god in a box who is so weak and so inept that that he has to have the work of the Man of god (little “g” on purpose) in order to save someone.  I have also heard of so called soul winners who got people to say the sinners prayer on visitation coaching them to come to church on Sunday and come down during the altar call in order to make their decision official with the preacher.  *groan*   No, no I don’t have all the answers.  I’m just now asking the right questions.  I just know that this Kabuki theatre that is being called “Church” these days is a sham and a shame.

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AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! We are down to only three Mistress Sadies!  They did some equipment changes at my Y,   leaving only (3) three Sadies on premise.  What would I do without my Sadie?

But on a positive note… I had committed to making November Cardio month and concentrating on that. I also made one  of my goals  to get 5 miles on Sadie?

We-l-l-l-l… tonight Mistress Sadie was hard on the old man. She demanded a lot out of me… but I rose to the occasion. Tonight we went all the way again and I lasted a full five minutes at her maximum effort (level 20),
And if that was not enough, tonight …..drum roll please…….

5.02 miles in 65 minutes baby! (yes that’s 13 min miles) Pretty good for a fat guy who didn’t like to exercise I’d say. Now, I know what you are thinking… but that’s on a piece of equipment so that’s not really running. I’ll grant you that it’s not the same dynamic as running outdoors on the road or on a track but Sadie has her own dynamics that require a different set of muscles and training. A mile on Sadie is still a mile, and 65 minutes at multiple settings, up to and including the max resistance, is nothing to sneeze at. (a-n-d… it was a 1062 calorie burn on Sadie as well.)

I’ll take the trade off, my joints not taking the pounding on the road for the challenge of the open strider.

Oh and to top things off, I tried out one of the new treadmills. I walked an additional .98 miles in 20 minutes playing around with the inclines and the TV channels. (another 200+ calories for that) That’s a total of 6 miles tonight. That’s almost a 10k. Wooop-Wooop!

All in all, I’d say it was a bang up start to my 4 day weekend. 🙂

I have been -“Quitter” Quit Free- for 454 days now.

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Last night I had two Poblamo peppers (out of the garden) stuffed with three cheeses. Cheddar, White cheese sauce and Pepper Jack… enough heat to get my nose to running. (of course lunch was sushi and wasabi mmmm, the wasabi and ginger brought tears to my eyes… it was soooo good) So, the peppers were merely to bookend an already spicy day.

Now, I thought that maybe being able to step out of the 44’s from the other night might have been wishful thinking on my part… Au contraire, mon frère.  Yesterday afternoon I wanted to install an odometer on my bike but I was feeling lazy so I just threw on a pair of shorts without a belt. They are 46s and I wrestled with them all afternoon trying to keep them “up.”

(stay with me and I’ll tie those two random stories together)

So, all afternoon I had been wrestling with my pants because I was too lazy to get a belt and put it on.  After much gyrating and “hiking” my shorts into position, I finally finished the odometer installation.  A little later, I felt a twinge of hunger so  I began fixing my dinner.   Preparing dinner was a “Keystone Cops” process last night as I waddled back and forth between the computer and the oven, checking the time and the condition of the peppers and surfing the interwebz.   I alternately looked  like a hip-hop, saggy-pants, gangsta’ and “Dorf on Cooking.” I swear, one time I even looked like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins during the penguin scene.

Anyway, the peppers were finally done and I sat down to eat.  Yes, they were very good!  I “can” cook when I take a mind to. Afterwards, I cleared the table and put everything away in the sink. My nose was running just a little from the heat of the meal so I grabbed a paper towel and stepped into the utility room to blow my nose. I reached up with both hands and trumpeted a hearty Bb.

When I did…

…my (46) shorts fell straight down and landed on my feet around my ankles. Very glad I didn’t go blow my nose in the living room!   So, there I was, with my pants on the floor …but my sinuses were clear.

Sometimes I crack myself up!
There’s no real moral to the story… I really just wanted to brag on my disappearing waistline. 🙂

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Over on http://www.stufffundieslike.com forum a question was asked:

Why Did You Leave? Would You Go Back?
For those of you who have left Fundamentalism, and I think that’s probably most of you who post here, why did you leave? Was it the theology, or was it the culture? If it was the theology, what specifically about the theology drove you away? If it was the culture, what specifically about the culture drove you away?

My answer:

Why did I leave?

Most of you know my story and the history of deception and lies I encountered in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement.
http://www.stufffundieslike.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=45

Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I stay and fight?
I believe that there is nothing worth salvaging in the IFB movement.  I believe it is a religious cult movement that should die a very public, and very convincing death.  The heart and core of IFB error is Theological Error.  The error lies in how the IFB presents and views God in relation to both the individual and the “Ministry” of the Local, sanctified, separated, sold-out, sanctimonious sect of believing believers.  According to IFB dogma the “Local church” is superior to all other things Christian.  In theory and in words they say they worship a sovereign God… but in practice God’s sovereignty ends with the
preeminence of the individual’s free-will.  In a nutshell, God is viewed as a reactive deity who frets around his heaven wringing his hands hoping that there will be someone to stand in the gap, make up the hedge, and come up with a masterful formula for winning souls to Christ.  Because we know that Church in the IFB is all about the numbers.

Numbers and power actually.
I am more convinced than ever that,   Most churches today have a “pastor” who oversees the entire operation, and there may be a deacon board that is either working with the pastor or against him… either way it is doubtful that either “office” is operating biblically. With the advent of the Professional Clergy there has been a rise in the cult of personality as well. The Professional is seen in a light that is clearly not biblical and we see that whether by “influence” or by acquired “authority” these men rise to prominence. Even the small rural churches are patterned after this and the pastor is looked on as a man of authority over the congregation. And there is the rub.
Even the meanest paid rural “pastor” would not willingly give up “his power” over even the smallest group of people. It is not about the money, heaven knows many, if not most, small congregations pay at or below the poverty level. No, it is about power to influence and control a group of people and mold their worldviews.(This is the danger of the passive approach to worship where a one-way conversation takes place.  The only view allowed in these meetings is the pastor’s.  This affords almost total control by the speaker to inject his own views as ‘god breathed’.  Whatever the “anointed”, “man of god” says while behind the “sacred desk” will be seen as, and accepted as, the “word of God”.) That is an especially strong allure for men of lesser character who are drawn to such positions. I have no doubt that there are good men who are trying to do what is right in these positions and I commend them and pray for them but the position itself is the enabler, the seductress; and even the best of men will, sooner or later, succumb to the temptation of power. We see a picture of this in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings Trillogy”.   As a Ring Bearer, Frodo Baggins had an awful burden to carry yet, even he failed in the end and succumbed to the power of the ring; unable to destroy it he claimed it for himself.  The thread through-out the tale is about power, the use and the abuse of it.  Many who would have taken the ring would have done so out of a noble purpose but would have been corrupted by it’s power and their corruption would (like Sauron) only be limited by the (unlimited) power of the ring.

Would I go back?
No, not even if my life depended on it.
I truly do not believe that the IFB movement is worth saving, and I truly believe that it is a cult.  A very seductive powerful cult that relies more on the abilities of man and less on the power of the god it claims to serve.  That may sound harsh and it may be.  I know that God does work in the midst of even the very worst of these bunkers.  But I do believe that the error and the man made traditionalism and the King James only idolatry that is practiced in these dens of sanctimonious piety is deadly poison to  sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem.  (the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints)

Where am I at spiritually now?
That is the hardest thing about leaving the IFB bassinet, one has to start thinking for oneself.  I was fortunate in that about the time I left the enfolding tentacles of the IFB, I broke my ankle.  How was that fortunate?  I was able to spend almost 6 months examining my worldview.  I was able to take a long hard look at who I was in Christ, what I actually believed, why I believed it and I wrestled with several items that I had to abandon because there was no reason other than man-made traditionalism that I was holding to them.   It’s much tougher than having someone spoon-feed you how you should act and think.  But the realization that you are no longer performing according to someone else’s standards is very spiritually refreshing!  Yes, there are often doubts and you find you might be out on a limb that you would not have climbed before… but the learning experience is so worth it.

In conclusion, I know that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have a death grip on their comfortable religion and practices in the IFB bunkers which they live and breathe.  But I have found so much fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ outside the bunker system that I could never go back into the cave to stay.

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