How could an educated man follow a religious superstition like Christianity?
Well follow this little trail…
I grew up in a home without religion…almost. Education was God. Grandfather called dad an educated fool, but dad wasn’t all bad. We grew up in comfort with lots of neat toys for Christmas. We didn’t really know what Christmas was about except bits that slip in about baby Jesus. Babys are non-threatening so it all passed un-noticed.
Education pressure induced panic during math tests that hindered my educational goals. When the Army sent a draft notice, the education worries were diminished. They were so diminished that I aced the math test on the Army entrance exams…go figure. The Army, in their unmatched genius put the guy who flunked trig three times in charge of calculating artillery fire. Duck your head Charlie!
Rocket fire perforated my bunker in Vietnam…when I was in a different bunker. I dodged a runaway truck. But I had already survived a head on collision when I was nineteen so who knows what was taking care of me then? Certainly it was not my godly life style.
I returned to find that my Scout buddies were now my party buddies. Not everyone was a commie hippy, but most were following the party times. A college professor requested a design with a Christmas theme at this time. I didn’t know anything about Christmas, so I read the Christmas story in the bible. I was a stoned hippy wanna-be but I sensed more than a small mystery about this baby story. Oh it was probably just the drugs! I made a cool diorama of the classic Christmas stories though.
So the party goes on while a few words remain in a vacant corner of my tripping brain. In time I collect a lot of bad habits that build up guilt in other corners of the brain. I do not dig up the grave of the old man because he stinks. But at that time I was living the old man even when I was still a young man, and he was very alive and stinking. I learned that I could sleep without being drunk if I read passages from the Psalms. When I could not live with myself I could live in a few words of comfort…interesting.
At one point I was driving test cars for American Motors. After work I went to my own worn out car and drove to a bar. The car was cold and so was the beer. Before long I rode the waves of alcohol to a serious depression. I decided to commit suicide then and there. I drove the old Plymouth wagon out into a blizzard and headed west as fast as my bald tires would spin.
On northbound highway 27 to Lansing Michigan I targeted a bridge at about 80 miles per hour. The bridge was a wall of concrete with three arch openings. The center was a culvert as wide as a car. I drove to the left slightly centered in the concrete mass and approached my destiny dead ahead. Well, not quite dead.
I was joined by a passenger in the car who came in with a lot of really bright light. He had nothing to say, but the car began to spin clockwise, and slid to the median. The car stopped spinning just as it entered the culvert at 80 miles per hour. It remained in straight travel until it left the tunnel. At that time it resumed a spin to a forward travel direction, and my drive was stuck in the snow. I enjoyed the heater for a while.
Now some really amazed police officers followed my tracks to the other side of the culvert and found me waiting for a ride to the jail. The next day they gave me gas money and sent me home. I mailed that money back and they were once again surprised. They decided to send the money to Father Flannigan’s Boys’ Town in Nebraska.
I had seen Boy’s Town a lot on family vacations, so that was a second message to me about some angelic intervention. Do you think that sent me running off to church? Ha! I had a lot of party time to get to. That might have just been a bout of delirium tremens, right? It could have been pink elephants too, right?
Well I partied on and sunk into more things that I indulged even while I hated them. I struggled to keep jobs, and to stay high, where reality seldom touched me. I reached a point where jobs were hard so I applied for work in my old drafting profession. I actually made a “bargain” with God then, to “become good” if I got the job. Now there is a promise that no one can keep.
I not only got the job, but I got hired as a layout man, a step above my beginner’s detailer designation. I was on my way to becoming a designer! Now about those forgotten promises to God; they accumulate. I did pretty well on the job but I was cooking my brain on overtime, party time, and buried guilt. That brew will do interesting things to your brain.
I had a dream that I was undergoing a heart transplant by M.A.S.H surgeon Hawkeye Pierce. He planted a Ford Oil Pump in my chest. I was designing that oil pump with such passion that it was becoming part of me. This gave me the premonition that a change of heart was coming.
My life had secrets that I did not want to share with the world. But the world was becoming kind of close to my secrets it seemed. Can God use paranoia to motivate a good change of direction? I began to hear people in public places speaking words that exactly identified my darkest secrets. I really heard exact conversations around the thoughts I was following inside my confused brain. That was uncomfortable. Well I had some ideas about what to do: surrender.
So when I was working overtime on a Saturday I left work to go to church at the old “Lord’s House” in Livonia Michigan. I was free to leave and return, and still finish off my overtime later in the day. The time clock didn’t care. I met some “Jesus Hippies” on the front porch of the church. They led me in a prayer admitting my sin and asking Jesus to forgive me right there on the porch. It worked.
Now I suppose I should have taken all my education to analyze this as some simple superstition, but things were going on that did not care about my logic. Something outside of that group on the porch intervened with a great sense of relief. All I could bring to that porch was an admission of guilt, but that was multiplied in value by someone else. I went back to work with a clearly changed outlook.
My outlook was so changed that I told my co-workers that I was SAVED!! New Christians do stuff like that; where do they get the gall to be so…bloody happy? I listed my sins and announced that they were all forgiven, and some told me that they liked me and forgave my sins WITHOUT all this Jesus stuff. Actually they liked me BETTER with my sins, and asked me to come back.
One co-worker was an old Scotchman who loathed all Christians, and was an expert in tormenting new converts. I learned to rejoice in persecution and the scriptures demonstrated their power there. Because I had scriptural instruction to rejoice, the spiritual source of nasty ideas was compelled to dry up. The human mind can only contribute a limited amount of anti-christ propaganda without the outside spiritual influence. That influence is still under the authority of the living word and was compelled to back off. A baby Christian has access to the full power of the creator of the universe.
One Friday my party buddies were planning a party. I was still living with them, so I would get no sleep before my Saturday overtime work. When I was alone in the house I took my bible from room to room “casting out” the demons. Pretty silly huh? I went to the youth service at church and returned home later. Everyone was bummed out because a prankster hid the tapper for the beer keg…and forgot where it was. Since the girls didn’t show up everyone was totally bummed out and I got a good night’s sleep. Baby Christian might get dangerous here!
My contract drafting career led me through places where employers were cheating me, others were incompetent and destroyed their businesses, and still others blessed my career like I was walking on water. Temporary employees are second class at best, unsure of steady work, and need Christian partners to ride the roller coaster life. In thirty years I witnessed a steady stream of these “circumstantial” proofs of Emanuel, God living with us. My partner also brought such testimony in her life.
I was asked to work with the Royal Ranger youth campers at the Livonia Assembly of God. The ministry was really messed up and I was reluctant to give up the activities of a big church. I really felt that God was pulling me into this sacrifice so I again surrendered to the little church. No singles ministry, no big concerts, just a little church and lots of work. I overlooked one detail though. ONE of the kids in Royal Rangers had a single mom. Not for long. But you can read more about that in the previous blog here, which is actually right below this one. This is just another coincidence that keeps me going.
So there is no scientific proof that God was involved in all this coincidence, or any of the other coincidences of the universe. But would that be fair? If God is to measure human worth, should it be based on education and skills? Can an uneducated person be kind, gentle, and worthy of salvation? An educated person can also be, but it may be harder. We assume beliefs from the words of others, and popularity is a big influence. How do we know what is true? Better if we only have to know WHO is true. I like to think that a real God can read my heart, while I cannot measure him by my skills. If I could, I would be earning my passage instead of accepting him by faith. I didn’t dome to Jesus because I am good; I came because HE is good.
If God is good, he protects me from the obvious dangers and the subtle ones too. I joined a group of Christians on the internet. As we shared, they posted my bible studies online. One member of the group was retiring from the Marine Corps and moving to Dallas, where I worked at the time. I offered to help him make a landing there. The group leader thought I was stealing a member from his club. In other communication I also expressed interest in a woman who later joined the group. The conversations began behind my back and deteriorated into gossip.
After work I was walking my dog in the hot Texas brush country. Nature walks with dog are a great source of peace and prayer time. This time I got a wave of evil premonitions. I got a clear early warning that my friends were accusing me of various misdeeds. I was warned that the web site would be closed to me. Within 20 minutes I found confirmation of that; I was a banned member.
Scripture (Matthew 18:15) dictates that one asks such questions in private. The leader of the group didn’t even go to church, so there was no compelling them to follow any known doctrine. It seems that Christians are free to make mistakes or even be unbelievers in a cult. This was no real loss to me because I could see the nature of the beast clearly now. Still they continued to post my bible studies. If the tree is so bad, isn’t the fruit also poisoned? I guess they didn’t really believe that!
What was the real value here? I found a real friend who could see the invisible threat and deliver a warning. I had a friend who was closer than a brother, and he had proven himself to be the Messiah he had always shown himself to be.
Well this is some of the long history of comforts that continue to encourage my faith in Yeshua Ha Meschia. I have been treated as a second class temporary person at times, but those who see that way do not see the spiritual realm. With a promise of eternity I am actually united with the only family that is NOT temporary. Like David I have my Psalms, songs that point to our only hope.
I’m just a temp in this life that we see,
But I have assurance more than all I can be.
A contract employee, I have traveled far,
But my silent partner soars beyond all the stars.
I’ve worked my profession for twenty-five years,
And all that remains are the debts and the tears.
But I have possessions more than all you can see,
I am invested in eternity.
Long years ago, I lived in a hole,
Dung for a spirit, and slime for a soul.
Having no prospects, I abandoned all hope,
And I lived day by day for the next bag of dope.
When alcohol formed a great sea of despair,
I determined to end it all right then and there.
I Drove into a blizzard, and aimed at a bridge,
But even this plan had just one little hitch.
A spirit jumped in there as bright as a star,
And he grave a great spin to that fast moving car.
He backed it straight through a culvert, then spun it around,
And he that was lost then began to be found.
But the Father of Lies, he denies he exists,
Yet deep in my heart I knew he persists.
‘Till the light of the spirit revealed my shame,
And I regret that sin ever came.
The Word came to say that I need to be saved,
And I knew that I had to escape from the grave.
So I answered his call, and confessed all my sins,
And at that moment I felt new life begin.
The accuser will tell us we are worthless and low,
But he has a date with the fire below..
I have assurance from the Father above,
Now I’m a child in the family of his love.
A child of the king can’t have everything,
But the day will arrive when his spirit will sing,
As a child can’t receive the keys to the car,
Yet one day his dreams will ascend to the stars.
One name under heaven by which men are saved,
Jesus who triumphed over death and the grave.
I’m more than an employee who shares his reward,
I am a full partner in the firm of the Lord!