Welcome. This blog is intended to be an ongoing discussion of a journey of faith–a journey of seeking something real, a journey of deconstructing and reconstructing paradigms, a journey away from performing religious duties and toward becoming a true disciple of Christ. So I think it would be good to start off with some of my back story, so you’ll know a little bit more of where I’m coming from.
As far as Christians go, I don’t think you’d find too many people more “churched” than I was. I have spent my entire life in church culture, and not just in one vein of it. In my early years, my mother was a devout Episcopalian. An only child, I was baptized in that church as an infant; I can remember my mother dragging me out of bed to early morning Lent services where we were the only two people in attendance (except, of course, for the priest). My father left when I was two…then during a 9-year divorce my mother had a born-again experience, and my father returned to his evangelical roots after backsliding for awhile to become a hippie. My parents reunited when I was eleven; Mom had left the Episcopal Church by this time, and we all attended a Christian Missionary Alliance church for awhile.
All during this time, though, my parents had been influenced by the charismatic movement and the Word-of-Faith movement, and eventually all three of us received the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. We realized we were going to have to find a church that permitted that sort of thing, so we began attending a variety of charismatic churches, whose worship was way different from anything I’d been used to. Instead of organs and hymns, they used guitars and drums and sang simple choruses over and over again. People actually smiled as they sang, and they raised their hands. Then sometimes they’d stop singing the song and everyone would just sing to God out of their heart. It was fresh, alive, more Jesus-freaky than anything else I’d experienced before. I loved it. It has flavored my worship of Jesus ever since.
A couple more things I should tell you about my background. First–not only did my family go to church–they went to church a lot. I already mentioned Lent in the Episcopal Church. In the other churches we didn’t do Lent, but we did go on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night (or Friday night) every week. When the church had special services, we were there every night. And when I started playing piano, I added Thursday night to the schedule, for worship team practice. Plus, from junior high on, I was in Christian school at one of the churches we attended, so I was there every day during the week. I didn’t just go to church; I lived at church.
The other thing is that my parents were highly influenced by the burgeoning Word of Faith movement. At first there weren’t Word of Faith churches, so whenever there were special meetings within driving distance, we went. Of course, when Word of Faith churches started springing up, we went to one–and it became one of the first charismatic mega-churches of the 1980’s.
So that’s my background. My religious/church experience was broad in the sense that I had a wide variety of church expressions ranging from liturgical to evangelical to charismatic. But my church experience was also very thick because of all the time I spent in those different churches and meetings.
So when my religious mindsets began to fail me, and when the religious institutions began to reject me as a result, you can imagine the upheaval I went through. It has rocked the foundations of my whole life…more on that later…
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