Re: Ex-Member of Community
Date: August 20, 2011 08:47PM
Very interesting posts.
"What a long strange trip it's been"
I, too, was influenced to some very minor extent by the group under discussion. Though the outcome has been for me, in every way "major", the group, of itself, had minor impact.
As a young man growing up in Bethpage, I was infatuated with a member of St John's Lutheran Church. Her zeal, devotion and evangelical fire led me to attend several of the services which resulted in a commitment to Christ. It was a week, as I recall, after (being dragged to) hearing David Wilkerson preach, that Scott Ross then came to the pulpit. It would have been 1968, in the fall as I recall. I remember the buzzing amongst those filing in to find seats as praise songs were sung, everyone in buoyant anticipation at the (young hip) speaker's presence. He would ask the congregation before he began "is there anyone here not full of the joy of the Lord tonite?" Me, being contrarian and, up to that point immune to such, was not reluctant to raise my hand...but by the end I was a slobbering mess, coming forward to receive Jesus as both Lord and savior.
Although I was regularly regaled with stories about the bearded prophet of St John's and aware of his powerful influence over the youth there, I never fell under his sway. I had a father dying of cancer, a small world being turned upside down, and despite the dogged persistence of some who seemed to want to manage my walk, personal issues that kept me from ever feeling part of the in crowd. To a great extent it was probably just the disillusionment of losing the object of my pubescent longings, the young lady previously mentioned. Somehow my demotion to being at best a brother didn't hold the allure of previous anticipations. Then, after my father died, I remember being told by one who felt assigned to shepherd me, that my laying on of hands and prayers for his healing must have been deficient in faith. It was not really as crushing a blow as I would later use to justify my excursions into unbelief and willfulness, but it did suffice as an excuse for quite a while. But, from then on, I felt both alienated from the group, but to a greater extent, Christ. The whole of the experience then took on a sort of surreal quality, as though it had happened, but simply not really...to me.
Since then, much has taken place.
Religion is sitting in a church while thinking about fishing.
Spirituality is fishing while thinking about God.