Sunday, September 20, 2009

Been Away Too Long

The blog had all but been abandoned this last year due to many circumstances beyond our control. I've not been a fan of John Lennon since he left the Beatles, but he got this one right.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon
is slowly creeping toward some sort of normalcy. (Whatever that happens to be). I went back to work last week and got my first real paycheck Friday. WOOHOO!!!!!! (Laid off 09/16/08)
This past year has been a roller coaster since our
Texas trip in May of 08.
Remodeling our Kids' 1907 Pasadena home was an endurance test for all concerned but I truly enjoyed and miss working with my son in law. Did I mention that we miss the G Kids? A lot? The last time we were together the baby was turning 1 and we were pleased to enjoy her first forays in vertical mobility.
So Cool !!

May 2008. We went to Fort Worth TX for our niece's graduation from TCU. Much fun with my parents and sibs. BTW, the Prius has turned into quite the road car, I mean it's not a '56 Buick Roadmaster or anything close but does rather well, considering that it gets 45mpg at 80mph. I'm good with that.
More on Texas discoveries in another entry.
Upon our return the whole fam was gearing up to meet at sister sibs on the beach in SoCal for several June birthdays when my younger bro Michael died from a heart attack. Twice tragic for my parents as we lost my older bro in 1966. We got together anyway as we could do nothing about the situation and together was better than apart. Needless to say it was not a festive time. Life goes on though.

We began our excursions to Pasadena in late July 08 to remodel the Kids' home adding an 860 sq.ft. Master Suite in the existing attic. Weekends only until the economy rolled over and coughed us out with me getting laid off in Sept. I have to say that not worrying about my job and using unemployment to travel wasn't so bad, but as I mentioned, it was an endurance test for all. Raising a 3yr old and a newbie in 1 bdrm guest house for 11 months is no picnic.

WARNING: Pasadena building codes are the worst that I have ever built under.

We finished and they moved back into the house in May 2009 only to have their jobs call them to another state. Surprisingly, it didn't bother us, we were happy to see them move to a more rural area.
Goats and all.

About the same time in May 09, my father in law began to experience minor head strokes that caused him blindness and short term memory loss.
Mind you, this was a robust 91 yr old who had only recently given up square dancing. His gradually declining health was an insurance nightmare for months. Medicare and Medicaid are anything but Care and Aid. The SYSTEM caused us to move dad 5 times, always in the middle of the night, before we finally quit the SYSTEM and the sibs paid out of pocket for his care. He was convinced all along that the coverage he had was adequate. Gov't Health Care is a joke.
Dad succumbed to his failing health on Aug. 12, 2009.
There was a service in Las Vegas and then I drove my wife, Mother in Law and two sisters to South Dakota to fulfill dad's request to be buried with his children's mother.
Like I said it's been a rough year and I'm glad to be back to work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Hippy Church / Model

The Hippy Church.
Well, it's because of the Hippy Church, me not having a traditional background in Churchianity and the study of the Bible that causes my rebellion against the typical structure of today's modern assembly of believers.

The group called themselves Maranatha House
and started somewhere around 1972 or 73.
Back in the late 60s and early 70s a great and wonderful move of God's Spirit swept across this nation through the disillusioned youth of America. Many of the Hippies began to realize that sex / drugs / rock n roll had no more answers than sex / alcohol / Frank Sinatra.

Yeah I know I skipped Elvis, but he was trapped somewhere in the transition.
Playin' both sides of the generation gap, ultimately, killed him.

We were lost.
John and Bobby Kennedy were murdered heros.
(History has since tarnished that hero status).
The real hero was Martin Luther King Jr.
He only wanted peace and the equality guaranteed in the US Constitution.
They killed him for wanting that.
V.P. Agnew stepped down before he could be arrested.
The Pres was going to be impeached.
We thought that the Beatles were part of a new wave of spirituality.
Then they broke up over pettiness and money.

Or as Love Song said, "What the heck was Rocky Raccoon about?"
Stupit White Album.
It was supposed to be all spiritual an stuff!

Amidst the confusion that ushered in the 1970s, evangelism began to spread through the streets and communes. Small groups of guitar playing longhairs and hippy chicks started to write new Worship songs to the Creator as they understood the Gospel message and followed Jesus, a longhair they could relate to.
He spoke about loving your neighbor as your self and yet remaining chaste.
Why just love those who love you?
Anyone can do that.
He taught that we should pray for those who spitefully abuse us.
Whoa, hold on cowboy, that is radical stuff.

Those worship groups played in the parks across America and brought many souls to Christ.
Prob was . . . . the mainstream denominations didn't want anything to do with us unless we were pressed into their mold. Those who knew God through His Spirit opened their doors. The others only knew their man-made traditions and shut out some of the best teachers to come.

Read Greg Laurie's "Lost Boy".
Phenomenal book and movie.
An under educated beach kid from a broken home who later was asked by Billy Graham to preach the crusades in his stead as he aged.
I won't be a spoiler, buy it, read it.

Marantha House sprang up in Las Vegas out of the park worshipers.
They rented an old green house downtown, one block off Fremont Street.
None of the ‘elders' had reached 30 yet.
None were more than 5 years in the Lord.

The Model.
Patty and I came to Jesus at a Pentecostal denominational Sunday gathering.
The message was real.
The pastor was a good preacher.
No hellfire damnation stuff, just good Biblical teaching, that was convicting.
Well, it didn't take long after our commitment for the members to decide I needed a haircut, real shoes, and some sort of button down rather than the peasant shirts I always wore.
Sorry, dudes, I didn't read that in this week's Sunday school class.

Then I met Mike in a Data Processing class at the community college.
A fellow believer, how cool!
I ran into him a again and we started discussing the nature of the Real Church.
The studying I had been doing began to reveal that the church wasn't the building on the corner but rather, where ever God's people are.
WE are the CHURCH. The called out ones.
I didn't know that. It was quite the revelation and revolutionary.

Oh yeah, Mike just happened to be an elder at Maranatha House.
‘ magine that.
The group met every Tuesday and Thursday for worship,
line on line scripture study and prayer from 7 - 9PM.
Babies welcome.
There was no Sunday service.
On Sundays, the body was split into small groups, 15 - 20 people,
led by an elder or deacon in someone's home.
The agenda was up to the group.

Some went to the parks or Fremont Street to evangelize.
Mike's group got together sometime after lunch.
We brought hibachis, BBQs, salads, fruit whatever.
Small Bible discussions in one corner.
Chord teaching for worship on the porch.
Little kids running all over.
Good conversation.
Prayer for one another.
Great food.
Very much happy fellowship . . .and no drugs.

I now look at the current Church Model and see what is missing.
KareBear, it's what you have been sensing in the lack of community.

There is no place for unabashed, fellowship of the corporate body.
With NO agenda.

It's up to us girl.
Let's Kreate Koinonia.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What is the Church . . II

As the 60s faded into the 70s like so much bad tie-dye there emerged a feminist movement that was more about the uber-fem menhaters club than it was about equal rights and pay for pay equity.
Rabid, foaming disgruntaloids roamed the streets of Vegas seeking whom they could slander.
Some of them came to church.
It was about that time that I realized a spiritual gift of teaching had been bestowed on me.

The wonderful hippy group that we had been in fellowship with were ALL moving to Salinas, CA.
We prayed and didn't go. Glad we didn't, that is a story of it's own.
We were led to a little Baptist meeting place called Homesite.
The new pastor, a 41 year old recent theo-grad, ex moto cop from LA,
did not believe that the group should hire someone to fill the pulpit when he wasn't in it.
The elders should teach just as Paul says.

I had been given the opportunity to teach on several occasions and the pastor was asking me if I would consider / pray about going to Theo skool. Heady stuff for a 23 year old new dad with one on the ground and one in escrow, and who had only been a Christian for 3 years.
Did I mention lousy student and the lack of education?

Enter the Equal Rights Amendment.
A very bad, vague law that was being put forth as the fix-all for every sort of inequity.

Simply put, and I mean simple, this change to our Constitution would eliminate gender differentiation, completely. The fembots and their Congressional helpers told us that there was no way that it could happen like that, but the wording, again, was too vague. There would no longer be male or female. I told my wife and pastor that if this thing went through, they were going to need some bail money, cuz I was walking into the UNLV women's athletic locker room to take a shower. Then we were going to the Supreme Court to test this new Amendment.
I do not have the right to stop anyone of another race from using a drinking fountain.
With this amendment no one could stop a man from being in the women's shower.
The sexes would not exist.

Side note:
I grew up thinking that gender had to do with language
and sex was reserved for humans.
Is that right, teach?

Well, that statement got around through a few folks and back to our resident ERA supporter.
Little did I know that the American Baptist Convention was also supporting the ERA.
Peg decided that it was her duty to inform the ABC that I was against the ERA and therefore since I didn't follow ABC authority, I was a "False Prophet and a False Teacher" and should never be allowed in the pulpit again!!!!

Their first response was "Who?".
They had no idea who EdwardBear was but they had heard from Peg many times and that played in my favor. They asked the pastor to 'please try and stop this woman from writing us.'
They left me alone.

Now, what has any of that got to do with the Church?
The ERA was not an issue that should divide the believers, it had nothing to do with God's Word or plan. These types of situations happen all over the world every year and should not even be an issue, but the Church has forgotten what it means to be the Church. We major in the minors and get tangled in the minutia. I tried to reconcile with Peg, was kind and loving toward her, as we should be, but she was an angry bitter woman who thought I had usurped the authority of Her church and bewitched the pastor. She was actually afraid of me and would never meet with Patty and I, finally leaving the group. Homesite just wanted to dine on the pure Word of God and to my knowledge, I never allowed for politics in the pulpit.

Boy, did I exercise my free speech in the streets.

The Church has one main ministry, the Ministry of Reconciliation.
That is all of our jobs, regardless of skill or confidence.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What is the Church?

Somewhere along the path, churchianity replaced being the Church.
An easy study of the scripture reveals two basic concepts:
Concept #1) the Saints are anyone who names the name of Jesus and trusts in Him. Period.
Read Paul's letters and it becomes quite evident that there is no basis whatsoever for the saintology that has risen out of iconograpically based belief systems.
The Gospel message is pretty simple.
Easily understood by 4 year olds and yet deep enough to baffle the most astute thinkers of history.
Jesus Himself offered the answer in John 6:28-29
Then they said to Him,
"What shall we do, that we may work the works of God ?"

Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Jesus could have told them anything, be baptized, keep the Law, wear blue on Thursdays and only eat spinach, but He didn't. Much of what we do today smacks of man made traditions, from the separation of sects or denominations to the way our supervisory boards work.
The Acts of the Holy Spirit, (Yes, that's what I call it), and Paul's works show that the early Church was set up according to spiritual gifts and even that rather loosely. The prominent group being the Elders, who shoveled out spiritual food and the Deacons taking care of the physical needs of the body. Simple, right?
Fast forward a few millennium and the State of Nevada controls the articles of incorporation. (Insert wherever you happen to live.)
They "let" you become a Church.
Where's all that talk about separation of Church and State?
Why doesn't the ACLU defend our right to free and open association without State interference? Who told the State that they could levy taxes against the tithe of individuals toward their God?
I'm just askin'.
If Christians have to stay out of gov'mint bizness,
then the gov'mint should keep their noses out of Church bizness.
I'm just sayin'.

Concept #2) The Church is a group of 'called out ones'. Not a building on the corner. Most folk get that, but listen to your own language and the use of the word church over the next month. It rarely means the people, even when you know the difference. We have started I Cor at the Saturday Study and the first thing Paul tackles is the division in the church over who they are following. Martin Luther did not establish the Lutherans. All he wanted was a correct understanding of the scripture. John Wesley would be appalled that a group has co opted his name for their denomination. To paraphrase Paul; Did Wesley die for your sins? Was Luther hung on a tree and shed his blood for you? BY NO MEANS!

Decide in your heart that you will start being the Church and stop going to church.
No, I don't mean to stop going to the Sunday gathering, just a change of reference point.

Karen's Koinonia Connection has started to attract some with similar stories as hers and it has become a point of contact and great encouragement. the kind we should get from a body of believers. Problem is, it aint happenin' on Sunday, it's happenin' on the Blog-O-Sphere.

Next we'll look at the Church model. (continued)