Jehovah God and Jesus the Messiah center my being.
I am a metal head. I love Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. I dig it. Always have. Always will. It resounds in my being like no other music. I do listen to other stuff, it ain’t bad, it’s just not my style. Maybe, at some other time, I will itemize some of my favorite songs.
I have a wonderful wife and kids. I love my wife and she has graciously been with me twenty, count them, twenty years. Amazing when I consider me. I love my kids, and I love the fact they like Rock and Metal. My daughter plays guitar; my son “bangs on the drums all day”.
I love my parents, brother and his family, my in-laws, my extended family, and my friends. I respect them all. I know that they are well and patient with me; but more than anything, they are living their life and God has them in his care. Yet, I know that I periodically let them down, so for that, I offer my condolences and apologies.
I also love my religious heritage. I love the discipline and instruction received from my heritage. I respect it. I know that it has both positives and negatives, thus I am sorely torn. My heritage has let me down, and yet, I know that I have let it down.
I welcome you to my corner of the cosmos, the globe, the hemisphere, the land, the ever ubiquitous “omnipresent-but-never-really-seen” internet.
I have experienced and witnessed many things. I have either experienced and/or witnessed: the thrills of proverbial light bulb moments; the joys of learning and growing; the joys of birth, graduation, marriage. I have either experienced and/or witnessed the lows of life: illness, disease, divorce, death. I have both experienced and witnessed the heartache of challenging one’s religious upbringing. Yet, through it all, my God, my Messiah, my faith, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, and my music have helped me.
The last two years have been a tremendous turn of events. You see, up until two years ago, I served as a pulpit minister. About ten years ago, I went from working in the IT industry to Bible School and went from Bible School to Ministry. I grew up in my religious heritage. Loved it. Served it. Was trained by it. Questioned it.
It was the training I received in Bible School and then the studies during my ministry that took me places unexpected. Places that some in my church heritage disapproved. Yet, there sits in me a need, a calling if one will, to serve the Kingdom of God in Messiah. I know this.
God has helped me in many ways: in my heart, my soul, my mind and my whole being. Yet, I now reservedly enter into a Church and/or Messianic Synagogue, because my passion is learning from the fountain of spiritual truth, the Scriptures. In God and Messiah, nothing, and I mean nothing, means more to me than True Truth.
Here is the hardest lesson I have learned: the on-going search for True Truth is a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, grit-your-teeth, bloody-knuckles, get-yourself-kicked-in-the-teeth, blood-letting fight. It is guaranteed to be difficult, rough, and unreasonable. It is guaranteed to disappoint you, let down others, and sometimes even, perhaps especially, let down your religious heritage.
You see, the stakes are high. With religion, we are dealing with the inner being, the things most precious. It is not just Spiritual truths, but personal truths that are used to identify, define and live life. Thus in the search for True Truth, when truths are proven incomplete and wrested loose, the result is instability; and not one person wants to be destabilized.
However, the big pay-off, the golden ring, the best guarantee this side of ethereal eternity, God, the Freedom Giver, the one who built True Truth wants to set the seeker free. His True Truth, untouched by religion of man, gives assurance, confidence, liberation. But, there is one last guarantee, it’s no picnic getting to freedom.
I have heard and read information about the need for reaching the “unchurched”. Well, how about reaching the dechurched? Let me explain.
I respect Church heritage. I respect Church tradition. I respect the person, their person-hood, and their right to choose. But, heritage and tradition (those things which cultivate church culture) are not always essential, nor are they always compatible, to God’s True Truth. Once I learned that, I considered myself dechurched.
In using the term “dechurched”, I thought myself clever. However, there seems to be a movement that identifies itself with the idea of being dechurched. So, unfortunately, I have no idea if my idea of “dechurched” is anything similar, so all I can do is attempt to clarify.
The Church (its heritage and tradition – thus its culture) is most assuredly based on God’s True Truth, but these are not always essential for understanding or living God’s True Truth. Some see Church Culture and the Bible synonymous, in many instances co-equals, having the same amount of power. To live Church Culture is to live the Bible, thus to live the Bible is to live Church Culture.
That situation can be true, even when the church calls itself non-denominational; this is because a non-denominational church will still have its own church culture. Thus, church heritage and church tradition (the Church Culture) can sometimes be so powerful that the Church Culture appears to be True Truth. But, there is a difference between being True Truth and being based on True Truth.
Thus, I have great appreciation for those who have the inherent, earnest desire, the unquenchable thirst for God’s True Truth. This is why I identify the most with Originalism, to know the Scriptures’ original meaning and intent, which may or may not align with what the Church has practiced. This is a reason why I like Karaite Jews, they seem to emphasize the meaning of Scripture not traditional interpretation. However, since I am one who believes and follows the Jewish Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ), I recommend Christians see this information about Karaism. Ultimately, I want to be a Disciple of Yeshua who follows Scripture, all of Scripture.
Although I consider myself dechurched, I still attend services, worship, and practice my faith. But there is an unfortunate truth, all church cultures have some truth based on True Truth. I am not satisfied with some truth. My thirst is not quenched by a drop, a trickle, or even a massive 64oz sermon-size of truth.
I no longer find myself capable of articulating arguments for why my particular church culture is better than another church culture. I walk into a Church, or Messianic Synagogue for that matter, and evaluate their culture according to the Scriptures. I find strengths. I find weaknesses. It is these weaknesses that make me dechurched.
God, through my studies and experience, has lead me to have confidence that his word is True, and his word represents True Truth, even in the face of human failure and the failure of church culture. Human failure is the problem. Will always be the problem, and it is what gets in the way of finding True Truth.
Some quit. Some fade out. Some just grow fatigued because the path to victory is so difficult. The path to True Truth is froth with strife, ignorance, complacence, and the ever-present person with the need to be right and someone else be wrong (ie. my church culture is more righteous than yours).
My personal value is neither established nor sustained by the need to prove myself or disprove others. Some will listen. Some will not. Others will make their decision later. Yet, I must fulfill my role before the Creator, and the Messiah. I simply want to keep having greater awareness of the True Truth. Learn it. Live it. Share it. And, hopefully leave my small sphere of the cosmos a little better because the Creator gave me life.
So, welcome to my world. Decided. Determined. Disciplined.
Blessings and Shalom
As for my Messianic Bar Mitzvah, I am still studying; I have been learning to read Hebrew, and God willing it will happen this year.