The Wild Goose Chase August 6, 2017

Welcome to “The Wild Goose Chase!” The Celtic Christians called the Holy Spirit “The Wild Goose” because it was untamed and smarter than any other bird.

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

 Long ago I was a very angry and frustrated young man. If you wanted an argument, I was your guy. I seldom went along with anything easily or without a fight. I’m still not sure why I was that way. I was raised in a Christian home that was actually quite peaceful, safe and happy. I had no reason to not respect or trust my parents and I seldom gave them any guff about anything. But, somewhere, long about age 14 or so, I began to fight with anyone who presented an idea that I disagreed with; and I disagreed with almost everyone … just because.

The long term results of this attitude made my young adult life one of godlessness and conflict. I was happy, so long as I got my own way, and very difficult if things were not as I wanted them … that is until I met “Charlie.”

Charlie, Charlene was her actual name, was a member of the Youth Group at my folks’ Baptist Church. I would go to youth every once in a while when Mom’s pestering me to go got unbearable. When I went, I could count on Mom leaving me alone about it for a couple of weeks. At any rate, I met Charlie at the Trinity Southern Baptist Church in Concord, CA. I kind of liked Charlie, and so I went more often for a time.

I still remember one of the worst decisions I ever made in my life. We were having a revival with an Evangelist there for several nights in a row; and I had been talked into going. The messages always ended with an altar call. At one of them, Charlie came to where I was standing and asked me to go down front with her and pray and accept Jesus. I turned her down and shortly thereafter, turned my back on church and God. It was to be 25 years before I came back into relationship with God.

I know that God never left me, but I sure did turn my back and try to get far, far away from God. It all came down to me being afraid of what my “friends” who did not got to church would think of me for becoming a “churchy” kind of guy. And, because of some “holier than thou” attitudes I got from some people because of my cowboy boots and long hair, because I did not fit their mold. (Remember this was in the late 1960s.)

Sometimes we make horrible choices because we think we have it “all knowed up,” as my friend Niki R. would say.

I’ve seen so many people get run off or excluded from churches because they did not fit the mold, weren’t normal, in regards to the culture, the way of life, the folks around them. That’s sad; because it is NOT what Jesus intended.

First of all, Jesus spent lots of time with the outcasts and misfits of his time. Second, we are told over and over in many ways that we are not the ones who have all the answers or who are better than someone else. We are told that Jesus is the gift to the church, not some one person … and so, maybe it would be easier to bring people into relationship with Christ and grow those relationships if we simply included people without so many qualifications to get through the door. Maybe there would be less fear of the church and more willingness to say yes to the “Charlie’s” who invite us to the altar to accept Jesus Christ!

John 1:12-13 New Revised Standard Version: “12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”

Please remember, God loves you and so do I, and all you can do about it is love back.

Still In One Peace,

Stephen

  November 2017  
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