An Old Church Friend Visited Me

I haven’t written anything on this blog in almost two years.  I kind of lost interest in talking about my experience in the Charismatic culture and losing my faith in God.  It’s been around 7 years since I started losing my faith in God and a little over 5 years since I distanced myself from my Charismatic Christian upbringing that the distance has separated that part of my history so much that it almost has no part of the life I’m living now.  Other than the occasional conversations I overhear at work from coworkers after the weekend about the church services they’ve attended on a Sunday and posts about how great God is from old Christian friends and family on Facebook,  I just don’t get much Christianity in my life these days.  It’s been pretty nice.

Last month an old church friend of mine came to Colorado for a visit.  I took a day off of work to hang out with him.  He is a good guy, but the epitome of Charismatic culture.  He’s very into the bug-eyed Bethel supernatural prophetic ministry.   We haven’t hung out in 5 years and I was excited to hang out with him.  Before I moved to Colorado, he was one of my few friends in California that I was still hanging out with as I was beginning to lose my faith.  I knew hanging out with him there’d be talk about God’s work in his life, but that didn’t bother me.  I figured I could just get the general idea about what was going on in his life and take it for what it is.

I’m not going to go through every detail of our time together, but I felt a distance in our worldview.  I haven’t talked with someone so involved in the hyper spiritual side of Christianity in so long that it was almost jarring.  I asked him what’s been going on in his life and he went off on what “God was showing” him and how God was really pulling him “closer to his call.”    He told me about some miracles he saw at a service he recently went to and how the people in attendance were “rocked by the Holy Spirit.”  I could tell he was trying to minister to me with these stories by helping me remember all the miracles I experienced in the past.  But it wasn’t working.  I just listened to him.

He asked me how things were going in my life.  I told him about my new life in Colorado.   My relationship, my friends, job and the new interests in snowboarding and hiking I’ve picked up out here. I let him know how genuinely happy I was.  I could tell he didn’t know what to make of it cause I seemed happier and  more content now than I was when I was living the Christian thing.  He told me it was great to see me happy, but then he went on  about some old prophetic words that were spoken over my life in the past and how it may play out with my new interests and life.  It was really odd.   It’s been so long since I heard Christianese phrasing and prophetic culture lingo that I felt so beyond everything he was talking about.  I moved away from it and he was still stuck in Charismania.

I dropped him off at a house church in the Denver area after hanging out for the day.  I gave him a hug and told him I loved him.  As I was driving home I thought about how nice it felt that I freed myself from Christianity so much.  All of the cognitive dissonance and the hang ups about morality and immorality, trying to walk in my destiny and  wondering if I’m hearing from God and what He may be telling me no longer concerns me.  I can just be.

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The Secular Barbershop Podcast: Absence of Christ Interview

Last week I was interviewed by The Secular Barbershop ; a podcast “Run by an Secularist of Color; For Secularists of all Colors.” Below is a link to listen to us talk about speaking in tongues and other weirdnesses of the Charismatic culture within Christianity:

The Secular Barbershop Podcast: Absence of Christ Interview

While you’re at it follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook:

The Secular Barbershop Facebook
The Secular Barbershop Twitter

The First Couple Journal Entries from my Charismatic Phase

I’ve been pretty busy the last several months so I haven’t been keeping up with my blog like I should.  I have a few draft posts that I’m still working on about topics such as The Satanic Temple and Atheistic-Satanism, Elijah List prophecies, thoughts on death after losing my faith and stories  from Christians about the dead miraculously raising after prayer.

Just to keep my blog active during this time I thought I’d post a couple old journal entries I wrote at the beginning of my Charismatic phase during the renewal meetings I talk about in my past blog entires.

In this first journal entry about the renewal meetings it really shows I started off skeptical about the miracles and God Encounters but wanted to believe it all true.

July 3, 2007: 7:30pm
How can I explain the last several days?  When I got back into town after the tour, the church asked if I could work for them at the nightly meetings they’ve been holding since two Fridays ago.  The best I can describe are my feelings of confusion and frustration.   Confusion, because there’s a lot going on in the church: miracles, healings and stuff I can’t grasp my mind around to try to understand.  Frustration, because a lot of the times it seems others can focus on these happenings and except them as real.  I am walking a line. Is this real or not?

This next entry about some of the miracles I thought I experienced I’ve already taken apart in some of my past blog entries.  The part I want to point out in this entry is the glowing picture taken of the pastor while he was preaching about Moses’ radiant face.   This was taken at a time when camera phones weren’t as common as they are now and pictures taken on camera phones didn’t look as clear and detailed as they do now.   Looking back on this picture now it was just a bad glow from the stage lights reflecting off his body.  The angelic flashes I saw when I closed my eyes were the flashes of camera light.

July 4th, 2007: 4:00am
Ok, things at the church are getting extremely weird.  The other night feathers were falling from thin-air, and I mean they were literally falling out of thin-air and  Gold dust appearing on people.  Someone took a picture on a camera phone, and I am a witness to this, of the pastor while he is on stage talking about Moses glowing after spending time with the Lord.  I’m not talking about a glow, he was actually a beaming light entity.  Nothing logical can explain that.  There is no way someone can doctor that picture within seconds of taking it.
People are seeing angels.  I’ve been seeing flashes of lights when I close my eyes.  I’m not sure if its camera flashes or not, but I’d like to think its a miracle for myself.  Words can’t express how I feel about this. It’s honestly unbelievable, even for myself.  I feel like I’m gonna wake up and it all never happened.  It’s frightening and exciting.  I’m still waiting for myself to feel God.  I hope it happens soon.  All I want is my own encounter with God.

Indeed I woke up and it all never happened.

Podcast: Everyone’s Agnostic Interview With Absence Of Christ

I was recently interviewed by a deconversion podcast out of Nashville called Everyone’s Agnostic.  Below is a link for the show.  This podcast has a lot of great interviews by others who have left the faith, so be sure to check those out too.

Podcast: Everyone’s Agnostic Interview With Absence of Christ

Absence of Christ Facebook Page

I just created a Facebook page for this blog.  I’ll be posting articles, sharing my blog posts as well as other things relating to the Charismatic and Pentecostal experience. Like if you will….

The Absence of Christ Facebook

My Ouija Board Experiences

I was always told that the Ouija Board is a dangerous tool for speaking with the dead and it was a gateway into the demonic realm.  I remember hearing stories from my cousin about how he played with an Ouija Board and started having visions during his sessions of his room on fire and furniture moving on its own. I heard stories in youth group about how people would throw their boards in a fire after having demonic experiences and the boards would start hissing and spitting out flames in an unnatural way. I’d listen to Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM show late at night on the radio and hear callers talk about their scary experiences with the Ouija Board.  Even some of my non-Christian friends had bad stories.  Hearing all these stories from different people it always seemed like the Ouija Board may actually have some power to it.

The first experience I personally had with an Ouija Board was really late at night at a friend’s house with a couple other friends a decade ago.  We were all in our early-20s.  My friend pulled out an Ouija Board, turned out the lights and put on a Robert Johnson record just for atmosphere.  My friend’s were skeptical and were only trying it out for fun.  I was a little more superstitious and decided to stand back and observe.  They put their fingers over the planchette and started asking questions.  The planchette seemed to move on its own as the spirit answered.  Within 10 mins of their conversation with the spirit a cat started screaming outside the bedroom window and it freaked all of us out.  They put the board back in its box and laughed.  My friends took it as a funny coincidence but I thought a spirit spooked the cat.  It was too much for me to blame on a coincidence.  During my Charismatic Christian phase I would use this story as personal proof that there is a realm outside the experience of our own senses.

When I started questioning my Christian faith, I began looking into what Christians believed to be the darker sides of spirituality.  I wanted to know if there were any other spiritual reality outside of the Christian belief in demons and angels.  Inside and outside of Christianity it always seemed people had more experiences with evil spirits and ghosts than they did with angels and God.  I suppose it’s because fear is a strong emotion that can make people exaggerate what they see and believe anything. I went through a short period looking more into occult practices and spirituality to see if I could learn something about the spiritual realm outside of Christianity.

It didn’t take long to see through the occult and New Age.  I’ve experimented with the Ouija Board  and most of the time it would answer with random letters and numbers.  It wasn’t enough to convince me that there was actually a ghost or demon moving the planchette.  By this time I was looking into a more psychological answer to my wonder about these Oujia Board experiences and found the ideomotor phenomenon.  Like my spiritual Christian experience I found that there was a more natural answer to my questions than supernatural.

My last attempt at looking for a supernatural explanation of the Ouija Board I went to a seance in a supposedly haunted bar a few blocks from my house. Even with a medium on site asking the questions the answers were always still random letters leaving us to guess what the spirit may be saying.  It wasn’t until she supposedly went into a trance and started conjuring up the spirits through her body and changing her voice that we started getting answers from whatever spirit was there.  And I still wasn’t convinced.  I couldn’t help but feel that everyone around me was being tricked into thinking something supernatural was really happening just like what I experienced in church.  I gave the medium a $20 tip for the entertainment anyway.

Interesting article explaining the psychology behind Ouija Boards:
Science Explains Ouija Boards, Retroactively Ruins 1,000 Sleepovers

What Happens When You Blindfold Ouija Believers?

Losing The Prophetic Call On Your Life After Deconversion

If you grew up in a Charismatic or Pentecostal church you may have had prophetic words spoken over your life.  These prophecies would usually be given to you by your church family or by a speaker at the church.  Nothing was more exciting than being called out in front of the congregation by a prophetic guest speaker and being told of the big plans God has for your life. Prophetic words usually encouraged you in your walk with God and gave you direction, because it lets you know God has a special plan in your life. I had lots of prophetic words spoken over my life.

Being a pastor’s son I always had people prophesying over me.  A lot of the words were basic and vague like “you will have a ministry,”  “you will be a missionary” or if they knew my dad was a pastor they’d give me a word about how I had the anointing of my father and I’d take up his mantle.  But there were some words spoken over my life that were very particular and seemed to be just for me.  The prophetic words that were more specific, had a common theme with other words given to me or resonated with my inner longings were the ones I paid most attention to.

Back in the mid-90s, a few years before launching The Call, Lou Engle laid hands on me and prayed.  I remember him saying in his gravelly voice something along the lines of “You are going to grow up to be a man of God” plus a couple other things about my future – probably something about Joel’s Army – I wish I could remember.  I was in junior high and this was my earliest memory of being prophesied over.  It was simple, but enough for me to think he said something important about my life.  Lou Engle speaks with authority and passion so whatever he says about what he see’s in your life you feel it may be coming from God; or at least that’s how I felt when I was 14 years old.  Passion and authority play a huge role in the power of giving and receiving prophetic words.

During my God Encounter phase I was getting prophesied over more than I think it’s even healthy for a Charismatic.  I have a lot of these prophetic words saved on cassette and CDR. The words that always seemed to be a common theme in my prophesies were that I’d be used in politics, write books and speak in universities using my intellect while performing miracles, signs and wonders.  That sounded exciting to me.  I wanted that to be my future and I started living as though that would be my future.  I was encouraged that these prophetic words were given to me by well known Charismatic leaders I don’t care to name drop right now.

For a few years I prayed, fasted and meditated on God’s word trying to live in the destiny I was called into.  I gave up friendships, job opportunities, interests and hobbies that I thought may be hindering my life away from my living fully in my destiny.  I remember feeling at times that my calling in life was on track.  Other times it was a struggle to see what God was doing in my life because things weren’t going as divinely as I imagined.  I still pressed on believing that God had this great plan in my life.  I felt secure in the fact that my life had meaning and I would live an extraordinary life.

Deconverting after believing in the things prophecied over my life wasn’t easy.  It was depressing.  I sometimes had panic attacks cause the reality would set in about the fact that I wasted a few years of my young adult life pursuing a destiny that was not promised.  Added to that anxiety was my coming into grips that there may not even be a god. I regretted the years spent in pursuit of my calling.  I wished I hadn’t dropped my old friendships, still played music and toured with my band.  I wished I would have stayed in college and pursued an actual degree, instead of using up my time at the School of Supernatural Ministries.  I felt like a fool and I was embarrassed of even looking back on the things I was beginning to not believe in.  I felt wasted.

Since then I have come to accept this part of my life story.  I still regret the things I have missed out on and the friendships I lost, but it no longer over takes me with guilt.  I have found new meaning in life; not from a god, not from a prophet, but in myself.

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