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

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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