Bullshitting My Way Through A Last Minute Testimony On Past Sexual Sins

Several years ago I gave a testimony to my church about my past sexual sins.  I just graduated from the School of Supernatural Ministries that I enrolled into earlier that year and had to give a short sermon to the church on a Sunday as part of the graduation ceremony.  Although I had a month to prepare, I ended up procrastinating.  I stayed up all night the night before the scheduled sermon trying to think up something to preach on, but instead of finding a story or verse in the Bible I somehow decided it would be a good idea to publicly talk about my sex life before I became an on-fire disciple of Christ.

So let me now tell you about my sex life before I gave my life to the Charismania side of Christianity…  I honestly really didn’t have much of a sex life.  My cognitive dissonance concerning sex left me with little experience and a lot of guilt about what little I had.   I remember being on stage speaking while thinking in the back of my head that I may be exaggerating my past sexual sins and making it out to be a bigger problem than it really was.  As I was speaking I began feeling like I was digging myself into a hole that I’d later regret when people start talking to me after I shared my testimony.  But I continued to preach about how God forgave me for my sins and how I was healed from my sexual past.  I got a standing ovation.

After my testimony I was surrounded by people in the congregation asking me for prayer over their sexual addictions.  I laid hands and prayed that the Lord would do for them what He had done for me.  Some even prayed for me that God would break any unhealthy lingering spiritual connection I had with any of the girls I had sex with in the past.  One woman came up to me and told me about how she use to work in the porn industry and has since repented and started her own ministry for people with sex addiction.  She wanted to get in touch with me so I can share my testimony with her ministry.  I got her cell number but never called cause I didn’t want to bring myself into a bigger mess with my already exaggerated testimony.

The worst thing that came out of this was when a friend of mine was inspired by my testimony and confided to me that she had a secret lesbian relationship with another girl in the congregation a year earlier and she still had feelings for her.  She was tortured by regret and her romantic feelings for this woman and wanted prayer that God would take away her “homosexual lust” for this woman.  At the time I was still on the fence about homosexuality. I had a lot of gay friends and knew it wasn’t just lust and didn’t yet have a fully developed opinion on whether homosexuality is a sin or not.  So I just prayed asking God to heal her from regret and to help her get over the relationship.  She put a lot of trust in a person who bullshitted his testimony.  I felt bad for not being completely honest.

There’s a lot of guilt over sex within the Christian culture.  Christians are afraid of sex.  There’s so much cognitive dissonance that it causes when you’re feeling a natural human desire but have grown up believing in the sinfulness of this nature and genuinely want to live a good Christian lifestyle.  There are a lot of tortured Christians in the world lying to themselves and living a life of regret.  The forgiving grace of God isn’t enough when they’re confronted with real natural sexual desire.  Repressing sexual feelings and romantic emotions isn’t gonna stop it from emerging again.  And when you lie to yourself you are also lying to others.

After my on-fire life for Jesus started fading my sexual desires emerged again.   I’d pray for God to help me through it but it never went away.  My lesbian friend still continues to struggle with her homosexual nature.  I later told her that I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin and a couple years later I lost my faith in Christianity. We lost contact when she went on to do missionary work believing God has called her to live a single life married to Jesus.  I wish she would accept herself and live in freedom without guilt and shame as a sexual being not trying to live above human nature.

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Bethel Church Cancer Healing Testimony

A friend of mine posted this video on Facebook.  The man seems genuine and I’ve heard these type of stories before at my old church.  But like every other story that I’ve heard there’s yet to be X-ray proof.

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?

The Donald Trumpet Prophecy

Prophecy: Donald Trump Shall Become the Trumpet

One of my old church mates posted the above article from Charisma Magazine on Facebook.  It has every cliché you would typically hear in a prophecy: all the “shalls,” “raise-ups,” and biblical analogies and metaphors.  But the one that caught my attention is the Trump/trumpet wordplay.  I remember wordplay being very common when hearing someone give prophetic words to another person.  For example, a person with the last name Nation, would be told they will be sent out to the nations— I’ve actually heard that one before.  The names of biblical characters usually have a meaning that coincide with their God-given destiny, so Prophetic Christians tend to try to find meaning in the names of those they are prophesying over.

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I’m not claiming that this is how he came up with the prophecy, but by my own experience I can imagine Jeremiah Johnson, who wrote this article, deep in prayer about the state of the nation.  None of the godly Republican candidates seem to be very strong and the one ahead in the Conservative polls is the loudmouth guy that even the Republicans find embarrassing.  So he’s sitting in his prayer closet asking the Lord for some kind of revelation because God-forbid a liberal is elected into office again. He starts praying for Donald Trump and saying his name over and over until he thinks up the word “trumpet” and is then reminded of all the stories in the bible about trumpets being blown during feasts, celebrations and war so he goes with this and then remembers the story of Cyrus.  And through the power of Christian Right desperation this is the prophetic revelation about Donald Trumpet, the unlikely god-ordained Republican candidate with a father’s compassionate and tender heart that will call out government corruption and perversion and help the poor and needy.

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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What I Personally Believed When I Was A Christian

I never really got into explaining my beliefs and influences that helped shape my personal theology when I was a believer.  I won’t go into much history in this post, since I’ve already done that in my last few posts.  I just want to talk about what I believed and who influenced my beliefs.

Spiritual Beliefs:
 My hyper spiritual belief’s weren’t always there. Like I said in a couple of my earlier posts, I was starting to flirt with agnosticism before my conversion into the Charismatic side of Christianity.  I grew up in a non-denominational house church that got hit with the Toronto Blessing in the mid-90s when I was in elementary school.  Even as a child I was a little skeptical of all the charismania going on in my church at the time.  But I trusted the people around me to think that it may be real Godly experiences they were having.  Even though I didn’t have my own experiences as a child, I still looked to the Toronto Blessing as a big influence on what I believed God can do to a person.
The renewal meetings that got me involved in the Charismatic culture I talked about in my post God Encounter; or Not influenced me in what it may be like to encounter God.  I started reading books like Bill Johnson’s Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind, Graham Cooke’s When Heaven Opens: Discovering the Power of Divine Encounters, John Crowder’s Miracle Workers, Reformers and the New Mystics and lots of others in that vein.
Supernatural stories I heard about Heidi Baker, David Hogan, Todd Bentley, Randy Clark’s Global Awakening, the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and some of the Kansas IHOP stories were an influence. As well as miracle stories I heard from missionaries I knew personally.
The Supernatural School of Ministry also influenced my spiritual beliefs in that God was a miraculous God and we, the Church, are Christ’s body so we can do the miracles, signs and wonders of Christ, plus more (John 14:12).
The Gospel of John, the Book of Acts as well as other mystical passages and stories in the Bible were huge influences on my belief in what it was to be a spiritual follower of Christ.  I use to read John and Acts constantly for encouragement.

Social Beliefs:
Coming out of a liberal punk scene before my conversion into the Charismatic culture I had a hard time finding anything I could relate to or believe in the more Conservative and Fundamentalist cultures of Christianity. So I found my inspiration in the social gospel.  I saw the social gospel as more on the lines of what Jesus was all about.
I loved the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. The stories of Jesus driving out the money changers in the temple, calling out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, feeding the multitude and his love and care for the “least of these” made me want to be more like Him.
I was inspired by books like Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution (even wanted to spend time at his Simple Way community in Philadelphia) and Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You.  I read and listened to Tony Campolo.
Other inspirations were the Catholic Worker Movement activists like Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin and Ammon Hennacy, the Catonsville Nine, Christian Civil Rights and Labor activists. I also loved knowing that Bill McKibben, the environmentalist author and founder of 350.org was a Christian.
The early Jesus People movement in the 1960’s and early 70’s was also a source of inspiration.
During the Occupy Wall Street days I often imagined God had a place for me in that movement.

Other beliefs:
– I always believed in evolution.  I thought evolution was God’s way of creating all the living things on earth. So even as a Christian there was no doubt in my mind that evolution was a reality.  I just thought it was a mystery on when exactly God breathed his Spirit into the animal called Man.
– I was on the fence about Hell.  I had a hard time believing that Hell was a reality with a loving God in control of the universe.  I wasn’t sure what to believe about it.
– Homosexuality was another hard thing for me to put my head around.  I had a lot of gay friends and had trouble figuring out why it would be a sin.  I wasn’t sure what to believe about the nature of homosexuality with a Christian worldview.  I tried to stay away from the topic. But would always end up siding with the homosexual community.
– The Rapture was a joke.  I knew enough about the history of Christianity to know it was only a recent belief within Christendom.  I believed the Church was the Second Coming of Christ, because we were the Body of Christ. And we were here to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth.

How I thought Christianity should be:
With my beliefs coming together I thought Christians were to live a radical life similar to that found within the Social Gospel movements while performing miracles, signs and wonders, because we are the Body of Christ.  All of this together would bring the Kingdom of God to Earth.

And that was the fantastical Christian utopia I believed in.