I find it funny that bible is full of colorful depiction about numbers, like 40 days and nights anf 7 days a week. It also seems that number 6 is one of unfinished business, the number of man in revelations…incomplete I guess. Well I just served two 6 year sentences that are finding some finalization in this second chance…call it rolling the dice.
I did a 6 year stint (93-99) in a church growing from a ‘new-born’ Christian full of zeal, judgement, rules and did everything to the letter of the law. It turned my life right around living with people, and attending church with people, that wanted something better in life. I was from a poor neighborhood with poor ideals to boot…if I hadn’t of went to church at that time I probably would of wasted away or ended up in ‘real’ jail.
The first 3 years (93-95) were great and I think I broke a record for the amount of times I attended church in one year (something like 280 times). I was living with a Pastor and my brother in those first 3 years and they were awesome. I had some great spiritual experiences and did most of my learning and reading in that time; must of read the bible like 3 times front to back. I was travelling all over Saskatchewan and meeting cool people from all over the place. They were the same as me and I guess it was very communal (in that sense). I guess you could say my introduction to Christ helped me to get a grade 12 and to get some ambition. I startd attending Bible school, that’s what I wanted to do, be like the ‘great’ spiritual leaders I seen on the stages. It was weird but looking back the rules gave me some structure.
The next 3 years (96-99) I attended and graduated from Bible College (BTH) while living with my younger brother and some others in that time. I had matured and maintained the same values for some years but that all changed when I noticed that my friends and I were changing with the times, but others weren’t. My brother had been persecuted for having spiked hair, tattoos, and rings, he also played in a rock band (still Christian lyrics). My close friend was having struggles with church authority over his life and the fact he got his girlfriend pregnant (and life after that)…they were being pressured to marry but refused. These 2 people lived with me and were always in some trouble with the church…myself I was the ‘golden’ boy and had a promising career if I kept my head where it was. I couldn’t ignore the plight of 2 ‘trouble-makers’ who I had known and seen on a daily basis. I spoke up and that was literally the end of me also. I noticed we got judged in a lot of ways, most of them unjustified, but I think that’s what authority does when it gets self-righteous and you start having some knowledge. We all quit church at about the same time, I guess you just get sick of the whole mess when you have no means of resolution and nowhere to turn.
From 99-2005 (6 years) I traversed the earth a vagabond, in a new world to me where I had lost touch. I played in a band for a while but that fizzled. I started drinking and smoking the New Year’s Eve of 1999 I think…of all places I was in the hood…where I started. I hung around with this crowd, that crowd, and whatever crowd was doing something. I attended school anf got a BAdmin degree. I met my wife in this time around 2001 and can’t say I picked the wrong person. I was going nowhere fast but that was better than being stagnant. I drank with all of my friends, most of them had left church too, and I continued for 5 years straight (every weekend), went to every bar, and had my share of troubles because of it (well not so much me but the people with me, but I was there too ). I have my share of stories, you pick, about sex, drugs, booze, fights, partying all night, and whatever else comes with this scene. But I learned a lot. Not a year went by, or even a day, that I wasn’t learning something that in the previous 6 years I had denied myself. Was I doing the right thing? That’s for the eye of the beholder I think…but yeah you could say the church and I had lost sight of one another. But I knew this all would play well for what was next.
Now were here in present day 2006, ironically it was New Year’s Eve 2005 when I decided to cash my chips in again and play a new game. I came back to church but those 12 years have helped shape everything I do now. I have a very biblically based outlook on life but I haven’t lost that ‘human’ touch either. I started a group when I came back only because I couldn’t stand the same old church I was used too. I started an ‘Action’ group to help solve ‘real’ problems for people that suffer when no one does anything. I got back to the basics and read the bible without ‘doctrination’ in the forefront of my interpretation, I guess I found what I was seeking for and gave it to the 2 ‘trouble-makers’ who embraced it gladly. I found my calling in two ways: biblical teaching (first 6 years) and in the ‘human’ touch (last 6 years). Let’s call this the 7th year for both of them…now I am doing something biblical and giving it back to the people that really need it…’those who are sick need a physician’, ‘the son of man came to seek and save the lost’.
I just noticed from my reading Jesus was both the ‘son of God’ and the ‘son of man’, for some odd reason he never lost or denied either. Jesus was concerned with the human plight and our struggles with every thing under the sun. Jesus never denied his humaness nor his Godness, as evidenced by his teachings that deal with our humanity (how did he know it so well?) and even added the slant of God’s ‘eyes’ on the situation. In the end, we find a God that knows us so well and actually cares about that plight…mostly evidenced by his love for us on that cross. It’s something to say ‘you want to be like Jesus’ but to actually do it…well that’s one for the open of heart to see. You have to deal with humanity, help people, and be realistic. Do you have it in you!