Thursday, December 14, 2006
Punk Pastor and so much more
(And I think I will turn the comments off for this one.)

Do you remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker? Their story was all over the news. Sketches on Saturday NIght Live mocked them and every paper and magazine known to man, plastered them on their front pages.

When I was about nineteen years old, I began working in a Christian Bookstore. On slow days, I would find a book and stand at the counter and read. That's when I decided to read Jim Bakker's Book, I WAS WRONG. It's a long book but an interesting read. For some reason I was fascinated by the story of this fallen preacher. This morning I watched a few clips of their old Christian cable TV show, PTL (Praise The Lord). Based on the place I am at now, the shows are pretty hysterical. It's not the clothes or the crazy hair, it's the message.

I actually grew up in an Assemblies of God Church and NEVER got the "Holy Ghost", meaning I never spoke in tongues, I was never slain in the spirit, I never fell out when someone was praying for me. It just didn't happen. As a child I would sit back and watch all of the above happen and it confused me in a big way. As a teenager, family members (not my Mom, Step-Dad or Dad) questioned me. I was even told that if I did not have the Holy Ghost, then I wasn't truly saved. That is not an Assemblies of God belief,however I will never forget a college application I filled out for an Assemblies of God School. One of the questions on the application asked if I spoke in tongues and if not, was I seeking after that gift in my prayer time. My answer was NO. I was not seeking the gift of tongues. At the same time I was visiting an AG church with a friend of mine and one night I asked a pastor to pray for me during the "Alter Call". As he prayed for me, he pushed me. He literally tried to push me down as he was praying for me. Instantly I knew what he was doing and this stubborn gal was not budging. He quickly ended his prayer with me and then asked if I had the "HOLY GHOST". I could tell he was frustrated. My answer frustrated him even more. But I was prepared. After all, this question had been asked by family members, church members and even a few of my friends. "The Bible says in Romans 9 that if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. So, yes I believe I have the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost because when I was saved, I got the total package! I hear God speaking to me, I see evidence of Him working in my life and I know I will go to Heaven." And then he began to tell me how I was lacking power in my life because I did not have the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST.

This is where I pause to take a HEAVY SIGH.

A few months ago, I decided to take a chance and share something with a family member that I am not real close to but I know we both care about one another a lot. This person brought up the tongue speaking thing. But how she worded it really frustrated me. "Maybe you need to pray that you will receive the Holy Spirit." She didn't say HOLY GHOST, she said HOLY SPIRIT. So in my mind I am thinking, "Does she really think I don't have the Holy Spirit??? SAY WHAT?" I knew she would not budge and I knew I was not about to either so I quoted the verse in Romans 10, explained my relationship with the Lord but then soon realized that she too felt I was missing "POWER".

It gets better folks.

I met my husband at a full blown Pentecostal church, however they wear makeup, jeans, etc. He was actually saved through this church and so was my Mother and MANY family members. I had just finished reading this and heard that the author had spoken at this church many times and it was also the church my mom grew up in. So, I decided to visit. Of course the visit paid off. I met my husband there! My first visit to the church was difficult. I was broken during that time, really seeking God in a new way. I was open. I thought I would test out some things I had been studying and praying about. My first time down to the alter to pray I was asked whether or not I had the HOLY GHOST! (This is a long story so I will save it for another blog) For a while it was good but a lot of things happened there that made me even more confused than I already was. After getting married, my husband and I BOTH were uncomfortable with the lack of order in the church during worship. It got CRAZY and it was not always a God thing or even a GOOD thing. It was total CHAOS and the Bible speaks clearly about the church having order. No order there.

Many times in my life I have heard my mother describe her children. The one thing I have heard her say about me was that I was non-compliant from the get go. "Mandi was the most obstinate child you have ever seen." I used to hate hearing her say that. She said my brother was a go with the flow, compliant child. I always felt that something was wrong with me when I heard that. I hate following a crowd, I hate being out of control, I hate being told what to do, BUT I can respect my authority as long as I am able to ask questions. Sometimes I just want to know WHY they have chosen to do something a particular way. This has gotten me in trouble in the past. I have been accused of not respecting leaders and questioning too many things. I am not dumb, I am not unaware, I know I have to keep this in check and I constantly have to pray about being submissive to my leaders. I felt controlled for many years by fear and even the fear of my own Dad. I think that has manifested itself these days by struggling with someone trying to manipulate me or control me. Even now I can feel the Lord wanting me to submit to some of those people that do that in my life. Control? Always an issue for me. Always. But I believe the Lord is going to deliver me from that. BUT, I have to be willing. It's not about me, it's not about me! A daily reminder!

All of that brings me to this GUY! I listened to his interview this morning on GMA and wanted to give him a standing ovation in my own living room. He's a guy thinking for himself, repainting his Christian Faith. His church even meets in a bar AND he smokes. He is covered in tattoos, his wife is too. It's not the fact that he meets in a bar, that's been done before. It's not that he has tattoos, Christ followers have tattoos (Right Kelly Ann?), and it's not that he smokes. None of the above is shocking to me . Instead, it's his heart. It's his past. It's the fact that he is Jay Bakker, Jim and Tammy's son and he has come out on the other side of a whole lot of crap. You can say or believe what you want but these are the kind of people that will make a difference in the WORLD. Jay's voice will be heard above the others. He may not have a mega church, he may not have a church building, he may not even have church on Sunday's or Saturday's but he's doing things differently. He's not copying other churches. He's not trying to impress "UNCHURCHED" people by using secular music, showing video clips or trying to impress you with multi media that will blow your socks off. Even though all of that works and people are getting saved by it, there are some of us that feel comfortable in saying that we no longer want that type of church. Unfortunately, most churches out there are trying to do that. Or you have the church that is doing the total opposite and they all feel that they are doing things differently too. The truth is everybody is following somebody. Even though I am not in a "CHURCH" doesn't mean I am not following anyone. I am. I listen to Rob Bell online and enjoy his messages. I am a follower.

I agree with one of my blogging friends and a comment she put on my last post. "There is no perfect church." So true! Even if I were to start one in my home with my husband, it would not be perfect. Never! I realize that. But I like people like Jay Bakker and my friends Alf and Kelly who have a wakeboard church out at a popular lake in the metroplex. While they take prayer requests, some guys are guzzling down beers. Or there's another friend of mine who is going to be a part of a ministry where women go into Strip Clubs and minister to topless dancers and cocktail waitresses. These people don't want to just hear themselves talk, they want to share Jesus!

Holiness starts from the inside. We don't teach the stripper to quit her strip job, THEN become a believer. We don't teach the wakeboarder to put his beer down BEFORE he prays. Pray with the beer in your hand, take a drink if you want, take a guzzle! We don't tell homosexuals to dump their partner, THEN come to church. The message of Jesus is not being conveyed properly. We have to show people that they can come to JESUS, JUST AS THEY ARE!


Now for some housework regarding this blog.

In most of the comments, I see that some of the stuff I write has been misunderstood a little or I have not communicated very well. We aren't taking a break from church and I don't even think this is a sabbatical, although that definition does describe our season. We don't hate church, we don't hate people that are different from us. Some feel the need to defend the fact that the don't do Santa or they don't celebrate Halloween or whatever else I have mentioned in previous posts. I am not against you. I do not feel you are doing something bad or wrong. I have read over my previous posts to try to see where I might have caused some to think that my message is judgmental. I don't believe it is. My best friend does not do Santa. She knows I don't agree and we are okay. I don't disagree with her for her choice but I disagree with her on her reasoning. I have another friend that is a church planter with her husband. I don't agree with ALL of the methods of church planting but I believe they are doing an amazing thing and I absolutely love talking with her about it. We both know that we won't see eye to eye on everything. But I know she knows my heart and I know her heart as well. I will often refer to things ad being fundamental beliefs, I won't stop referring to it that way either. I see that my generation often has a difficult time thinking for themselves. We think we are being different, we think we are being trendsetters but we're not. We jump from bandwagon to bandwagon and if you don't do Santa or you do Santa, if you homeschool or you don't (still don't know what I am doing), it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the Holy Spirit reveals to you. The problem is when one group of Christians will speak for all of us and ridicule the other for not doing what they do. I write about these things because it has happen to me.

In the new book I am reading Blue Like Jazz, the author Donald Miller says something that really makes me think. "I felt so far from my upbringing, from my narrow former self, the me who was taught that Republicans give a crap about the cause of Christ. I felt a long way from the pre-me , the pawn Christian who was a Republican because my family was a Republican, not because I had prayed and asked God to enlighten me about the issues concerning the entire world rather than just America."

And for me, that's what it boils down to. I don't meet very many people that really pray about what they believe or what they stand for. Instead, the JUMP on and never let go and ridicule those that want to think a little more or study a little more or pray a little more before jumping on the bandwagon.

I love this place I am at with the Lord. I love it. So far, this has been my most favorite part of my journey. I love digging and asking the Holy Spirit for Revelation. I love how He has me uncomfortable right now and I love the fact that I know He has something new, something fresh, something so different from everyone else. He is going to use me, use my husband, use my family. That is exciting! Honestly, I do not know if we will ever "go back" to church as we have known it. Maybe. Some days like last week, I thought maybe I wanted to but that feeling never lasts. In a few weeks I will have a new baby boy and I won't have meals brought to me for two weeks because I am not in church. I don't have any group of women planning to help me clean or planning to help take care of the kids or planning who will bring food on a particular night. That I will miss, but I don't miss anything else about it. And that is a result of pain experienced through church relationships and so much more but that is not the reason for this season I am in now. I am where I am because this is where God wants me. Sitting out? No. Sabbatical? Not really. I am doing what I have always done, I am just learning to be comfortable with how different it is and how it does not meet the expectations of other's. But since I am such a non-compliant gal, you know I am okay with that. :)

My husband is not a Punk Pastor and neither am I. I don't think we will be starting a church in a bar or anything like that. I can't see myself going to strip clubs to minister and I even though I love to wakeboard, I don't feel that's my place. But I do think we are on to something and I don't see God forgetting about us or letting us sit for very much longer. So we wait. ANXIOUSLY.

  posted at 10:47 AM


Location: Austin, Texas

Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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