Life Changing Experiences (part IV)

When there are more years behind than ahead.

Beginnings of Middle-age.

1) Faith regained! Family tragedy can have its positive points. My sister in law had terminal Leukaemia, and the impending heartbreak gave the opportunity for the gospel to enter.

My mother in law spoke to Gloria, her daughter, my wife, about the need for faith in Jesus. Gloria had grown up in a Lutheran family and had the nominal Christian identity that had once been quite common. Her mum’s words hit her hard, and through ongoing conversations the dying embers of my own faith were fanned and reignited.

2) Rebuilding begins with false starts and wrong directions. My first response was to turn the clock back, looking to my former days for guidance and a direction to take. That meant a revisiting of Kenneth Copeland ministries, subscribing to their magazine, searching out the TV show and ordering a set of CD sermons.
But those old reservations also resurfaced and I wasn’t happy with the kind of things I was reading and hearing. I’d had a fifteen year break and it had done me good, seemingly helping to scour my life of some of the doctrinal rubbish I’d accumulated in my younger days.

So where to next?

I started to contact churches in my local area, and arranged meetings with their pastors. I wanted to join a fellowship again, but wanted to make sure it was the right one for us. But every attempt seemed to hit a dead end,

The closest came with an Assemblies of God church. The pastor and his family lived just around the corner and the possibility of a developing friendship made that particular church seem appealing. We attended several midweek fellowship meetings, but soon found it had a particular obsession: church growth, increasing the numbers almost at any cost. Definitely at the cost of relationships; all contact with members of the church was focused on meetings. Going to meetings and inviting others to go to meetings…

3) The steep learning curve. Change came when I discovered internet forums, in particular one called Revival School. I joined it only a few days after it was set up and stayed around until it was finally closed. I then became involved with a few spin-off forums from former RS members.

Through Revival School I was made aware of how insular my understanding of “Christianity” was. I had basically thought that most churches believed the same things, with only minor variations, but RS had members from all kinds of backgrounds, from churches devoted to all kinds of different doctrinal viewpoints. I soon learned how little I knew, how little I understood, and how confused and contrary the church as a whole could be.

Where did I fit into it.


3 thoughts on “Life Changing Experiences (part IV)

  1. Gloria had grown up in a Lutheran family; was her mom still Lutheran when she spoke to her daughter, when the conversation about having faith in Jesus started? Or was she (your mother-in-law) not going to church any more? It’s my experience that many Lutherans have real faith. I went to Lutheran schools for high school and a couple years before high school. Therein were to be found very good people of faith and decent people.

  2. Her mum comes from a long line of Lutherans. Her ancestors fled from Germany to Australia in the early 1800s to escape religious persecution. She was brought up as a “Lutheran”, although the remoteness of home/workplace would have prevented regular church attendance.

    Gloria’s childhood was also spent on an isolated property many miles from the nearest town – but her family moved into town when she was around 9 or 10. There was no Lutheran Church in the town, but a travelling pastor visited each month or so. Those visits eventually stopped and the family went to services held by other denominations. Gloria moved to Sydney and after a short period her church attendance stopped.

    Since I’ve known her, Gloria’s parents attended a small “Uniting Church in Australia” congregation ( ). Her mum still attends regularly, and while she still retains an emotional link to her Lutheran heritage, she primarily identifies as Christian.

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