Saturday, July 10, 2010

Aftermath 2: Cont'd

For those just joining this Blog, please start at the beginning by clickin on Part 1

Comment #1:
"This is pure Gossip"
Gossip? No, then you don't realize the purpose of the blog. This is the automatic response of church members. I am trying to address the double-standard, cruelty and modern day Phariseeism prevelant in some IFB churches. He won't see his daughter in pants yet he has other church members in pants. And it is common knowledge that he has baptized a woman while she wore pants.
You can see even more extreme examples of other IFB churches at

Comment #2:
It seems to me all you want to do is tare down your father-in-law over a "piano". It is not your place to judge or tare down another person.
Really? After everything on this blog you think this is about a piano? Piano was the last straw for my wife. It is yet another wound for me and my wife.

Comment #3:
I know for a fact this man has suffered way more than anyone realizes over the loss of his precious wife.
I would think that his sons/daughters would know more than you. I was there when she died as well, I saw the man. I saw his devestation too. I agree he has suffered. No one should see the loss of their spouse. Even before/during/after the loss he acted selfishly and hurtful. Something I can't comprehend. I truly thought the loss of his wife would bring the family closer together. Forgiveness and Love would permeate throughout. Instead more hurt and cruelty.

Comment #4:
What do you want from him, an apology? Would that really be enough for you?
Yes. Yes it would. An apology is a result of repentance see Luke 17:3.

Comment #5:
I was always told that if you can't say anything good about someone, then I should not say anything at all.
(Bambi. Great movie. Thumper is my favorite character, got a picture with him at Disney.) Great philosophy but then how do you speak out against that which is wrong?

Comment #6:
I was also taught to defend my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
Even when their wrong? I believe there is a verse in Proverbs about this. I tell my sons if they ever get in trouble with the law I will side on what is right, do not automatically assume I will defend them because they are my sons.

Comment #7:
Why can't you just forgive and move on with your life and let your father-in-law do the same.
I won't without repentance (see Luke 17:1-4), it has gone on too long (again this IS NOT just about a piano). And based on scriptures I'm within my "spiritual rights" to do so. I will forgive, when he repents.

Comment #8:
I don't pray that God will kill you or that any harm will come to you or your family.
Thank you.

Comment #9:
God will forgive you. Your father-in-law will too.
Once again, He is pictured as blameless while we are the ones needing to apologize and seek his forgiveness. That cycle I mention in my previous post.

Comment #10:
I noticed you put x's in the last name of the preacher in my post. I wish you could have done that in your own blogs.
I did. See the revised post on Part 9.1 The reason I revised this are stated on Part 9.1.

Comment #11:
You never know who is reading this blog. Someone might be lost and on their way to hell and just happen on this blog. What would they think about this? Would they still want to be saved after reading this blog?
Depends on ones belief in Pre-Destination and the "Sovereignty Of God". God's Spirit is able to draw that person regardless. This blog is not intended for the lost. Can it encourage negative feelings toward church? Yes but so can, Phil Kidd's Guest Book, 20/20's expose on Benny Hinn. Am I to stay quiet over these abuses? You can see even more heartbreak at

Comment #12:
By the way could you spell my last name correctly?
It should be Pridemore.
Done, my apologies.

On a personal note, thank you. You are the only that has had any sort of dialogue with me about the issues of forgivness and trespasses in the church. No one else wants to talk, they seem to look the other way.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Aftermath: To forgive or not forgive?

I felt Jean Pridemore's comment brought up some interesting points that should not be tucked away in the comments section so I decided to post her comments for discussion:
From Jean Pridemore of Kentucky:

Comment 1:
How could you say you believe in Jesus Christ and persecute another Soldier in the war on sin? You mentioned "loving your brother as yourself, this is what we are commanded to do. So, why do you have a problem loving a man of God like your father-in-law? Where is the forgiveness that God has required us to give. God forgave you, so who are YOU not to forgive. God is much bigger than you and he was more than willing to forgive, so why can't you? It is not wise to try to destroy one of God's preachers or his church.
Why don't you quit this garbage and get right with God and your family. We are all suppose to be fighting together in this war on SIN.
Jean Pridemore
from Kentucky

Comment 2:
How in the world could anyone stoop so low as to persecute and torment another human being let alone a man of God like Bro. XXXXX? You talk of believing the "love your neighbor as yourself". Where is the belief you speak of when you plainly stated how you felt about your father-in-law. You are holding grudges from years ago, the Bible speaks plainly on that subject too. You don't know the half of what this man has done for God and his fellow man. I have met this man and he NEVER ever said anything negetative about his family. Sounds like this is a one sided affair. I am sure this comment will not be posted for all to read but at least you have read it and hundreds of Christians that read your vile blog can comment to the misconceptions that you have stated. I pray that you and the others that contributed to this blog will get saved or if you have been saved, you will get your heart right with God and then make it right with the man you have so wronged.
Jean Pridemore
from Kentucky

My response:
Jean it is about holding such men accountable. They honestly believe they are above reproach, that they have done nothing wrong. They continue the abuse and the hurt under the guise of "biblical principles" yet they can't or won't admit their wrong doing, or even worse they deny it.

As a parent I teach my children to go and apologize when they have done something wrong in order for reconcilation. Most parents often catch when the apology is less than genuine and we tell them to "mean it".
We are told in Matthew 18:15-17 to do the following:

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
[His daughter has called him and confronted him, he denied he did anything wrong and presented himself blameless, shifted the blame to her.]

"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established."
[His daughter went to other family members, and other close friends. Most agreed, some decided to stay quiet/look the other way, some decided to speak up, some blamed the daughter --see the building frustration/trend?]

"And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
[His daughter had enough of the torment and told the church, the problem is compounded by the fact the father is a church leader so it is expected that many will come to his defense blindly without knowing the truth. Some will ask why don't you go the Father-in-law's pastor. To my knowledge, he has none.]

Now here is the verse most Christians forget exists:
Luke 17:3
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

That's right "IF HE REPENT", My Father-In-Law has not.

Makes sense, if you think about it. If more Christians that offend were to "repent" and say "I'm sorry" to the person they have wronged then maybe they would stop no? Instead the victims are told to forgive the offending brother/sister even when the offender does not repent/apologize. If the victim finds it hard to forgive the offender then the victim is further blamed for not forgiving. (Here is the classic "Your just bitter" accusation followed by "repent of your bitterness". See the cycle Jean?)

This does a few things, first the victim gets no reconcilation and further withdraws/hurts, second the offender continues to offend because they think they have done nothing wrong. Now repeat this several dozen times and what do you have?

Also, why would He talk negative about his family? Let me re-phrase that, why would a preacher, who values the reputation of his ministry and family name talk negative about his family? That would hurt his ministry so the inclination is to not talk about it. And frankly I don't blame him for that.

It is easy to judge someone when we haven't walked in their shoes. I'm guilty of that and often have to stop myself. If you want to believe in my Father-In-Law that's fine. I wrote his name so folks can see that he is not perfect. That no preacher is perfect. I can say that all day on my blog but until someone sees a name it won't hit home. NO PREACHER IS ABOVE REPROACH. NO PREACHER IS ABOVE THE SPIRITUAL LAWS WE HOLD DEAR. Yes, continue to pray for him too, he needs it. I need it too. However, please refrain for praying for my death...I don't believe that is very Christian. :) My advice to you is to examine the church/preacher you have and make sure this doesn't happen to you.

God guide you and give us all peace.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Part 9.1: "Thou Art the Man . . ." (cont'd)

[Continued from Part 9, see Blog Archive on the right]

The lineage of the family that some of the "Full-Timers" boast about is soiled. The 2nd Generation (My wife and her siblings) have fractured into 2 groups. Several of the 3rd generation (the Grandkids from my In-Laws perspective) have serious spiritual issues they are dealing with. The young girls in this family have little choice but to become "Preacher's wives". They are denied the chance to pursue anything else. My wife prays that the girls will not get an abusive husband because they teach that marriage is permanent, no divorce. The girls are destined to be housewives, or at best work from home. It's my experience that this world can use some Godly Christian women to become public school teachers, nurses, doctors and even business ladies. Don't believe me? Then why do most IFB parents of daughters insist on a female doctor or nurse to examine their daughter? Some are home-schooled/sheltered to a point that any encounter with the ugliness of this world can be quite a traumatic event.

Church was my life! I taught Sunday School, preached the word, led song service not realizing the sins around me. I was a sunday school teacher and song-leader in a church where the Pastor was having an affair with a church member. I later found out they committed their sin during "Visitation". The resulting child of the affair was held in the woman's arms while we all sang hymns like "There's power in the Blood." I'm sure several of you IFB members know of even more sexual debauchery from the pulpit. The IFB's think it can't happen to their men because their men are "True Men of God." Yet, the IFB churches are no different, we are all human. We can all fall to tempations. The preacher has done a good job convincing me that I'm a sinner. No arguments there. But he has forgotten that he is one too and must, from time to time ask forgiviness of those that he has hurt as well. All the more so when it is his own family.

I've been called a fool by some of my in-laws and a hater of God. A coward. I suppose I can engage in an all out flame war and answer tit for tat with them but to no avail. I can't blame them for labeling me and calling me names, I would have done the same thing 18 years ago.

Here are a few for your enjoyment.

A chastisment from my 20-something Nephew-In-Law Timothy (a Missionary to Mexico):
The Bible says "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." Proverbs 26:4 Anyone who would create such a site (this blog -lr) as this in direct opposition to God is a FOOL!!! ... You are a very bitter person who has a hate for God and his Word. The principles you oppose on this site are principles in the Word of God. To have a problem with these things is not a problem with IFB it is a problem between you and God. I do believe that the wrath of God will fall on you and your family unless you REPENT and get right with God. . . . I am not afraid to put my name but I simply do not want you causing anymore trouble for the ones I love by using my name in your dirty work.

Little did my nephew realize that he posted his name on the comment (see the comments section on "Interim Post: The proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back", Mama's Piano . . ." in the blog archives in the upper-right panel)

Here is another attempt from a Mike S. He posted on the church's guestbook, note his attempted lie, (but it's ok to lie if you are trying to defend the IFB preacher --not.)
Mike S. Saturday, 7/3/10, 9:30 PM

i am quite shock over what i have seen on this guestbook. is this [my wife's name] your daughter? it seems she has really changed over the years for the worst. i am a physiologist in new york and deal with a lot of people with behavior problems. if this is a true entry, your daughter has major problems and should seek help immediately. her reactions to you is abnormal to say the least. with the disrespect and hatred that she shows. i have dealt with many people like this. it is as if they have two different personalities. if any other men are around her she will demonstrate the same. the only reason for her not to, is if it more than likely the men are probably weak to her or somewhat a coward in her presence. these type of people hate any form of authority. bro jim try to get her to seek help immediately. it will only get worst . . .

From: New York City, NY

To be fair to Mike, he only saw one side of the man so in his eyes he is defending the man of God as he knows him. And yes my wife did post on the my Father-In-Law's Guestbook trying to find her piano and expose her father right after a heated telephone exchange where she confronted him. Good for her! The point is many will defend the IFB preacher, many will see all the good he has brought and all the wonderful works he has wrought and look the other way if there is sin to be found. Is this what we should do? Honestly, this is the correct appoach? What would Jesus do? Incidentally, his lie is betrayed by his sentence
i am a physiologist in new york and deal with a lot of people with behavior problems.
He meant to say Psychologist. A Physiologist is something totally different. They don't deal with behavioral problems. If he was truly a Psychologist he would have never made that mistake. Plus I believe his grammar would be better too, but that's just me.

Purpose of this Blog:
The primary purpose was to help me understand what has happened to my spiritual life by organizing my thoughts. It was part of my spiritual therapy because of the abuse. Dark thoughts crossed my mind during the darkest hours of this journey. I asked where God was in all this mess. I have cried tears of sorrow in my bed looking for God. And as some of you have read, there was a time when I did not want to continue. I have ranted and raved and often gotten very emotional on this blog because of the abuse/hurt caused to my family. I have said some very strong things during my blogging. (Warn your children that they should not "Drive Angry" neither should they "Blog Angry"). What can I say I'm human but I will stand by them. It doesn't matter if I have 0 or 10,000 readers. It has helped me. Additionally, if this blog has helped one other soul to avoid this type of abuse/modern-pharisseism then that's a big plus!! If this blog has caused caused a pastor/preacher to pray and examine himself or his ministry then that's another plus. The purpose of this blog is not to destroy anyone. Though I dare say a few folks are probably desiring to see my destruction from on high. This blog is a tiny drop in the vast polluted ocean of the internet and will scarcely register on any radar so the 'precious' family name will still survive. But this blog will stand as testament against them and this behavior. Rest assured, I will blog periodically from time to time on various issues and thoughts.

In a way I should thank my In-Laws. I have awakened so to speak from this burdensome religious system. Jesus said "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . . . . . .For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mat 11:28-30). This does not describe these churches at all. I heard of a woman that was so burdened by these teachings that she came to a church service just after a miscarriage. So soon after the miscarriage that she hadn't fully recovered. They had to carry her in and she had to lay in a bed that was setup in the sanctuary just for her so she could be in church. Now I'm an earthly father and if I had a daughter, and she wanted to come to my house, and she just had a miscarriage and she still needed to be in bed then I would tell her, "Daughter, it's ok. Stay home, rest. I will come see you." Now, to be fair, I don't know her motives, but if her attendance that night was because of the IFB's mishandling of Hebrews 10:25, if it was because of the IFB's mental-manipulation leading to needless feelings of guilt and condemnation, then this is wrong. I've yet to see an IFB preacher tell one of their flock "stay home this Sunday, you need to rest" or "cut back on your giving, you need to take care of your family".

Their lack of love and bountiful abuse, led me to question the issues they most hold dear. The very issues they were badgering my wife about. In this case woman and pants. This in turn led me to question Tithing, then KJV-Only issue. I have read more books on Bible Translations and church history than ever before. I decided to read books from opposing viewpoints with the clear understanding that if the IFB teachings are correct then the IFB teachings will come out the clear winner in the end. DO NOT SHUT YOU EYES/EARS TO AN OPPOSING VIEW. HOW WILL YOU EVER KNOW IF YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT WRONG? HOW WILL YOU EVER "TRY THE SPIRITS" PER 1 JOHN 4:1? It's a simple strategy. Weigh the evidence as if you were a jury for the first time. So I read books that the average IFB person could not handle as it can turn their world upside down. Among some of the best: "Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew " "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" , "God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer" by Bart D. Ehrman. (Now I warn you, these books can alter your perception of your faith. The question you have to ask yourself is "Can I handle it? Is my Faith strong enough?")

(Interstingly enough, as I look back, had the pastor at Maranatha Baptist Church shown me a little compassion when I stepped down from teaching/song-leading during my last year of college, had he not said to my wife that my attending college was "not of God" then chances are I would still be going to church.)

I know too many IFB preachers. I have seen their failings and I can deal with that (no biggie we all have them). But I have seen their deceit as they deny their wrong doings all the while condemning me and my own for petty things like pants/shorts. I have heard off-color jokes by missionaries about the very people they are going to minister to and thought to myself, that was wrong. I would have repented and asked God to forgive me for that one. I have seen Preacher families treat preaching like the family business. Influencing their son's to take up the family practice, dissappointed and often condemning them if they don't. Preachers that treat their ministry just like a job or a business they own.

(Side note: This is an honest question. Is it common practice for IFB preachers to preach the same message over and over, word for word? I mean for instance, preacher/evangelist crafts a a few sermons then uses them over and over, just about word for word. You can even detect the same emotional inflections in their voice at the same part of the sermon, very similar to acting (IMHO). When I was a Sunday School teacher and when I preached I didn't go back to my old lessons/sermons and see what can I use again. I honestly prayed and asked God to lead me to some passage in the Bible, some lesson that He feels I should expound on. This took several hours throughout the course of the work week, locked in my room.)

So after spending over 4 years, blogging and observing. Wondering if there would be a change. I waited 2 years after my Mother-In-Law passed away to see if that event would soften my IFB Father-In-Law. It didn't. After this post I will officially be embraced as the "Terrible Uncle, on his way to a Devil's Hell." They will be looking for my demise or the demise of my children. Perhaps the maiming of my children or the death of one of them will teach me a lesson. Or a tornado that destroys my house. or . . . I can go on and on. What a wonderful picture of God!

I leave now to find God down another path. I still believe He is there. I still believe in the beautiful teachings of the Bible that tell us to love thy neighbor as thyself. I dare say 90% of the problems we have would go away on the practice of this teaching alone, and to seek that which is good. I have questions about Jesus and what he meant/said so many years ago. I have serious doubts as to some of the modern manifestions of fundamental Christianity. (Some of these folks' ideology reminds me of the Muslim Takfiri.) But at least I'm honest with myself and God.

Oh, (almost forgot) as to the name of this IFB preacher . . . .

[Author's Note:
As many of you may notice, I changed this portion of the blog. I decided to remove the name of my Father-In-Law as a result of consulting with lawyers about what to do about the piano. (Sorry to dissapoint you, but I wasn't visited by plague, frogs, or boils.) Furthermore his name appears to be receiving too much focus and muddling the purpose of this blog. As I re-read my Blog for the upteenth time I realize that his name/role while a catalyst to my journey, is not the point. In a moment of hurt and anger for what he's done to my wife/son I decided to post his name. This is the wrong reason and I apologize. Too many people are focusing on their opinion of him rather than on the issues raised by this blog regarding IFB church abuse. We have never asked him to change his convictions. If he wants to continue to believe that women who wear pants are an abomination that is his right guaranteed by our Constitution. All we asked was to be loved and accepted even though we no longer agreed with that conviction.

(Oh, by the way [Father-In-Law], your grandson didn't tell my wife anything about her piano being sold, so leave him alone and quit threatening/bullying him. It was Grandma.)

God Bless!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Part 9: "Thou art the Man . . . "

If you are new to this Blog please start at PART 1: Click Here Then use the Blog Archive (just to the right of this panel) to navigate to subsequent parts. The blog was started in 2006.

I have been blogging about my journey for over 4 years. A journey that was started when I witnessed the harsh, mean-spirited, abusive treatment of my wife by an IFB preacher and his wife all because she decided she would wear pants. The tragedy of this behavior is compounded when you realize that this IFB preacher and his wife are none other than my wife's parents.

I could not understand this behavior, all because of an article of clothing. I further could not comprehend why my In-Laws were so nice and friendly to other women (non-family members/strangers) who wore pants.

You see as a Christian myself this didn't add up. Perhaps they thought their daughter should know better. Perhaps they thought this was a betrayal of their beliefs. Enough to make her feel like a reprobate? Really? Did she turn into an atheist? Does she deny the Deity of Christ? No, she felt she could wear pants. Not tight-skinned "Show off your Fanny" pants. Loose fitting modest pants. A litte more practical for gardening, cleaning house. Helps prevent chafing, etc. Good for cold nights/days. Pants that are made for women, not men. Well, they didn't like it one bit. Despite the fact that she was a married woman and she was supposed to submit to her husband (me), and I told her that it was ok. Nope, didn't matter to them she represents the Dad's family name and she makes her Dad look bad so she needs to wear dresses/skirts at all times. Stipulations were made, she could not wear pants in their presence. Even when they came to our house, she should not wear pants. Kind of outrageous. It's my house, yet we had to do this or they would never visit. We weren't smoking a crack-pipe. We weren't cooking any Meth. We weren't growing any weed. We were allowing a woman (a preacher's daughter) to wear pants. GASP!!

Yet we capitulated. I said to my wife: Romans 14:13 "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way." Let's just do it and keep the peace I said no big deal.

(Interesting note: You ever notice that in Romans 15:1 it calls these brothers weak in the faith. Those that get offended at "meat offered unto idols". "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves")

Yet, they didn't relent. One of the last conversations my wife had with her mom before her mom passed away due to cancer was "God was going to get you" because she was not in church. By this time we had left church due to the abusiveness and inconsistencies.

They claimed I lied to them that I was called to preach but now I'm not. I stand before all to say the following: I was "Father-In-Law" called and "Mother-In-Law" sent. I was 18-21 while I attended Faith Baptist Church in Bad Kissingen, Germany. I was heavily influenced by my In-Laws. I admired them greatly because I never had a Christian home. I came from an abusive home. I had gotten saved in a Pentacostal church. I became the Sunday School teacher and loved what I did. So the next step would be to preach. I did it. I liked it. I thought (Keyword) THOUGHT I was truly called to preach by the time I moved to another Army Post.

I continued to believe this until 1995 when I was about to get discharged from the Army. It was "Go" time. I was on my way to Bible College. I had prayed long and hard and decided on Ambassador Baptist College in Shelby North Carolina (Ron Comfort's school). I took my family down there with the intention of finding a place to live, visit the campus and start our move. I almost put down a down payment on a couple of acres of land for a double wide. We stayed with some friends during our visit. And guess what I found?
Prancing arrogant peacocks that walked around thinking they were God's greatest gift to Christendom. It did not sit well with me. Sorry, but "arrogant" and preacher doesn't mix well with me. I felt confused, disappointed and dissillusioned. So much so that I asked God the following: "Lord, I believe you can speak to your children. So now I'm asking this one thing. Please call me to preach loud and clear. If this is what you want me to do then let it be known. I am hitting the reset button. Please do it again." Pray tell what is wrong with that?? Either God can speak to me or he can't.

Well, to sum it up. He didn't say Go, so I stayed put. Been very happy/blessed ever since!! But my In-Laws believe I am outside of the will of God. When I went on active duty for the National Guard during the early part of 2009 my pay was cut in half (E-5's don't make enough IMHO). I had to solicit the Serviceman Civil Relief Act in order for us not to lose our house. (Kind of sad if you ask me that a patriot that wants to serve his country stands a chance of losing his house while serving said country, but that's another topic altogether). Her Dad's response: "Good maybe he'll get his heart right and get out of the military." Hmmm, his ministry when he was a missionary was "Missionary to the Military" yet you always got this "anti-Military" vibe. As I think back during our stay at Faith Baptist Church we were always begruding our Military commitment. This was also the case in a couple of IFB churches that catered to the Military. There was always a sentiment of "we need to get out of the Military, it's not good place to be". Again, I only speak of the IFB churches I have been in. Not all of them are like this.

We've felt their anger. Experienced their callousness and witnessed their arrogance and hypocrisies. I've seen them manipulate and abuse their flock with classic techniques akin to cults. (Google "Cult Characteristics"). I've seen them take and take.

(Do you know that as 18-19 year old and an E-3 (PFC) I was giving $350 a month to "Faith Promise" plus Tithing, plus giving offerrings? This was after a "Faith Promise Mission Conference" where they "moved people" to give. Do you realize as an E-3 I was only making $843.60/month before taxes! Do you Realize I did this for over a year, maybe two --can't remember. Later I found out that I was the biggest giver --wife told me, remember she was their daughter. Furthermore, once I was set to marry his daughter, you would have thought that he would have taken me aside and told me that I should cut back on my giving and prepare for married life by saving some money. He didn't. Instead I got married as an E-3 with very little money in my account. Our only saving grace was the double-BAQ we received for PCSing. Sad.)

I've argued with blind followers of these men. I've made enemies and will make some more by the end of this post when I reveal the name. While my mother-in-law still lived I held my tongue. I waited for over 2 years after my wife's mother died to see if the family would change. They didn't. It only got worse. We now have bitterness and anger and families that have been fractured because of lack of love and abusive attitudes all in the name of God. Half of the Family wants to conceal the truth or forget it ever happened (these are the ones that are "full-time" serving the Lord, the Pastor, the Evangelist, the Pastor's wife) while the other half (the "part-timers" so to speak, plus the outcasts, black-sheeps) want resolution in the form of a true heart-felt apology and admission of the wrong-doing. Why? Well because we are tired of experiencing it and seeing the culprit get away with it because of his title. Remember Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, Florida? Dr. Bob Gray? His arrest? The accusations against the church because folks covered it up or looked the other way? What about what the Roman Catholic church and what they've done with their priests? Yes, the crimes they are accused of can be considered more heinous than what we've experienced but the principle of hiding/looking the other way is the same. The seething anger that results is that these men continue to do it and no one stops and says: "Perhaps you should stop.". Somehow, they think the man and the church is too "big to fail" so we should bail them out by supporting them and ignoring these accusations. Just look at what happens at some of these churches.

The key difference here is that us "black-sheep" outcasts or whatever you want to call us are not beneath asking for forgiveness for the wrong things we've done. Have we sinned. Yes. Have I said things out of anger both publicly and on this Blog. Yes. Do I need to pray and ask for forgiveness. Yes. But will the other half do it? Not likely. To do so would be an admission of guilt and will soil the family name. That is why I left church. I would rather be an honest sinner than a fake saint. I'll kneel before God and ask his forgiveness. I will apologize to my Father-In-Law once he shows me where we have wronged him (not based on some personal conviction of his or because we have dishonored the family name).

Yet for all of this, a simple "Daughter, I'm sorry I've done this to you. I'm sorry we treated you this way." would have broke down all barriers and led to tears of reconciliation. Sadly, I don't see this happening this side of heaven. The next time we all get together maybe at the next funeral. And that is a BIG maybe.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Interim Post: The proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back", Mama's Piano . . .

If you are new to this Blog please start at PART 1: Click Here Then use the Blog Archive (just to the right of this panel) to navigate to subsequent parts. The blog was started in 2006.

Well looks like my Father-In-Law, the IFB preacher is at it again. He went ahead and sinned against my wife again and is denying it. My wife's mother (she's the one that passed away in the previous post), had given my wife an upright piano as a gift a couple of years ago. We placed it in our small house but it was too big and the legs kept falling off. This presented a safety hazard for our small toddlers so we asked them to store it for us temporarily (they had a bigger house, plus no kids) until we moved to a bigger home, at which point we would pick it up. Now this was very precious to my wife because it was a gift from "Momma" and despite all the pain "Momma" had put her through she still loves and misses her very much. Well her Father sold it for $500 to some church member and is denying it was ever hers. Everyone in the family knew it was hers!! We have a letter that's from her mother that says "How's the piano?" when we still had it in the small house.

My wife called one of her brothers (he is an IFB "Evangelist") and he said it was her fault that "Dad" sold it because she was bitter and out of church. He kept going back to that point, that she is out of church and out of God's will. SO THAT MAKES IT OK!?!? So, by that reasoning it is ok to take what is not yours from non-believers because God is angry at them anyway. Hmmm, what does that sound like? Should we go one step further and maybe vandalize their property? How about if we set fire to their homes? A heck, let's just physically beat the crap out of them! RIDICULOUS!!

My wife called her sister (she's an IFB preacher's wife, just like all women should be --sarcasm) and complained. Her sister claims it was her fault for disowning their Dad and she should get right with God and forgive Dad!

My wife called her nephew (he's an IFB missionary , like all young men should be --sarcasm), he couldn't believe dear old "Grandpaw" would do such a thing and he is a "Man of God" so she should be careful lest "She-Bears" come after her for going against the "Man of God".


My wife feels I should just go ahead and reveal the name of this family. If I do I will post a link to his church, and his name so folks can stay far away from him.

To end all of this, all my Father-In-Law has to do is the following:

1. Apologize to my family (my son in particular) for never stopping by the Vanderbilt ICU when he was lying there struggling for breath and instead driving through the city so he can be at "Thursday Night Visitation". Isn't that why you have an assistant pastor, deacon?

2. Apologize to my wife for threatening to "Beat" her last year. That is why my wife "disowned" her Dad. Basically, she hasn't spoken to him in over a year. That's what the sister was referring to (see above).

3. Apologize to my wife for the general mistreatment over the years for simply wearing pants! She's not alcoholic. She's not a crack-head. She's not a neglectful mother, she just wears pants --not Men's pants, but women's pants like the one's you buy at JC Pennies, Walmart, Sears.

That is the road to reconciliation "Man of God" then maybe we would see the fruit of the Spirit inside you "Man of God" instead you and some of the family (not all, some see the sin for what it is) insist on hiding your sin behind the standard accusation to my wife (us) that she (we) is (are) "Bitter and Hateful and Backslidden". Hateful? No, we don't walk around hating people. Backslidden? By your standards, not mine. Bitter? Maybe when it comes to church. ANGRY? YES! Yes we are!! And it is YOUR FAULT, it has been your FAULT since the begining!! You and all of those like you are the reason I stopped going to church!! And for those that say "How can this be? Hasn't God used this man to bring other's to Christ?" or "God will not use a dirty vessel!" Well then, what do you think? The followers of the Pharasees/Sadducees probably said the same thing.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." MAT 7:22-23 (from the KJV . . . so some of you won't fall down and have a seizure or something)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Part 8.1 "Death of a Saint?"

Part 8.1
I don't think Death can ever be beautiful. Maybe it can occur in the context of beauty and honor. Maybe someone's death can be framed with love, sacrifice and mercy. I often think of a "nice" death as one where you go to sleep that night then you find yourself in a beautiful dream surrounded by wonderful mountain views. Suddenly you are met with angels and they inform you it is time. You follow them to Heaven and your body slowly breathes its last breath and you pass on in the dream from one plane of existence into another. Instead I find violent deaths, deaths that are slow and prolonged due to illness. The only "nice" deaths I find are the quick ones. The ones where the death is so quick and violent it is possible that the person didn’t feel a thing.

The Death:
My mother-in-law suffered a slow ugly death due to Cancer. Her body was emaciated, her hands looked like skeleton hands and her skin was a pronounced dull yellow due to jaundice. She looked almost mummified to a certain extent. She suffered a debilitating seizure a few hours before her passing where she lost her ability to speak. She would slowly move her eyes and head from side to side but you didn't know if she was sentient or not. My wife and I got there while she was in this state. It was hard to tell if she could understand when my wife would speak to her. Later, shortly after midnight her body convulsed violently. It appeared my mother-in-law was sneezing. That type of sneeze that is deep and hard, that hurts deep down in your chest. Her body did this sneeze around 2-3 times then kept still and that was it. She died. Everyone could tell it had happened. Cries of bereavement filled the bedroom by all those around her as her body laid still.

Now this death is probably what normally happens under these unfortunate circumstances as the body battles cancer and loses. Not sure, that's just my opinion but I am not a doctor. But what bothers me the most is that this woman was supposedly a Godly woman of the highest magnitude, filled with the Holy Spirit (so I was led to believe) based on the beliefs held by the IFB church. She was a Pastor's wife, unrelenting witness and tireless worker. She would perform “door-knocking visitation” which for you sales people is very similar to “cold sales calls”. In one instance she knocked on a person door and when the poor soul opened the door she said “Bang” as she held her hand in the shape of a gun. She would then ask “What if it was a real gun and you died; would you wake up in heaven or hell?” (Yep, I know what you are thinking, “Was she nuts!? That could get her beat up, slapped or at least screamed at!”) In many ways she was fearless and bold. Many times I envied that. She wouldn't hesitate to witness to anyone on the street no matter the color of their skin or their appearance. (Yes this is the same woman that is mentioned at the beginning of this blog --- the one that called her daughter (my wife) a whore for wearing “that which pertaineth to a man” ---pants.)

Where was God’s grace? Was this it? Was this the death she was supposed to get? She didn’t die with a smile on her face as she looked dreamily toward paradise. There was no “presence of angels” in the room. Instead there was sickness, sadness and despair. She had been battling cancer for several years and after certain high points in her treatment, that is when things were going well and she looked like she was winning the battle, she would claim the victory and said she believed God had/or would soon heal her. Yet she died. The only grace I found was that she was surrounded by most of her family and kids. I say most because my Father-In-Law refused to allow one of the Daughter-In-Laws from entering the house because he simply did not like her (see previous post). Later that night as everyone continued to weep, the funeral home personnel came and took her body away.

Now I don’t want to seem blasphemous or offensive to anybody but I was expecting something better for her. True, we had disagreements as evidenced by this blog, but if I am wrong and in danger of God’s judgment, then she is/was right with God. Why didn’t God give her more grace than that? There are those that were present at her deathbed that have convinced themselves that she passed away peacefully just so that they can preserve some sort of sanctity/peace within themselves. That’s fine, I won’t begrudge them that, but the truth is she suffered and it was disturbing. As I mentioned before; “Above All, Truth.”

The Husband’s Reaction:
The second part of her passing away that bothered me was the way my Father-In-Law reacted. Here was a “Man of God” that preached the glories of heaven and all that awaits the children of God on the other side. He preached that God was the one that strengthens you during the valleys of your life, yet he fell into despair. He wished for her return and contemplated giving up on life and often mentioned that he had nothing to live for. Now, I don’t begrudge a man’s mourning for his spouse. It is a terrible thing. An event that I hope to avoid, but here was a man that judged me and condemned me and considered himself to be “holier than me” yet where was his faith? I would not say this of any other man but you make yourself a spectacle/hypocrite when you act like this and you claim to be God’s man. Either you believe this stuff or you don’t. A few weeks after she passed away, he wondered why certain people still lived and she didn’t. Why God had taken her away?

I became angry at him and his lack of faith especially when he was so quick to condemn others and rub it in their noses that he was going to heaven and they were not. (To be frank, this still makes me angry when I think about it.) Maybe he thought they were too good for this to happen to them. Both of them kept hoping for God to deliver them from this cancerous death and maybe they could not understand why He (God) was not responding. After all, they had done everything right by their reckoning. They were in the service for God; they had put their ministry above everything else, including their children and their personal health/wealth. I have been there as a young Christian. I’ve wondered why God did not answer my prayer when all that was needed was faith, and I had it when I prayed. Later, I would convince myself that I had done something wrong to displease God, that’s why he didn’t answer me.

To be fair, if my spouse died I would fair no better. I would probably cry like a baby for quite a while. The difference is I’m not the “Spirit Filled Man of God.” I don’t claim to be one. I don’t preach/prance like a spring peacock telling everyone how great everything is when you do what I say, and how God’s going to hurt you if you don’t do what I say.

My Mother-In-Law’s death has left me with more questions and some brutally honest conclusions. Some of you will disagree whole-heartedly, that’s fine. I welcome the disagreements/feedback. The conclusions below are just the facts as I see them:

“Piss poor planning on our part, does not constitute an emergency on God’s part”:
In other words, if you neglect your health don’t expect God to heal you in the final hour. (This can be said about our finances too by the way) Where in the Bible does it say that? Can God heal? Sure, by definition He is God he can do anything. The real question is “Does God heal?” or maybe “Will God heal?” The answer to those questions is: No. Sorry, but if He was in the healing business why does he let sickness continue? Why doesn’t he send Benny Hinn to the hospitals and start healing the folks in intensive care? (Personally, I think Benny Hinn is a crook/fake, so just pick your favorite preacher in his stead.) I know this is Pandora’s Box for some and yes I’ve studied Theodicy so we can go a couple of rounds if you like but honestly, when was the last time you prayed for someone who was on their deathbed? Did you honestly believe they were going to be healed? Did you honestly believe they were going to rise up? If this happened when you and others prayed don’t you think we would hear about it? I’m not talking about these cheap parlor tricks/antics seen at these so-called “Healing Services” a la` Benny Hinn. I’m talking legitimate healing!

Preachers are nothing but poor sinners, they are not perfect men.:
Some of you will say “Well, DUH! Where have you been?” But, I write this for 2 reasons. One, if a preacher is reading this, get off that high horse of yours. Preaching "as one having authority" does not mean being an arrogant ass. Two, the next time a man of God wants you to do something that puts your family/health/wealth in jeopardy you say one word: NO! or even better “HELL NO!”. You see my point is this: They are not God, and if one of these men comes to you and says “God has told me that you need to [insert unreasonable request here]” you can fire back and say “God is perfectly able to tell me directly, thank you very much.” There is one thing I learned late in my Christian life that I wish someone had taught me from the start: There is a difference between serving God, and serving your Church/Pastor. Beware: they are NOT one and the same!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Interim Post: Response to certain visitors of

(This is a copy of the post I submitted to in response to some visitors that do not agree with Mr. Steve Sorenson's much needed web site, I thought I would post it here as well)

One of the things I have come to terms of late is the pursuit of pure, unadulterated truth, or to put it simply, "Above All: Truth". When I became a victim of spiritual abuse by IFBCs, I decided to check and validate everything they (IFB leaders) have ever told me, from KJV only, to tithing and church history. I'm still on that quest and have come to the conclusion that I will never know the complete truth this side of life, maybe in the next one, (then again where is it stated once we die we will know everything right?).

If my faith, denomination, church, etc, cannot stand up to the scrutiny of honest questions and examination of truth then it needs to be cast aside. For example (this is for you hard-core IFBer's): Suppose for a minute that we have solid, undeniable evidence that the KJV-Only stance is incorrect or that the KJV Bible has errors due to the translation process. Now most of you IFBs will have stopped right there and not understood the question so . . .one more time: SUPPOSE, that we have solid, UDENIABLE EVIDENCE that the KJV-Only stance is incorrect and that the KJV Bible has errors due to the translation process (Ok IFBs, hang in there don't switch off, just SUPPOSE!). What will you do? Will your faith crumble because it is centered on a human endeavor? (The KJV translation was after all done by humans not angels.) Do you have the courage to look at that portion of your faith/belief and say "that belief was wrong"? What if the same thing can be said about tithing? Most members of IFB churches that I know will not consider such questions and operate almost as if they are in a cult. They will run away because it threatens their entire spiritual world and they are afraid. Like the classic scenario of the abused child that refuses help because despite the abuse (or incorrectness of teaching) that is all they know and the alternative (the unknown) is not acceptable. Despite the guilt they feel over some of the smallest things in life, despite the fear that God will send the "Destroyer" if they don't tithe, or God will visit judgment upon them if they do not attend every service or church event. Some will reach a level where they feel they are doing it out of love for God and not guilt, but what happens when that feeling dissipates? That's right, you start doing it out of guilt! (Come on, admit it, it’s ok, you can tell us, we've been there :) Yet despite all this, they feel they are in the proper spiritual world where everything is as it should be. Until the abused reach a level of pain where they say enough is enough! Have the courage to start asking questions at your church! Ask them the hard ones! When they give you there standard, patented IFB answers, go to the internet (Google or Bing) and research the opposing views, print them out, go back to your preacher/SS teacher and sit down with him and review them point by point. Here are some good ones to get you started: Is tithing for the New Testament church? What evidence do you have to support Pre-Trib Rapture theory? What is Preterism? History of KJV-Only-ism.

I predict a couple of outcomes once you start doing this: 1. the preacher will meet with you and tolerate this a few times then tell you to stop asking questions or leave the church. 2. The preacher will start to avoid you and make excuses why he can't meet, may defer you to a deacon/Sunday school teacher, if you persist he will ask you to leave the church. 3. The preacher will start getting mad and start using you as the topic of preaching during subsequent services. 4. Maybe, just maybe, the preacher will meet with you and welcome your quest for truth and embrace your endeavor.

People who have written on this site opposing Mr. Steve Sorenson simply lack the courage to honestly look at their IFB beliefs/movement with an open, clear, un-predisposed mind. They have been successfully programmed to lock their mind and throw away the key using the very scriptures they profess to follow. They will justify cruelty, anger, name-calling, profanity and violence all in the name of their god. I see them stoning the woman caught in adultery whereas Jesus simply let her go. Do you have the courage to see if we the abused are right? Try it! God will not condemn a person who is honestly searching for truth right? Ask God to show you and have the courage to take the answer even if it goes against the preacher/church/denomination. After all, you have been preached that there are incorrect wayward churches out there; all you want to do is make sure you are not in one of them.

I can tell you of the wonderful freedom and happiness my wife and I enjoy now that we no longer attend these churches. We stopped tithing years ago and that "Devourer" fellow (still sounds like WWF character or something doesn't it?), he never did appear. I have not lost my job, my car did not explode (boy, sometimes we make God out to be a terrorist don't we? Car bombs and all.) I have spoken out against these so called men of god (yep, little 'g' on purpose there) and no "She-Bears" have appeared to devour me. God has not killed my kids. I will continue to call out these men of god as I see them, some are ignorant fools and some are just plain asses. I don't answer to them anymore; in fact they in part should answer to me for leading me astray so many years. They should answer to you too; after all they claim to have the truth! For those that doubt my experience, understand that I was well on my way to becoming one of them. I was an Adult Sunday school teacher, preacher and deacon over the course of my IFB life and was on the cusp of enrolling/attending Ambassador Baptist College in North Carolina following after Ron Comfort. Glad I didn't. I would rather be an "Honest Sinner, than a Fake Saint". And I will be the first one to tell you I am not perfect or holy, but then again, unlike most IFB preachers I've known, I never claimed to be. Peace, out! :)