Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unfaith Follows

Today's Link
Carpoolqueen's Blog

Today's Saying
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. ~C.S. Lewis

Today's Picture
First blossom on hanging tomato plant

When we left James yesterday he was having a great deal of success in Chile. His congregation was growing. People were being Baptized in the Spirit. Lives were being changed. The congregation had become a center for social change and helping the poor. Life could not have been better. He wrote home to a friend that he was expecting a revival like the world had never seen.
Then a horrible thing happened. The Socialist government of Chile was toppled by a right wing dictator. The new government set out to purge the country of Socialists and Communists. Because of its work with the poor Jim’s congregation was on that list. . He became very good at hiding people and keeping them just out of the reach of the government.
But some Church members died. James could have handled that. After all the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church
But the unthinkable happened. Born again, Baptized in the Spirit, Holy people turned in other church members to save themselves. This Jim couldn’t handle. His theology demanded that once you had the Baptism you were changed forever. Holy people didn’t turn in neighbors. They just didn’t. His theology collapsed and with it his belief in God. He decided that if there was a God this could not happen. It just could not happen.
The government ordered him and his wife to leave the country and they did so. He came back to Chicago a defeated , broken man but still a man of integrity. He could have pretended to believe in God. He could have played at being Pastor. He knew all the words, all the motions. He would have done well. But he told the Church he no longer believed. Indeed he proclaimed his unbelief. He sent letters to his pastor friends and told them he had found the truth.
This was one of those times when the Church , which doesn’t always care for its wounded and broken soldiers acted magnificently. It got his wife a job in the office of the Mission Board and they got James into a Ph.D program at the seminary. The idea being that while he worked on his degree the grief would end and his faith would return. It was during this period he and his wife had two children which he refused to allow her to Baptize .
He earned a Ph.D in Theology but still was an atheist. That made the degree worthless. No Church college would hire a professing atheist. They might hire a quiet atheist but not an outspoken one. So James took odd jobs in the Chicago area Sometimes he was a janitor and sometimes the seminary let him teach Greek part time .
The pressure of all this got to him and he began to drink heavily. His wife and children left him. He lost all hope of getting any job. He became just another drunk on the streets of Chicago.
To be continued next Tuesday

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Yesterday the search for Tommy UK and Tammy was finally called off. Neither they nor any giant spider were found though they have gone over all the forest around where the broken cell phone was found. They have simply vanished.
Petrovich still hasn’t returned from vacation. But people are beginning to remember his driblets with nostalgia. At least then they had some idea of what was going on . There was always a solution. But now there was only silence and empty woods.
Nancy says several more people have reported seeing the man in black near the Town Hall. Mrs. Trumble was asked about the sightings when she stopped in for coffee. She reminded Nancy that the man black is seen every time there is a crisis but he never seems to do anything. She wonders if he isn’t some sort of group hallucination. The only thing they know for sure is that Tommy and Tammy have vanished.
Willie says that as he was going home from the Fly Inn last night the lights were on behind the Town Hall. He could see standing in the trench a man dressed in black. He was waving his arms and saying things Willie couldn’t understand. Then a door opened at the end of the trench and the man went through and the lights went out.
Eino checked the video. It shows Willie standing near and empty trench and Willie can just barely stand. So Eino has concluded that Willie is seeing things again. All the talk of a man in black must have gotten to him.

Wrap UP
Writing these two blogs was very hard for me for reasons which I will explain next Tuesday. I had trouble with Vista today it just hung everything up for no reason at all. Just when I begin to think it's not such a bad operating system it does this>It tells you the program is not operating but then it won't let you close it or use it. What a pain. I end up pulling the plug. A member of my last parish called today just to do a little remembering. That was very nice. So many good memories came flowing back. Then my sister-in-law called. Betty and I went to super at the Church. I visited all the blogs that left comments yesterday. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Anonymous quilly said...

Oh no! They can't stop looking for Tommy and Tammy! Say it isn't so! And would somebody please listen to poor Willie? No wonder the man drinks! Sheesh!

As for you, Dr. John -- one continuing story, great! Two continuing stories, gravy. Three continuing stories, good grief! Five hundred fifty-seven continuing stories?! Are you trying to make me nuts?

1:48 AM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

I'm not sure where this is going, but so far, it seems to me that too much faith can be a bad thing in that it makes a person too narrow sighted. Hence, when adversity causes you to have to see the world in its entirety, the reasons for the faith collapse and you rebound to the opposite narrow sighted view.

2:59 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

You are a horrible tease. A very good story teller but a horrible tease. Making me wait all of the time is just wrong. Wrong, I tell ya.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

YOU are reallllly enjoying that new camera, aren't you! Lovely shot of your soon to be a tomato!

The story is no longer reminding me of my friend John! But I know God's hand is IN this story and I can not wait to hear the end... if Tuesday is indeed the end...

A door at the end of the trench? Wow. It's time to bring in some big machinery and start excavation! I wonder if they need a backhoe operator? Or maybe a dumptruck driver? Oh WAIT! It's by the forest! We probably need to fell some trees! Let me run down the street and BORROW a piece of equipment....

5:59 AM  
Blogger Family Man said...

Wow, I am really learning a lot about your through this story. I am looking forward to the next part.

6:39 AM  
Blogger starbender said...

What a great 'Today's Saying'-- how true, how true!

Is this story about James in Chili, a true story? It is very interesting!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A most thought provoking story. I can sympathize with James and feel some kinship to him for various things that happened in my life. Right now, I have been hanging on to the rope God has sent me.

A trench? Very interesting...

8:44 AM  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Fascinating story about James, but don't you mean Chile?

8:54 AM  
Blogger aims said...

Curioser and curioser...on both stories.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay I'm confused. I thought a church always cared for it's wounded and broken soldiers. I just start getting to understand religion more and then something like that is said. Maybe it's just your story telling and I'm reading too much into it. But I'm totally enjoying this story. The search is off for Tammy and Tommy? Say it ain't so. Poor Willie. I think people really need to start payhing attnetion to him :)

11:27 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Next Tuesday!??!!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Beautiful saying, lovely picture and a very sad story about James...but we the soldiers of God must learn to carry our burdens, no matter how tough they seem to be... There is a purpose in God for everything that happens upon this earth.
God's Blessings be with .

1:08 PM  
Blogger A Lady's Life said...

Jesus was betrayed by Judas . He knew he would be.
And as people, we all betray our values, our truths, our morals. our families and friends. This is the reason why we need Christ because he reminds us not to do that and To be true to ourselves and to be true to him and his teachings.
What we do with our man made laws is find a reason, not to obey the word of God and that is betrayal.

But the web we spin with all our laws gets thicker with time and eventually we will choke in it because there is only one good truthful way of doing things.
What God did was give us a chance to find out for ourselves, by giving us free will.
So the person you are writing about lost his way but eventually he should return to God.:)

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God understands betrayal and He knows how very much it hurts. That's what is so amazing about Him. He understands.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

Tsk. Poor Willie. No one ever believes him.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Alastair said...

I recently had an email conversation with someone bruised and battered by her Church. Though the level of betrayal of the members of James' church is so much greater, it's a great sadness that so often we don't live up to our calling to be a body where 'if one suffers all suffer' or that we are imperfect and failing. Thank God for grace - and I hope that next Tuesday sees some of that! Thanks for sharing this powerful story Dr John...

5:52 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

Why do you do this to us? WHY must we wait until Tuesday to find out why this story was hard to write? BOTH of them were hard to write? I can understand the first one being hard to write ... but Pigeon Falls was hard to write too? You've got me perplexed.

Aside from Vista issues, it sounds like you had a pretty good day!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Vicky said...

Wow, that is quite the story you have going! I hope he goes back to God as well. But I'll be wondering how you bring this all around to an end!

Your tomato plant looks like it is doing just great! Those topsy turvy planters are really something :)

5:57 PM  
Blogger Maude Lynn said...

I'm really looking forward to it!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Jientje said...

I knew this was a tomato plant as soon as I saw it! I hope you'll get many delicious tomatoes on it!

What a troubled life that man has had. Some people have to go through a lot in life, haven't they?

I had trouble with my computer too yesterday. I could not access my site and it drove me crazy! I don't know whether that was Vista or Blogger acting up though!

11:07 PM  

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