A Rising Tide Sinks All Shores

by | Jun 11, 2020

One


A Fool and his Bible

 

“So, how are you with ‘health and wealth.’?” Doris Howard asked me, at the back of the church sanctuary. The second service had ended, and we were catching up on old times.

“Oh, I suppose I want to be both.” I said, ignorantly honest of her meaning.

She smiled and sighed. “Still the same old Paul that I knew. No, I mean, how are you with the prosperity message?”

My eyes widened. That was indeed a great question.  How was I with that whole bag of tricks?

I thought for a brief moment of all that would be given me (or not given me) should I answer without really understanding what I would be (or not be) answering. The weight of the conundrum would be disenchanting to most young people, had they not already known Doris for the years that I did.

I spoke plainly and without tact, as was my custom then: “I mean, Jesus healed us by His stripes and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I suppose if He loves me, he’ll give me my daily bread.” I told her.

She leaned back and smiled. “That’s a good answer.”

I passed her test. I would speak to the young adults class the following Wednesday and would be in her good graces.

Doris Howard, champion of the faith, Youth Pastor extraordinaire, passed away not some time ago – but her words still echo in my mind. “That’s a good answer.” That quick statement still guides me on a daily basis. I want to give a good answer when I am questioned on my faith. I want to always give a good and Godly answer.

She asked me about the “message” concerning “health and wealth” and I gave her three scripture truths to defend my position. No clearer message about the message than the one already given me through the best text that I had reference to – yon B.I.B.L.E. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Answering her question, I could have repeated some adages or some doctrinal statements from the Charismatic Seminary I was attending at the time in Tulsa, Oklahoma… But would that have really sat right with the great hyper-conservative Non-Denominational church, in Wichita, Kansas? “We’re the most boringly normal Church you’ll ever visit,” is their motto. It would be years later, and I would find myself in a denomination loosely affiliated with them, and they were right. It was as vanilla as could be. I was a Youth Pastor in that denomination, and they had the basics of church down. Not too much of this, and not too much of that… So the real question became: Did the Wichita church love their Charismatic neighbors two and a half hours south of them? Did they love the message that was being preached so vigorously from the pulpits there? No. They did not love the “Health and Wealth Message.”

But I didn’t know that. Or at least I didn’t see what the big deal was. I didn’t get why we couldn’t get along with one another despite the differences of our theological makeup. Oh my goodness, what a ignoramus I was. We should be able to get along with each other despite the slight variations of the interpretations of the Bible right?  Not in the world that we live in. But I’m a dreamer, I suppose. I always expect the best. I have learned over time to not only expect the best, but I’ve learned to plan for the worst. My age has tempered my unabashed optimism with a dash of potentiality in realism.

Suddenly it was Wednesday night and there I was in front of a sea of young people that I had gone to “Youth Group” with. I had been the only Senior in High School at the group surrounded by the teeming throngs of youthful and hyper-adolescent faces who all looked up to me. It was a rather strange mix of kids my brother’s age, all Freshmen and Sophomores. It had been just me as a Junior, the year before, with a gang of really cool Seniors one year above me. My friend at the time, Fletcher Booth, sharing the same birthday with me, instantly included me into his little clique, his best friends, twins, Alex and Greg Kice. But when it was just me, I was super popular, and super lonely. My only friend after all of the older kids had graduated was my skateboarder buddy, Erin Doom.

Now here I was, back from one year at Seminary, a foreigner, speaking to the “kids” who had been the Juniors and Seniors when I was a Freshman and Sophomore. These were actual adults. I was terrified.

What was even more frightening is that Rich Mullins was there. Of course Rich would be there. He had been a Youth Sponsor in our little Youth Group. Some barefoot, long-haired shoeless hippie guy who played the piano. He had come to Wichita from Indiana to attend Friends College and get his MFA. Little did we know that he would skyrocket to stardom when “Awesome God” from his album: “Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth” hit big in 1988. He was just “that singer guy” to us kids back then. And he was there, leaning forward in his chair, long black hair in his deep brown eyes, listening intently.

I don’t know what I talked about. It was probably some lesson about Abraham having faith or something “Very Tulsa.” You really couldn’t live in Tulsa long without hearing something about “FAITH” all the time. Really, there’s a “Megachurch” in Tulsa had a huge shield on the top of their church that says “FAITH” – it’s a little intimidating. And so there I was, literally an idiot, talking to these fine Kansas folk about my alien Oklahoma teachings, skirting on the edges of heresy. “FAITH” indeed. Did you mean: “Passionately Boring” instead?

Homiletics is the art of preaching… Or the methodology of delivering a sermon, usually in the vein of the Protestant Christian faith. That’s what I had signed on for on this night. But no sooner had I begun preaching, did they all begin to ask questions. To my chagrin, I realized that this wasn’t a pulpit… It was a lectern. I was not the preacher, I was the Socratic presenter. Where they should have been shouting: “Amen” they were raising their hands and saying: “Well, actually…” I failed at every step. I didn’t know how to answer their questions. It was an apologetics nightmare. Those who were trained in asking questions got really nothing back in return for their investment. I failed so hard, one might think I would never grace the stage again.

I don’t recall the drive home, I don’t recall that week to be frank, but I do recall the next week, when I went to the office supply store, went to their service desk, and picked up some floppies. When I say: “picked up” what I really mean is that I got six or seven of the free AOL starter floppy 3.5 inch diskettes, smiled and waved at the cashier, and left. Alright, I’ll be honest, it was theft.

I arrived home, got the scotch tape, covered the read/write window, and reformatted them all. I then proceeded to type poetry. Lots and lots of poetry. A thousand poems.

I must have typed for three or four days straight, for, when I was done, there lay before me six hundred thousand bytes of raw text. Since that filled up most of the capacity of the floppies I had “acquired” – I filled them up, copied them off, decorated them, and gave them to my friends, relatives, and even printed one copy up on paper, at around 350 pages.

If I was not to be a preacher, then I would become a writer. Poetry would be my medium. I could write any subject I wanted to and never worry about peeing my pants on stage ever again.

However, this also won me no awards. Firstly, everyone could tell where the bright yellow diskette had come from… Even after I had peeled away the AOL sticker, and wrote “Paul Hart Poetry” on it…. It was super obvious. Secondly, I had some poignant observations given me about the reality of the writing craft. The poetry was raw and packed with all those “crazy emotions” that good Christians aren’t supposed to have. Thirdly, the text itself was a mess. Even if you’re a poet, you should be organized.

But coming off of my failure at my preaching gig in Wichita, it felt good to have poured myself into something tangible, where I could measure the results in terms of bytes copied. It was cathartic at the least. I was no wordsmith like Rich Mullins. At least I was honing some sort of ministry craft.

 

Two


The Conjunction of History

 

I didn’t ever want to go through that situation again where I was on stage and everyone knew I was doing horribly. And I knew that I knew nothing about preaching through the written word (and I actually still don’t)… However! I was now an official twenty-one year old man, and I had best start figuring things out. Seminary was helping me a little, but if I didn’t help myself, then I would never grace the pulpit again, and that was somehow a worse fear.

While I was at Seminary, I had several paying jobs that I used to support myself. The steadiest was at the Seminary itself and the church connecting to it. I was a custodial engineer. I worked third shift, plunging toilets and emptying trash. Not a glorious job, but it helped pay some of the bills. It was late one evening and I was praying to God about what I should do with my life and I stopped because I heard the audible voice of God speak directly into my mind. I was asking over and over: “What should I do with my life? What should I do with my life?” And an answer came back to me: “Preach, Write, Sing.”

So, here I was, called to preach. I was called to write. I was called to sing. The rest of my life was glorious and I moved mountains with my “FAITH.”  Amen.

Except, not really. I had failed at preaching, I had failed at writing… The singing gig was going alright. Everyone loved to hear me, but there wasn’t enough work to go around and they wanted me to do it for free. I needed to reach higher, I needed to learn, I needed to understand how to get there… How to accomplish what God had literally spoken to me to do… Buuuuuut, in order to not die too young by reaching too high (or whatever Icarus did) I would come back to reality and investigate what made me, the me that I was. So I began studying.

I studied the Bible. I was looking for an explanation as to:

  1. Why I had failed so miserably at preaching
  2. Why I had failed so miserably at writing
  3. Who the gosh-golly heck was I anyway?

Although I’m still looking for the first two answers, I was sure I could determine who I was immediately. I had to find that out at least. You know the adage – If we don’t remember our past, and learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it. Something like that at least.

So I began the dig.

Pauly Hart:

  1. Who was he?
  2. Where was he from?
  3. How could he accomplish his three purposes in life?

Answer:

My family heritage reaches to the proud purchase of the Transylvania Colony from the Cherokee by North Carolinian Richard Henderson and forged by Daniel Boone. It was purchased legally by the Natives but was shortly done away with by the Self-appointed do-gooders at the Virginia General Assembly. This caused the lawful and legal contract of the Cumberland Gap from the Natives to be invalidated and stolen, ceded to the newly formed “United States” government.

Notwithstanding that I have accrued such a basis from my forefathers, most of my people moved from the Carolinas to Texas, by way of Indiana. My great-great uncles, Orville and Wilbur Wright, were some  of the descendants that never left, and played with bicycles and eventually gliders.

My mother and her father, being good Southern Baptists, decided that the only way to protect the great state of Texas, from the United States as well as Mexico, was to join the Foreign Mission Board and defend Mexico from within the borders of Mexico from an even angrier threat, that of Red Communism… Specifically that of M-26-7 and a certain Fidel Castro and Minister Khrushchev. Because, obviously, the way to the United States was through Mexico, and the way to Mexico was through the sacred heart of Jesus-on-the-cross, and the only way to get there, was through the Bible translated into Spanish… So let’s protect the Spanish Bibles… Obviously.

While my mother grew up in Mexico, learning how to pick cotton and be a missionary’s kid with her two siblings, my father’s father was in Somolia, Africa, reading the seismographic information from the off shore reserves between Garad and Kismayo – throwing dynamite off of a boat. Free seafood for everyone. His wife, my grandmother, a good woman of Levitic heritage, would struggle to raise my father and his two older siblings in Texas.

My parents would meet at Texas Tech, years later. My father stole my mother away from his friend, and tennis double. My father became my mother’s Trigonometry tutor and my mother, obviously, become in love. They wed, moved to Indonesia, where I spent my formative years as a child – An alien white-haired blue-eyed boy in a sea of brown.

Concurrently, being a legal Native American European Mexican African American Israelite, it struck me that the conclusions to my research into my heritage had left me with more questions than answers.

The only real conclusions were questions:

Maybe I was born to be awkward.

Maybe I had awkwardness thrust upon me.

 

Three


The Roberts Liardon Equation

 

So the real story of me begins with me. Who I am was a little blend of all the people before me, all the way back to my Hebrew roots of Noah… But the reality of my makeup was consistent with the Intelligent Designers plans for me. As a person who appreciates a well-designed plan, I realized that I should lean towards the idea that God had a purpose for me when I was created… Flaws and all.

After leaving Indonesia, my father’s company, moved us to Denver, Colorado, where we attended a wonderful place called: “Happy Church.” My mother and the Pastor’s wife, Marilyn Hickey, hit it off due to their love of Spanish. My mother, having Spanish as her first language, aced college with a Masters in Spanish and a minor in teaching. Marilyn’s focus had been the same. Also, because of my childhood ailment, “Prune belly syndrome,” I had fallen victim to heart issues, something that Marilyn had been healed of as a child. Their friendship was a bond. Together, Mary Smith, Marilyn Hickey , and my mom, Kay Hart, would be a tight clique of besties.

One fine day, on a lazy Sunday morning, Marilyn’s husband, Wally was giving an inspiring sermon about how Jesus had come to save humanity. At the eager age of four, I was on the edge of my seat. In mid-sermon, I ran down the center aisle of the church and said: “Who is this Jesus? I want Him in my heart right now!” I ran up the steps to the podium and Wally Hickey and the whole of the church were laughing. Not laughing at me, but at the whole scene where the little boy who so desperately needed Jesus in his heart runs down an aisle to get to him. My parents appeared and Wally Hickey shooed them off. He put me on his shoulders and used me for the altar call right then and there.

When we moved to Wichita, Kansas it was again at the behest of my father’s company. We found a little church and went there twice on Sunday and once on Thursday night for Bible Study. We went for the special functions and tent revivals and went when Robert Tilton had his special satellite telecast. Years later, I’ve tried to stay in touch with the church staff, but they’ve rebuffed my attempts. The Pastors all rebuffed me. It was especially hard when one of the staff passed away in 2018, as I still attempt to make amends with these fine folks. For it was at that little church that I encountered the real and living God in various signs, wonders, and miracles.

I could probably write a book and expound on all of these, but here in this article I will focus on one. It was probably 1984 when Roberts Liardon and his buddy Rudy visited the church. They called people up to the front to lay hands on them and have them expect a miracle. I was still a sickly child at thirteen years of age, still suffering from various issues of Prune Belly Syndrome. I had a heart murmur, swayback, stomach, intestine, kidney and liver issues, and several related to the reproductive system. At least I didn’t have to wear my girdle and leg braces any more. Those had been so embarrassing.

Roberts and Rudy had us all line up and laid his hands upon us, going down the “Charismatic Healing Line” as it was called. James five speaks of this idea: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” And so with that verse in mind, he laid hands upon me. I fully expected a miracle or something. I need to be healed. I shouldn’t have even survived as long as I had, to tell you the truth. Doctors still wondered why I was alive.

Roberts was seated, having prayed over several people, and Rudy prayed over the remainder. Rudy moved down the line one person after another. He didn’t pray for me, but prayed for the person to my left and to my right. My mother had come with me and stood behind me. She was 5’9”, a good three inches taller than me. I looked up at her and wondered why nothing had happened. I hadn’t even felt anything like a tangible anointing come over me. Often, when one is prayed for, the expectation arises and people fall over being “Slain in the Spirit.” That was not the case with me. I didn’t let emotions overrule my body in such a manner… I rarely “Fell Out” in meetings.

When all had been prayed for, Rudy walked passed me again. Then he walked by again. Why was God ignoring me? I was the only one still standing up. I tried to be super-religious and close my eyes and raise my hands in surrender, until I realized that he was in front of me again.

“Is this your mother?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“Is your father also here?” He asked.

My dad stood up from the pew.

“Dad, why don’t you come on up?” Rudy said to my father.

He had them stand on the left and right of me, holding my shoulders and arms.

“Now, I haven’t obeyed the Lord yet…” Rudy began, “I’ve been asking Him to be real specific with me about what I should do, but I can’t get away from the idea that I need to pray for your back.”

I nodded.

He looked at my parents. “I need to pray forcefully over his back. Is that okay with you?”

They both nodded.

“I need to punch him in the back. It won’t hurt him, it will heal him. But this is what the Lord wants me to do, and I would like your permission.” Rudy said to them.

It was just right exactly then that all four of us felt what seemed like a blanket made of honey descend on all of us, making our lips and noses an d fingertips go numb. My parents were both in tears. I was in tears. It was the Holy Spirit of God.

“Thank you Lord. Thank you precious Holy Spirit.” Rudy said.

Rudy then calmly walked behind me and punched me in the back.

“Be healed in the name of Jesus of Nazareth!” He cried out with all his might.

I crumpled like a wet paper bag.

Maybe five minutes later I got up and looked my mother in the eye. Mind you, I didn’t look up at her. I looked her straight on. She wasn’t taller than I was anymore. In the span of five minutes, I had grown three inches. My pants were showing my socks, but I wasn’t wearing hi-waters moments ago. My mom was in shock. My dad checked my spine. Where the large bend to the left and right had been, was now a straight back. I was healed. Miraculously, spontaneously, and perfectly healed.

 

Four


Breaking the Big Buddy Chain

 

Oh Texas. What a wonderful country in and of itself. My father and mother’s siblings all still lived in Texas. All the grandparents and cousins and nephews and uncles and aunts all lived in Texas. But all my kin were big time Masons who ran the Northern Chihuahua desert. My immediate family had escaped to Kansas, by way of a round-the-world trip… But back to Texas my mom and I went. I was fifteen and on fire for Jesus. I wanted to go hear the great Big Buddy Belcher teach me how to be even more on fire for Jesus. Dallas, Texas was home of many Charismatic Institutions. If Wichita had the Holy Spirit at one fold, and Tulsa at five fold, then Dallas surely had it at twenty five fold. At least, this is how my youthful mind perceived things.

“Health and Wealth” churches were everywhere. And it all hinged on “FAITH.” I was poor because I lacked faith. I was sick because I lacked faith. Even though the doctors had proclaimed on me the pronouncement of four individual “Spontaneous Remissions” I still had health issues. Prune Belly Syndrome had robbed me of all my stomach muscles. With no abdominal muscles, only my skin remained to hold in my organs. I looked pregnant or fat or like one of the “Ethiopian Children” that Sally Struthers showed me on TV. Deformity had been depressing. When all of your friends make fun of you, do you really have friends?

So we were there at Big Buddy’s to seek more healing. My mom likened us to the woman who had reached out to grab Jesus’ tzitzits, and be healed from the issue of blood. She said we needed faith, and that we couldn’t let God show our fear, but we had to have faith, faith, faith. And so the service went. Me, drawing tiny creatures and monsters and space battles on my little tablet until the sermon was over and the altar call had begun.

I don’t know what the altar call was for… It could have been for anything. The old joke in Charismania went something like this –

“The preacher winds up the sermon and has everyone close their eyes and bow their heads. Then he asks people to stand up if they are battling depression or have lost a job or are praying for their children to come back to the Lord… Obviously many people stand up. Then he asks if they would also stand if they are battling homosexuality and then has everyone open their eyes. The seated gaze upon the standing who seem to be battling homosexuality but really stood up for depression.”

Whatever the altar call was for, we went down the aisle to the front to be prayed for. My mom, also not in the greatest of health, lived for moments like this. She had come out of the “Jesus Movement” of the ‘70’s, and loved that old timey “Kumbuya Moment.” I was there for results. None of that touchy-feely stuff for me thanks. I had a job contract that needed order fulfilment. Healing. Now. Post-haste.

Big Buddy came by, laid his hands on my mom’s head and shouted: “TOUCH!” and did the same to me. “TOUCH!” and shimmied on by, a wisp in the spotlight.

We lingered a little bit. My mom, crying and standing there, as I watched Big Buddy walk down the line saying the same thing to everyone else. Once he reached the end, he exited stage left. A shill for the spotlight. I looked down around me at the (mostly) women who had come up to be prayed over by the “Man of God.” There were “Lap Blanket People” walking around, laying tiny blankets on the end of women’s skirts and over men’s groins. There was soft music playing. There were a few people left in the seating area “Basking in the Anointing” and that was it.

These people were here for an emotional experience. I didn’t feel like Jesus had even come in the room.

It was sad.

Nothing happened and we went home.

The Lord, evidently, was not impressed with either our “FAITH” or Big Buddy Belcher’s.

And I say that a little tongue-in-cheek. Obviously God loved us. But the tangible evidence of the Holy Spirit of God, as evidenced by me in many other prayer meetings, was not present. It was a song and a dance and five cents from France.

I made a small vow that if I ever went into the ministry full time, I wouldn’t have a ministry like Big Buddy Belcher’s. Rather, I would take Jesus to the people, like, well… Like Jesus would have.

 

Five


A Man named Keith Wheeler

 

In 1994, in my third year of Seminary, my program director was Keith Wheeler. Keith was the most “In Love with Jesus” person that I had ever met. He challenged our little group of twelve to let go of “Modern American Churchianity” and to embrace the living Christ. This was a stark contrast to the program I had been in the year earlier where the program leader had prompted us to research and learn everything that we could about Church Polity to the betterment of the 501(c)3 enterprise… And to increase shareholder value… Something like that.

I had just gotten off of my wild ride the first two years at the school, learning how to run sound systems, understanding the envelope folding machine at the Data Processing Center… And all sorts of cool business functions that would need were we to survive in “The Real World of Modern Charismania.” But here was Keith Wheeler, almost a brigand to the cause, telling us: “Throw it all away for the sake of the cross.” Whatever would I do?

At this point in my journey, the Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Exegesis and the Church Polity would have me taking the trek down the path of a modern day Judas Iscariot. I would be more concerned with payroll and book-keeping than I would in actually loving people. I think this was the reason for my immense distrust of Keith. He was a lot like Rich Mullins, I thought. Oddly enough, Keith had met Rich Mullins down in Guatemala, when Rich was filming several projects  for Fire by Nite and Teen Mania and making music videos following his big release from the Awesome God album. Keith invited Rich to a Christian Concert where a fella named Rich Mullins was going to be performing.

“I’ll be there” Rich told him.

Keith then asked him his name.

“Rich.” Rich Mullins said, and then said: “Keith, I promise you that I’ll be at my concert.”

Keith was so impressed with his humility, it stuck with him forever. If Rich was this humble, then what was stopping Keith from being this humble? And since I’ve known both of these guys, how could I embrace that humility as well? I needed to rethink everything. It was people that needed to be my mission… Not “Church Polity.”

It was the intention of the heart that caused the arrow to strike the target… Not the theology of that target. The target was people. Their lives were the target. The arrow was love, and not accounting software. The goal was bringing people to Jesus, not in the “Hottest New Enriching Evangelism and Church Growth Package.”

So I didn’t leave, but adjusted myself instead. I stayed with Keith’s program. We talked about modern day missiology and how it applied to the Book of Acts. Was there relevance? Was there a touchstone to move from? What were the ramifications of “Agape Love” vs. “Foolish Altruism”? He taught us that God was more interested in reaching all of us than we were in reaching all of the world.

But most importantly, Keith Wheeler modeled what it was to be a worshipper of God. I laughed one time at the tiny kneeling altar he had at his home until I noticed how worn out it was. The velvet cover had been worn away from where had placed his knees as he worshiped the Lord. This wasn’t a decoration, this was a practicality. Keith fought the good fight on his knees, more than he did with his mouth.

Never once did I hear Keith bring up tithing and prosperity. What he did bring up were the words of Christ: “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” If ever I needed to know what “Real Christianity” was, I found it by the example set by Keith Wheeler. He made us memorize a map of the world, he made us run three miles, he made us memorize practical Bible verses, he made us preach on the streets.

And he did it all because he loved Jesus. Here was a man from Arkansas who came from wealth, who knew the Clinton family, and who was an Olympian hopeful in Pole-vaulting… But when Christ asked him to lay it all down at his feet: the money, the connections, the dream… Keith did it and never looked back. He took the verses literally: ““If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” As well as “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.”

Keith carries a large wooden cross around the world, spreading the love of Jesus to those he meets. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bring good news” comes to my mind every time I think of the man. He walks the world, carrying an actual cross, preaching with his actions and not his mouth.

He’s been my lifelong mentor ever since. And I really do mean that. I love that guy with all the love I have in me. He’s my personal hero… More so than anyone else could have been. And it’s his theology that really cracks me up. It’s so simple, it’s perfect. I asked him two years ago about a theological issue I was having and his response to me was: “Well Paul… But is Jesus the focus?” Again I asked, more pointedly, and he answered: “Well. But does it center around Jesus?”

I got his point, and that phrase has become one of the most integral in my daily ministry.

The intention of the heart was at the intention of the heart of God.

 

Six


That One Time I Quit Protesting

 

Today, as I write this, I look back along the timeline of my own personal theological reformation and am amazed. I still cry at the book: The Cross and the Switchblade and I still cry at sappy movies. But most importantly, I still love Jesus with all of my being. No amount of God or any amount of the lack of God could shake me from my foundation in Him.

There is no theology than can dissuade me from standing up and seeing my mother at eye level after being prayed over in “The Name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Punching people in the back… What kind of ministry was that?

I started as a Nazarene, went to a Lutheran then Mennonite School. During my school years I moved from the Charismatic, breached Pentecostalism… All before the age of 10. In High-School, I joined a Baptist church, then a Disciples of Christ church, then a Methodist church, and finally a Word of Faith church. I went to a Charismatic seminary, was almost baptized in a Russian Orthodox church, snatched a few bars from Roman Catholicism, and became Non-Denominational. As an adult, I ministered at a Vineyard, a Non-Denominational, A Christian Church Denomination church, An Assemblies of God, and another Non-Denominational.

After my first and second divorces, I began to change. I became a Deist, then Wesleyanism. I became a Partial-Preternist, and finally decided to dump the Protestant movement all together. I advanced closer and closer to Greek Orthodoxy for a while but backed away and just floated along for a while, doing nothing in any church or saying that I belonged to any religion at all. My root was in the root of David, the chute of that root, Christ alone. The God of Abraham. The one Abraham called: “God Most High.”

And I think that’s where I am today. Religion! BAH! Suckers follow creeds. Lovers follow Christ.

You know, the only time “Religion” is mentioned in the New Testament is in the book of James?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this:

  1. To visit the orphan and widows in their affliction
  2. To keep himself unspotted from the world

That’s religion. To love people and to remain pure. And so if I do follow a “Religion” then I follow this one… The one James talks about. I’m going to call it: “The Jesus Religion” for the sake of argument. You can call it “The YHVH Religion” or “The Yahshua Religion” if you want to… That’s fine. But we’re all talking about the same guy. “The Intelligent Designer.” The one who doesn’t want us ignoring the poor and who cares about reaching all of us more than we are concerned with reaching all of the world.

That’s my religion today. I love the Bible. The Tanakh is my best friend. Jesus actually became the Word and so now it’s more alive than ever before. Let the minds be blown!

To be honest, if Doris Howard were to rise from the dead and come over to my house and ask me: “So… How are you with Health and Wealth?”

I just might tell her: “Jesus healed us by His stripes. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. I suppose if He loves me, he’ll give me my daily bread.”

Because it’s still the best answer.

Jesus is always the best answer.

 

-Pauly Hart

 


 

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About Pauly

Pauly Hart is a public speaker, actor, painter, singer, poet, and story-teller. His main focus today is writing. His latest works have involved novellas in the vein of “Classical Horror” from the Christ-centered world-view. The Horror story is the story where the character has to survive until the end. What better chance for survival than in Christ? Pauly writes not for the churchy types, but for those who would pick up a Stephen King book, giving them an alternative to the spirits. Pauly writes so that the Holy Spirit will have room made for him in modern day literature. He runs several websites all bent on leaving the mind of the atheist awash with the glory of heaven. You can find him at PaulyHart.com

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