(Wake Up! Wake Up! The Testimony of a Layman – Tate Publishers, Mustang, OK)
I am beginning to have presentations on the Book. The question almost always asked is “What’s the Book about?”
Well after babbling on and on several times, repeating the stuff in the book, I find the answer rather simple – it is about my Journey. My faith journey.
My path did not have a sudden beginning; it was not on the Damascus road as was the case with Paul that a vision came to me. Most of my Christian life may be compared to squirming on a wooden pew during the minister’s sermon, insisting (at times regretting) I stay with my parents instead of leaving to join the Sunday school kids program, never really hearing the message, not all for sure, and having only small bits and pieces sink in to my system. Family, my parents, through their efforts to insure I knew God, made me aware of God and the Bible and how important both were to them. Family dinner prayer, Bible stories written for children, with beautiful pictures, and read by Mom and Dad, along with nighttime discussions, were commonplace at home. There was no preaching, discipline yes, but not in the name of the Father, only by the hand of my father. It was a practical application of the exercise of familial authority to teach a lesson. Christmas and Easter were important occasions used as reminders and opportunities to tell and repeat the history of Christ – and provide for family gathering and communion. Their prayer, as are my wife and mine, and that of so many families, is that their children grow up knowing right from wrong, doing well and doing good. God is primary in many homes and secondary in others, but knowing how to treat others is essential. My parents objective, in retrospect, was to have my brother and I know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, fair play and cheating, humility and pride and have respect for adults as well as our peers. Becoming a strong Christian devoted to God may have been part of their agenda, but less so than that of being a good person. The mantra was to do things in life in such a way as to avoid being in the headlines, or even being in the news for that matter, and that was especially true for anything with a negative connotation.
My journey does not have a date, a day I can recall as the beginning, the re-birth, the new me. Mine is more of a life ignoring the many, many signals God provided, yet at the same time I was not in the total grips of the evil spirit. Growing up in a lower middle class community and family does not suggest exposure to the worst in our culture. We lived in a 3 bedroom, one bath, row house in Philadelphia and after 50 years I still remember the address. My mother was educated as a teacher, my father bright and hard working, a more practical education from a farm, through high school and then working in a gasoline station then a factory – a chemical factory – to become a plant superintendent. It was as a Sergeant First Class, the top NCO (non-commissioned officer), to an Officer, one commissioned or having that college degree. Many NCOs have a greater practical knowledge of training and military actions than do the Officers, especially the newly commissioned officers, the second and first lieutenants. My father was the overseer of a plant than made dangerous chemicals used in everyday products – important and essential additives. Due to a hardworking father and a wonderful mother, teacher, homemaker, Christian, my foundations as a person were good, my sense of guilt when contemplating something wrong or actually doing something wrong was like a ringing in my ear, indeed it may have been the Spirit speaking and me listening with only partial discernment. My parents were the cause for my remaining close to God, yet taking the more serious steps on the right path took time.
***** to be continued ******