I had to look for people that, are hungry for God’s love and hungry to learn to avoid merely living by self-effort and religious obligation… Otherwise, if I discuss this kind of stuff with people that aren’t hungry for it, it only ends in arguments, bad attitudes, hurt feelings, and lost or hurt friendships. I have also noticed that it’s almost a waste of time to try to show people this kind of stuff if they aren’t hungry for it, or if they blatantly reject it. If they reject it, only the Holy Spirit can teach them.
It has been very rare to find people that are truly hungry for these things… Sometimes it seems like I would almost be better off if I would simply walk around having casual conversations with people, and doing some random acts of kindness. I think I would recommend this approach more than anything else. I try to do these things sometimes, but I am a very shy and quiet person… so, it’s a little difficult for me.
There were a few rare occasions where I met people that were hungry for this stuff, or were at least willing to listen or have friendly relationships. Through the last 10 years, I could count on one hand the amount of people that I have met that were hungry for this kind of stuff. Some of those friendships were very precious. The most precious was one friend that moved away.
I met a couple of people in my job, refurbishing old houses… One guy I met that helped us was a Hispanic guy that asked me why churches are so messed up these days… I took the opportunity to share a lot that I knew and had seen. I even shared the Spanish version of “So you don’t want to go to church anymore. He said he liked it so much that he couldn’t stop reading it all night, because it made his heart feel so good. He moved away after about 1 year, which made me very sad, because I considered him to be one of the best friends I had met in years.
Another guy, I still work with, has also seen a lot of problems in IC’s these days, and he listens to a lot of what I say about this subject. He doesn’t like to read books and doesn’t seem to like to listen to audio-books either. However, I told him about the movie “The Shack” and he said it sounded interesting, so I purchased the DVD this week and he watched it a few times already. He seemed to like it a lot, and I think he learned a lot.
I recently found a guy in my area that kept clicking “Like” on Wayne’s Facebook page. We share a few nice encouraging things on Facebook sometimes.
Recently my nephew began living with me and he visited my parents traditional IC a few times, and told me that he hated it, and hated most IC’s he attended in his life, because they made him depressed and suicidal due to all the bad things he had seen at those IC’s in his lifetime. I shared some things with him, and he told me that one book I gave him to read, has already brought peace to his heart after 2 chapters, because it teaches God’s love and how to avoid merely living by self-effort and religious obligation.
It has been a long and lonely journey since being out of the IC for about 10 years, but I have learned a lot. I have also learned a lot in the last few months since going through this book, getting involved in this discussion group, and seeing Wayne’s articles on the tyranny of self, and the tyranny of our own agenda’s.
I have tried to visit various types of house church and organic church groups over the last 10 years, but I was uncomfortable with the groups I saw. Many seem to be merely peddling their own forms of pet doctrines and practices, and some are too excessively meetings oriented (with their own systems and programs) instead of being oriented around God’s love and friendly relationships between people.
Sorry for the long length…
Bailey, NC (USA)