October 13, 2008


Any place of refuge; asylum. Immunity afforded by refuge in a place.

I was struck by this word the other day. Sanctuary. A place of peace and safety. Such an interesting word to use for the main congrating area of a church.

September 12, 2008

Were We Wrong?

John 14:6
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

This is one of my favorite passages in the bible. It means to me the fulfillment of the covenant made to Abraham by God. I am the way, Jesus created the way to God outside of the priests. I am the truth. "The Truth" is another name for the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it possible for everyone to have the Holy spirit in them. I am the life. Jesus made it possible for everyone to have eternal life. Awesome and wonderful things.

But it just hit me, I may have been taught to misinterpret the next line. No man cometh unto the father, but by me. I have been taught, that that means that I have to accept Jesus as my personal savior, or I am damned to hell. What if it is taken in the context of the rest of the verse, rather than in a separate context. Meaning, that the original context of the sentence, is that "I am causing these things to happen." There is no instruction of an action item in them. Following that context, It is just a statement of effect, not an action to be taken. Meaning, that not all people have to accept him as a personal savior. Just that his actions caused the possibility of coming to the father. Not that you have to make Jesus your personal savior.

This would answer the question for me, "What about those wonderfully devoted Muslims, and Jews that have given their lives to God in dutiful service? Are they just ignored by God because they didn't GET IT?" Or are they still accepted by God, because Jesus has created a way that goes directly to God?

July 8, 2008

About me #4

I know that I got off of this track a while ago, so if you would like to revisit and get cuaght up on the read, here are the other posts:
About Me #1
About Me #2
About Me #3

Every time that I moved. I had a specific purpose in mind of what I wanted to accomplish. After going home and drying out to a point where I did not NEED to be blasted to cope, I found out I had a crappy job, and had a lot of bills. During My drugs and drunkenness period in Grand Forks, North Dakota, I had BALLOONED up to 198 pounds. 33 pounds over my fighting weight. So, along with drying out, I turned my attention to losing weight, and determining what I would do with my future. I would lift light weights three times a week, and RUN everywhere I went on deliveries for Domino's Pizza. I lost 38 pounds in the matter of 5 months, and got down to 160, with a 31 inch waist, at my final height of six feet. I was the skinniest I had ever been in my life. As to my future, I had decided to try to go back to college. But being a manager at Domino's for so long, I had made too much money. So I had to lower my reported income for a full year so that I would qualify for financial assistance. Delivering pizza became my life for a while in Duluth, Minnesota. But when college let out, I would not earn enough money to pay my bills. Then I got a call from someone that I used to work with in Grand Forks, inviting me to come and deliver pizzas for him in West Des Moines, Iowa. I would make great money, and not have to work very hard. So Off I went.

This instituted the next phase of my life. At the time I did not know it, but it was the "who am I going to become" phase.

So one day, I loaded up my car, and set off for Des Moines, and to kill time until I could go back to school. I showed up at my buddies house, car loaded up, and knocked on the door. Cora, one of the most beautiful people I have ever known, answered the door. There was a great look of surprise on her face, and she said, "Hey Nate, what are you doing here?" Her husband had not told her I was coming, AND going to live with them. Got a real warm welcome there. But as I said, she was one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and she made me as welcome as she could. I am not a good roommate. She hated me living there, but would never say a word to me. The next day, I found one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Shang Yuen's chinese restaurant. Cheap, with lots of food, and very good. Just thougt I would throw that in there. But, I started working for my friend, out performing everyone the first night I was there by far. I had never even driven in that neighborhood before. But along with this, my friend had told the district manager there about me and my management talents. So, as the only driver in the city to be invited, I found myself with the managers on a celebration for achieving sales over last year for the first time in a long time. We went to a minor league baseball game. I remember that night pretty well, I got drunk and made an ass out of myself. I also met a bunch of new people, one of which was a woman, the only female manager. She was short, about 5' 2", skinny, and kind of quiet. I got a weird feeling when meeting her, but didn't dwell on it. After that, I was still invited to the manager functions, because the District Manager wanted me to manage for him. So delivering pizzas, and hanging out with Domino's people getting drunk became my life. Sound familiar?

I convinced one of my friends to come down to work in Des Moines, because he was not making enough money in Duluth. He started working for the female manager. Her name was Sherri, and he said, "she is kinda quiet until you get to know her, but she is really cool." Tony, my friend, and I used to go out to a new restaurant every Tuesday, and then go to "Frogs" and shoot free pool. One day, he wasn't able to make it, so I invited Sherri to go. We chose Raul's, and we ate. I was trying without much success to try to get her to talk, and finally gave up and took her back to my house. She was Cora's friend, and had parked her car at my house. I thought that Tony must be off his rocker if he thought she was cool. Just to continue my wonderful roommate ways, I brought a girl back, and while leaving, Sherri and Cora ask, "Who was that?" "Some girl named Debbie," I replied. When people asked Sherri what she thought of me, she would say, "He's good looking, but what an asshole." She was right on the money.

Also at this time, I found a place that really helped me shape who I would become, Ebenezer Frog's. It was a bar with pool tables in it. I had turned twenty-one the previous year. But being broke and living with the pastor dad, I had not done a lot of the bar scene thing. So I started hanging out there. It was my kind of place. A dive. I love dive bars. I love the people in dive bars. They are a real that cannot be duplicated. They are just who they are, and don't give a shit if people don't like it. But there I learned to relate to real adults. Not just the party people that I normally hung out with. Also, I started playing pool. Eight ball, nine ball, and what ever other game. But mainly eight ball. Why is this so important? It taught me focus. It taught me to rely on my skill. It taught me to achieve in a directed path. I know it sounds strange, but it was very important to my life as a whole.

This post is only covering four months of my life. It is really set up for next post. As this one is too long already. But these seemingly unrelated events, churned into where my life would go for the next 18 years.

July 2, 2008

Believe It or Not

A pastor put a large box of softball, or so, sized rocks prominently up front on the stage before the service began. All of the leaders of the service were told to ignore the box, and act as if it was not there. So the service began, and the congregation began to wonder about the box. The pastor could see the intrigue on their faces. The minds spinning just wondering what it was all about. The pastor gets up, and begins his sermon. His sermon was on John 8, and the adulterous woman. At the critical point, he asks, "Anyone who is in this congregation today, who is with out sin, come and pick up a stone." To his shock and dismay, and that of the whole congregation, a young man stands up, walks to the front, mounts the stage, and picks up a stone. The flabbergasted pastor, walks over to the young man, and says, "Son, I asked for those who had no sin to come up. Are you saying you have no sin in your life?" The young man looks at him a little confused, and can tell that the pastor is a little upset at him. He replies, "No sir, I have no sin. Jesus took my sins away as far as the east is from the west. You read that to me from out of your bible. What's wrong, don't you believe what you read in the bible?"

May 25, 2008

Living Your Faith

Recently with all of the things that have been happening to me, it hit me that living my faith, and professing my faith are two different things. It also came from a saying that I have known about for a long time, but read again recently. True beliefs will be shown in actions. I have been talking with a Mormon friend of mine about his exact thing. We agree, but use different words to say the same thing.

The only thing that I have been able to do emotionally, is to lean on God. It has been WAAAAAY too much for me to handle. Putting me in areas that are rediculously uncomfortable, and I have no idea of how to deal with. So I pray a lot, and just do what feels right. Praying that it is the Holy Spirit leading. This is really hard for a control freak like me to do. Maybe that is the test. But, the realization that I was actully living what I professed, kind of shocked me. Being shocked by this REALLY SHOCKED me. It made me realize that what I had been saying about my faith for so long, was just crap. Because every time it got hard, I took it upon myself to dig myself out. Yeh, I said that I was relying on God, but I really wasn't. This time it was too much for me to handle. So I couldn't. It was highly uncomfortable to ride on the waves. The emotions of dispair, frustration, anger, and futility almost laid me low. But God has got us through this time so far. I know he will continue to.

May 8, 2008

How God Moves

Many times I have wondered about how God accomplishes things, but doesn't seem to. Recently something happened that put it in a perspective for me. I am a restaurant manager. A restaurant opened up in a city about four hours away. I told my boss's boss, that I was interested. From his reaction, it hit me how God probably works today, and why we don't SEE those miracles that everyone wants to see.

The reaction from my boss was surprisingly upbeat. He told me a little about the restaurant, and kind of gave a sales pitch for it. It was out of character for him in the extreme. Then it hit me.

When Jesus died on the cross, he became the way the truth and the life. The way to God, the possiblbity of eternal life, and most important to this, made it possible for a bit of the truth to be put in everyone. The truth is another name for the Holy Spirit. Some of the Holy Spirit resides in every person on the earth. With this, God can give nudges, but cannot control every person on the planet. So, when a situation shows up that he wants to assist with, he gives nudges to receptive people, and they react in a way that will resolve our issue. That is why no miracles are necessary, he uses the likes of you and me to help him solve our problems. Nothing like delegation. that is my thoughts on it anyway, not biblical by any means, but makes a lot of sense to me.

March 8, 2008

About Me #3

After leaving high school and entering my own life, as it were, there were four driving passions that compelled my actions and decisions. These were sex, chemicals, career, and God. Through all that I have gone through, and will go through, God was always there, and I wanted to be where he wanted me to be. He knew I had the prodigal son thing in me that had to be worked out. I will go through these things one driving force at a time, then tie them together at the end.

When leaving high school, the first thing that I set out to do was to become a millionaire by the time I was twenty. How hard could it be? The first summer out of school I worked at a golf course and a dentist office, about sixty to seventy hours a week. Then came college, and work. When leaving high school, I had been accepted to the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, and could have gotten a degree with an outlay of $6,000, the rest through grants and scholarships. Helped by poor parents and high ACTs and SATs. For economy's sake, went to the local community college to save some money on the required that would transfer. I hated the thirteenth grade, and finally quit after two months. Mainly because it interfered with my partying. Then I was accepted by the Domino's Pizza I was working at as an assistant manager. Domino's Pizza was huge at the time and making many people rich. So I thought that was my ticket to riches and my best friend agreed. So we decided to make a play for some franchises in western New York. We found out exactly how stupid, naive, and ignorant we really were. We failed miserably. We went back to the franchisee that we worked for before. Because of the large amount of partying I still did, I was unsuccessful as a General Manager. Also because of that partying, I decided I needed to dry out, and moved home to Mom and Dad's. There I got a job at the local Domino's Pizza, which led to a transfer to Des Moines Iowa. Even though I was always partying hard, I was always extra successful where ever I went. Always excelling in the performance of the restaurant's sales, profits, and service. I knew I was great at Domino's Pizza, and in the end I was, but always trying to find my home.

Then there was the adolescence's attempt at trying to figure out how to deal with women. In the real world, it was very different from high school. I did not have women throwing themselves at me because of my social status, so I was completely unable to deal with a relationship on my own. This led to many strange situations. One of the most notably, with a married woman. Her husband became suspicious of us, he was an Air Force missile cop. He had a gun, and came to my home with it. Luckily, that night she was not at my house, like she normally was. We finally calmed him down enough that we let him in. He looked around, did not find her and called his house. She was at home. Close call. Then there was her friend that went trolling for threesomes. She would have an affair, then see who would be willing to have a threesome with her and her husband. Normally the lure was her sexual inhibitions, most young men would only fantasize about, she would do. Then there was potato chip, or free-to-lay. She would often take on multiple partners at the same time. I will not go on, but this just kind of lets you know where that drive went. It was not healthy at all. But in Des Moines that changed.

Chemicals were also a driving passion. I could drink A LOT. So much it would astonish people. When in high school the point of pride would be that I could drink a case of beer in a night. Yes, by myself. But after a while, this begins to be repetitive. So we, my best friend was almost always there, went in search of more interesting ways to become blasted. Our mentor was a guy who came from California, he had done everything chemically, and kind of guided our path along. This is the period of time my chemical use got out of hand. I had only two rules, nothing addictive, and nothing lethal. But that still leaves a lot of things to do. A typical day would see me drinking until I was at .34 or better alcohol content. Alcohol only leaves the system at .01 per hour. So by the time I started drinking again, I was still over .1. I was drunk for six months straight. On top of that was dope. Smoked it everyday. It was all free, so what did it matter how much was done. Got it from the guide. Then when coming home some days, I would be told to open my mouth, then something would be popped in it, and I would be off. Normally it would be revealed to me later what was having this effect on me. Then the Stones concert and my all time favorite drug, LSD. Loved LSD. It would have been the one thing to totally take me over if I let it. It was carefully rationed. Then came the day, when I drank over a liter of hard liquor, and woke up without a hangover. This scared the hell out of me. Realizing that I could drink myself to death, and never puke. My body, just being so used to the alcohol, would not realize anything was wrong until I was dead. I decided to move to Mom and Dad's because of this. When my pastor father came to help me move, he walked in on the beeramid. Over two thousand beer cans that had accumulated in under 5 months in the apartment of me and my best friend. Oh yeah, he was right beside me through all of this stuff. When in Duluth, MN trying to dry out, my body had some real strange reactions. The first time I drank, I ended up driving through a residential neighborhood at 90 miles an hour to a local airport. Where I promptly ran into an airplane. Then got out of my car pissed of and started jumping up and down on the plane. Went back to a buddies house, rifled the purse of the person he had brought home, puked on his couch, and went to sleep. Only to be awoken by the irate woman. After she left, he looked at the mess on the couch, turned the cushion over, and thought that my escapades were cool. So I had another drinking buddy. Another time, later into the drying out, I totally lost contact with reality on very few drinks. Maybe four or five. My body was really rejecting everything. Then I moved to Des Moines.

Through all of the debauchery and intoxication, any time a decision to move or make a big move came, I always prayed about it. Strange I know. To believe that you could still have a connection to God through all of this seeming Godlessness. But, being a pastors kid, I had seen all of the parents in the church in compromising situations. Parents don't hide their freakiness as well as they think they do from their kids. We would talk about it. So when these things were happening, it was just normal that drunkenness, sex, and other things that were in the church, were in my life. At the time it did not seem like any contradiction at all. I know better now, but not then. This brings everything to a new and pivotal place in my life. Where the career took over, and my savior found me. No, my savior was not Jesus, it was a woman.

February 27, 2008

About Me #2

It is certainly true that this installment will be much more interesting that the last one. Juicier as it were. Because when we moved to Thief River Falls, Minnesota from Kansas, it was like moving to another world. In Savonburg, Kansas, the school I went to was very small. I had eight people in my class, and six in the class above me. We were in the same room together. In these classes, I was the fastest, smartest, and most popular kid there. Not so in my new home. That was a shock that would take many many years to overcome. As with all children, we form a world in our minds, and think everything works that way. Well, the things that were COOL where I was, were not COOL here. So in my trying to fit in by showing those talents that I thought were cool, only made me seem strange. Also by moving to a larger town, there was more money around. Greater highs for the those that have, and a greater seperation from the have nots. In Kansas, I wore what everyone else wore, cheap clothing, because that was all the farmers in the area could afford. Here, there were brand names, styles, fads, etc... etc.. Well, my family had no money, so I wasn't allowed to have any of those things. So I went from being the most popular person, and most talented around. To being the weird kid that wore the odd clothes.

That made being in this new place very hard for me. The popular kids already had their friends. So when trying to make friends, or play with someone my own age, I had to hang out with the people that had no friends already, basically the losers. That made me even more unpopular. It was a very hard time for me, and this created a basis for a very long journey for acceptance that caught me up and had a profound effect on my life.

For two and a half years, I was very unhappy. I had no good friends, and was very lonely. Then I met Gene Lepala. He was interested in all of the things I was interested in, and he had his best friend move away about the same time we met. We became great friends, and saw each other and talked to each other everyday. We had seperate interests as well, but were always together when we could be. We were at each others houses all the time. For the next four years my life was pretty good.

During that time, I had started to play hockey, football, and golf. Through my above average talents and some personality, I had once again became friends with the popular crowd, called "jocks." But retained many of the friends that I had made when I was not so popular in the crowd called "ticks." Plus, I enjoyed academics and was in with that crowd too. I knew everyone. Also, I became more and more involved with church. Becoming almost fanatical in my belief structure, believing everything that was told to me. Until in my senior year, everything changed.

We were poor, that I have explained before, so to dress like everyone else and not get made fun of, I had gotten any job that I could to help pay for my school clothes, the right shoes, attractive jackets and hockey equipment. I held two to three jobs all through high school. In the ever increasing need to keep up, when those around me started getting their jobs, I had to get a better paying job so that I could keep up. I started working for Domino's Pizza. This was a critical point for me. Also, I was very shy, but finally I started dating, and it was the combination of women and work that led me to a number of interesting things.

At church, our youth group was very strong and tight knit, and we started getting into the "new christian rock." Keith Green, Steve Camp, Petra, Rez Band, The Messiah Prophet band, and Stryper. Some pretty tame, others VERY heavey metal. The backlash at church came from those that thought all rock music was bad. This is where my break from the authorities of the church came from. I read my bible one chapter a night before going to bed, for years. I knew it, very well. So when scriptures about rock and roll and its evils were spouted, I spouted back the about dancing for God, the evils of the accepted country music so many in church listened to, so on and so forth. Then I ask the real question, "Have any of you listened to the music you are putting down?" the answer was. "That they would not defile themselves in that way." Then the event that caused me to question happened. I quoted Jude 10-11. About those speaking evil of things that they know not. That caused QUITE a stir. In Jude, he was talking about devil worshippers, not what good God fearing people want to be referred to. My father, the pastor, said I had to write an apology. I said that I beieved what I quoted, and was in no way sorry. Then it happened, my father, the man I still respect above all other followers of God said, "It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, it is necessary for the peace of the congregation and my standing within it." BOOM!! Right is not necessary in church, just the unity of the organization. That lesson above all others that he taught me has stuck with me the most.

Also at this time, I was working at Domino's Pizza, and with a heavey partying crowd. At the Christmas party, there was drinking, and it was my first time getting drunk. I was 18, and it was a LOT of fun. Just another thing the church was wrong about. So, I started partying. It was hard at first, but I started to find a party a weekend. Then two or three. Then everyone would come to me to ask me to promote their party. I went to them ALL. I was a lot of fun, and everyone welcomed me to their parties. I would start out at 7-8PM with the Jocks, their curfews were around 10-11PM. Then I would party with the Ticks, Their curfews around 12-2AM. Then I would party with the Domino's crowd until 5-6AM. I would tell my parents that I was closing at Domino's, leave the garage door up so as not to disturb them opening it when I came home. Domino's closed at 2AM, I normally got home around 3AM. By the end of school, I was directing the different groups of people to the appropriate party for them, when they came and ask where the parties were. I also, ignored the people in my church group, to the point of not even returning a "Hi" said in the hallway. It did not fit with my new image. What a dick I was.

Also at the same time, I said I started dating. I don't know if that would really be the word. Becoming a slut is a better descirption. When I was younger, I was pudgy, always on the edge of the huskey section. So I had a poor self image, and did not think that I was attractive. Being a golfer, and golfing up to 300 rounds a summer at our small 9 hole course, I got a jof there between my Junior and senior year in school. I started out the summer, 5'4" 170 lbs, chubby. By the end of the summer, working 70 to 80 hours a week, hitting a growth spurt, I was a very tan, 5'10" 160 lbs. I had gotten a great new body, but still had the same self image. So when I started partying, I did not care who I hung out with, a lot of girls came after me, and got me. The night I lost my virginity, I was 18, and a 35 year old woman that I worked with, basically took in a bedroom, and we started going at it. Later that evening, I had sex with another woman as well, 23 years old. Then her sister, and anyone else who would grab me and take me to a bedroom. They knew I was easy, popular, and would add status to them to get me. I guess it was the worst when on prom night, I actually worked at Domino's, got to the prom parties about 11PM, drove a bunch of STINKING drunk people home, because I was sober. Then in one of the hotel rooms at 6AM, a bunch of them came into the room where I was sleeping on the floor with the girl I was with that night, they tried to grab the blakets off of us. Yes we were still naked. I let her take the blanket and keep her modesty. I didn't care, I got up in front of those thirty or so people, with used condom still on, looked at the clock and said, "Oh shit, Dad's up." Yeah I got busted by my dad, got rumors flying all around about my parading around in the hotel room, and I loved it all.

I went into high school a shy, chubby, scholarly, athlete, and left a hard partying, sex machine that treated women horribly. I was totally consumed with myself, and getting everything that I could for me. I never stopped to think of anyone else. This is not even the worst it got. Through it all, my best friend was beside me.

February 3, 2008

About Me #1

So many of us out here in the blogosphere hook up, and talk without really knowing one another. Our talks are based on a subject, and rarely go off of that track. So, for the friends that I have collected here, I would like to give an idea of where I come from, and my spiritual journey. Starting at the beginning. If this seems to be a valuable idea, please comment to let me know. If it will not help our relationship, please tell me as well. This will probably take a number of posts and a lot of time. I don't mind honesty.

I was born to a pastor and his wife in Lawrence, Kansas, with two sisters already in place. We lived in a town called DeSoto, just outside of Kansas City, Kansas. While we lived in DeSoto, I have very few memories. We moved when I was four, so the memories I have are distant and not very powerful.

We moved to a small town called Savonburg in Kansas. It is in the south east corner of the state, it had a population of one hundred when we moved there. When we left, there were only 60 people. This is where my memories start in earnest. My first birthday there, my fourth, I received a Tonka truck for my birthday. My dad made me a 12' x 12' sand box to play with it in. That was the coolest.

When I was about 6, I went to my first baptism. WOW, was that awesome. People got to get into the water with all of their clothes on. I wanted to do that too. So, going to church as I did, knew that you had to accept christ to be baptised. So I told my Dad that I wanted to accept Christ in to my heart. So at the age of 6 or 7, knelt down with my father, and said the sinners prayer. It was in the nursery room, in the back of the church where all of the toys were. Remember it still to this day.

Trying to be a good boy, and a good christian, I really did get into church pretty well. I really tried to do what is right. Then, came the pentecostal era to the church. For the first time around the age of 9, I really felt the Spirit of the Lord around and upon me. It was a wonderful feeling. I found that by being with the adults around me, singing in the praise sessions and the prayer meetings that I often felt that again. I even tried speaking in tongues. Yes, at 10 years old. Lets you know how impressionable young minds are. Thinking back on it now, it was silliness, but it was serious to me. There are not many details of this time in my life. Just not a lot really happening in the small town that really had an impact on me. Little did I know how much things would change. We moved again.

January 20, 2008

Staying Out Of The Way

A few weeks ago, I was just talking with someone about things. I had no agenda, I was just there because I felt like being there. The person I was talking to, was reminiscing, and I gave them my perspective on those things. I was not trying to convince, manipulate, or do anything. Just talking with a friend. So imagine my surprise when this person made a conscious commitment to God. When giving the reasoning, they were what I had said, almost word for word. At the time I had forgotten the conversation. It took a while to remember the whole conversation, but when I did, I just smiled. God did something, and I had no idea that he had used me. I had no clue that this other person was in the middle of making a decision, had no clue of the spiritual turmoil. But this person is very special to me, I pray for him everyday. I am very grateful that I did not try to persuade this person, I would have only screwed it up.

Too often times, we in our conceit, think that we can doo things better than God. What we then do, is step outside of who he made us, and try to be something we think will be pleasing to God. Well, God is pleased with the person he made, you don't have to be anyone else. So when we step into any situation trying to help, it doesn't work. I like to tell my daughter, "unwanted help, is called nuisance." That is what we do to God when we try to "help God" do his thing. So when God is calling, do what you feel him asking you to do, no more.

January 18, 2008

4 Things/#4 We Are All God's Children

Many people love to quote that, "The path is straight and narrow." Many believe that there is only one path. I have been led by the Holy Spirit to believe that for each person there is only one path. The path that God would like them on. So for many of you who know me, this next part will sound really weird.

That some people who go to doctrinal organizations, (churches) are supposed to be there. Because the nature that God gave them is nurtured best in a stable non-changing environment. That those who are following blindly the leaders in front of them, are also following God to the best of their ability. That is all God asks.

It does not matter how people get the message of salvation, only that they get it. If it is the message of repentence, confession, faith in God, belief in Jesus grace, and obedience, you have it. It is how you live it afterwards, is what matters.

Living it is under two commandments. 1. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. Also, doing these things, with a heart of a servant. One that is happy to fulfill the master's wishes as best they can.

No matter where these people happen to choose to worship, pray, go to church, not go to church, etc.. etc.. If these things are evident,then they are Gods children too.

January 1, 2008

He Was A Good Shit

I don't know any higher words of praise that exist. Considering 45 years ago, that person would not have even had the opportunity of knowing my father had he lived in this town. When my father was 22, he was a strict, let me rephrase that, STIRCT!!!!! baptist. He would not play cards, allow my sisters to wear pants, play secular music, dance, go into a bar, go anyplace that served alcohol, associate with hippies, (they are all homosexual drug addicts) talk to people with tattoos, piercings (ears included, that is for whores) etc....

Yet, throughout the years, listening to the Holy Spirit, my father has done most of those things that he said he would never do as a good christian. The person that told me that my father was a good shit, was Susie, the bar owner's Mom. Even though my father passed on, life goes on. Plus I needed a drink and it was New Years Eve. When Susie ask about us, we told them why we were there, and then she paid him that compliment. Back in the day, my father would have never set foot in a bar, so he never would have met Susie. Or found people that needed to hear what he had to say. He would have kept trying to get them to go to the REVIVAL meeting, to get saved. But he learned to love everyone. He danced with my sister in law at her wedding. Every child there, gawked at that. And smiled at that. We remember the old attitudes.

The reason that this particular compliment is so powerful to me, is that, my father followed the Holy Spirit no matter what. Even when it went against his church taught beliefs. Even when people thought him strange, which was often. It lead him from the paths of strict behavioral patterns that some doctrines require, to the place where everyone was accepted and loved. No matter what. Not lip service, but actual love. He became a servant, not a leader, but a follower, a follower of the Holy Spirit. And in following the Holy Spirit, he became a leader of men.

He was the perfect example to have for a father, husband, and spiritual leader. He practiced what he preached. If he didn't believe it, he didn't teach it, and he would not act on it. When he made mistakes he told people of them, and ask for forgiveness. He became angry, fought with my mother, yelled at his kids, and worried about money. But he showed us how to do those things correctly. When he became angry, he never lost control, and always made a good character point. When he fought with my mother, he never became personal, stuck to the issue, and backed down, even if he thought he was right, if he could see it was really important to my mother. Yelling at us kids, well, we needed yelling at, and spanked too. But always for a reason, and we knew why, and we always deserved it. When he worried about money, he also prayed about money, and showed us God's providence again and again.

He is the man I respect and admire the most. He is the only truly righteous man I have ever known. He was a husband that taught me how to be a good husband. The father that taught me to be a good father. The man, that taught me to be a man. I love him, and will miss him, until I see him again.