Chapter 03

This Is Christian
Education ?

My brief time with John in the park turned out to be more
frustrating than helpful. Though I left that day excited about
new possibilities and sailed through the rest of the day with
none of the stress that had overwhelmed me earlier, the excitement
quickly faded.
I had a hard time remembering all he’d said and thought of
a hundred questions I wished that I had asked him. The fact
that our time was so short and that he was unwilling to make
any other arrangements made me angry.
Who was he anyway?
Could he be a madman stalking me?
But he didn’t act mad. I had felt completely comfortable
talking with him.

It reminded me of the conversations I used to have with my dad
before he passed away five years ago in a car accident.
Strangely, I felt a similar affection for John, whoever he was. He had fueled my hunger to know Jesus better,
which had not diminished in the months that passed, though my efforts to feed that hunger had failed miserably.
After that encounter I set aside forty-five minutes each morning before the rest of the family woke up
to read the Bible and pray. Though I had been faithful to do it every day,
I couldn’t tell any difference at all. The same stresses of work and home had quickly crept back in.
None of my prayers seemed to have any impact even on those things I prayed about most diligently.
I was discouraged, but nonetheless remained persistent.

I had hoped by now I would have crossed paths with John again, but it hadn’t happened.
For a few weeks I caught myself looking for him everywhere. I didn’t go to a store, eat at a restaurant
or even drive down the street without scanning every person to see if he was there.
Occasionally I’d spot someone similar enough in build or gait to actually make my heart skip a beat.
But as I got closer my hopes were dashed time and time again.
I even drove out of my way a few times to check the bench at the park.

Imagine my surprise five months later when I saw his familiar
face where I least expected to find it—
peering through the diamond shaped window of one of our sanctuary doors.

It was Sunday morning during our largest worship service, and I was walking back up the center aisle
with my best ” whatever-would they- do-without-me  “ face,
having just eliminated an annoying hum from our state-of-the-art sound system.
All I had done was jiggle a few wires plugged in beneath the stage, but that had done the trick.

I could feel people’s eyes watching me walk up the aisle, even though the pastor was praying at the time.
I kept my head down until I got near my row when I took one quick look up the aisle.
There he was. There was no mistaking those eyes, and my heart almost stopped as I recognized him.

Walking past my vacant seat I slid out through the other half of the double doors. He stood there with a frown on his face,
and I remember thinking how awkward and out of place he looked in our building. I don’t know why it hit me that way.
It wasn’t his clothes. He was wearing a polo shirt and a pair of Dockers, more than appropriate
for our informal California services.

We had others with similar beards and longer hair looking like holdovers from the hippie days. But he just
somehow looked out of place.
“John, what are you doing here?” I whispered.
He turned toward me slowly, smiled to acknowledge my presence and turned back to look inside. After a few moments
he finally spoke: “I thought I’d see if you had some time to talk?”

“Where have you been? I’ve looked for you everywhere.” He just kept staring through the window.
“I’d love to talk, but now is not a good time. Our biggest service is going on in there.”
He didn’t turn away from the window this time, “Yes, I noticed.”
Inside I could hear the congregation standing up as the worship team began to play the introduction to the next
song.

“How about later? After service?”
“I’m just passing through and thought I’d see how you were doing.
Are you finding some answers to your questions?”
“I don’t know. I’m doing everything I know to do.
My devotional life is really coming around, better than it has ever been.”

His silence told me I hadn’t answered the question.
I thought I might wait him out, but it got so awkward I couldn’t help speaking again. “Oh…well…how can I say this?
I guess not. In fact, it seems like the harder I try the emptier and more frustrated I feel.
It just doesn’t seem worth the effort.”

“Good,” John nodded, still staring into the sanctuary. “Then you’ve learned something valuable, haven’t you?”
“What?” I thought he’d misunderstood me. “I said it wasn’t working. I’ve really been trying hard and nothing seems to be
happening. How is that good? It only makes me angry.”
“I understood,” John replied, turning towards me again. “Do you want to know why?

Come, I’ll show you.”

With that he turned and motioned with his head for me to follow and started toward the hallway that leads to our education wing. As he walked away from me, I glanced back in the sanctuary. I can’t follow him now….
I am supposed to be in that service. What if the sound system acts up again? What if…?
He was turning the corner now. I’d lost him that way once before, hadn’t I?
With no time to think it through, I dashed across the foyer to find him.
Rounding the corner I almost knocked over a young family coming the other way. I apologized for bumping into them, but they didn’t seem to acknowledge it. Their faces melted with embarrassment.

“The one time we’re late,” the wife sighed, “and look who has to catch us—one of the pastors!
Honest, we never come late.” Over her shoulder I saw John had stopped to wait for me.
He was leaning against the wall and watching our exchange.
His eyebrows were arched upward and the smirk on his face looked like a playful, “Caught you!”
Suddenly I felt like the church police. I had made a major
announcement two Sundays ago about how important it is to be on time
so we don’t disrupt other worshippers by coming in late.

I felt John’s ears zeroing in on our conversation.
“We had a flat tire on the way,” the husband offered.
“You’re lucky. I’m not giving out tardy slips today.” I laughed, hoping to smooth over their awkwardness and mine.
“I’m just glad you’re here.” I hugged them both and walked with them back to the sanctuary doors. As I pulled them open an usher turned to help them find a seat.

I dashed across the lobby and turned up the hallway to the
education wing. There he was standing in front of our Sunday
school bulletin board, his eyes arching over the top of it following
the three-inch letters that read:

I WAS GLAD WHEN THEY SAID TO ME, LET US GO TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.

“What’s that mean?” He asked, drawing an imaginary
rainbow with his index finger tracing the words.
“That we should enjoy being in God’s presence.”
My voice involuntarily turned up at the end making my answer sound more like a question.
“Good answer. Why is it here?”
“That’s our mission statement for Christian education.”
I answered, trying to appear nonchalant, but I knew he was
driving at something. I just wasn’t sure what it was.
“We are trying to provide an atmosphere where the kids really enjoy coming to their classes.”
“And ‘the house of the Lord’, would that be this building?”

He pointed down both ends of the hallway.
Oops. I didn’t like where this was going. After a pause, I responded, “Well, of course we all know it means something
greater than this.” I was desperate for a right answer here,
but I had the uneasy feeling that I didn’t have one in my arsenal.

“But what do people think who read this?”
“They probably take it to mean coming to our church.”
“Is that what you want them to think?”
I decided if I didn’t answer we would move on. But he again
let the silence hang longer than I could bear. “I guess we do.”
“Don’t you realize that the most powerful thing about the
gospel is that it liberates us from the concept that God dwells
in any building?

For a people steeped in the rites of temple
worship this was either great or terrible news. His followers
thought it was great. No longer did they have to think of God
as cloaked in the recesses of the temple, available only to special people at select times.”

I detected sadness in his voice and stood silent a moment.
“So then, Jake, if it isn’t this building, where is God’s house?”
“We are.” I shook my head at how stupid that sign looked to me now.
I wonder if John knew it had been my idea to begin with. I certainly was not going to tell him.
“Then how can anyone go to themselves?” He sighed with frustration. “Do you remember what Stephen said right before
they picked up stones to kill him?”
‘The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.’
That’s when they turned on him. It reminded them of Jesus’ challenge to destroy
the temple and he would rebuild it in three days.
People can get very touchy about their buildings, especially if they think God dwells in them.”

I didn’t say anything, I just nodded my head in agreement.
“And are they glad when they come?”
It took me a moment to figure out what he meant. “We hope so. We go to an awful lot of work.”
“It certainly looks that way.” John’s eyes were roving all
over the bulletin board where announcements about training
seminars, staff meetings, class activities and request forms for supplies spilled over the edges.

“A quality program takes a lot of work.”
“Undoubtedly.  And not a little bit of guilt, either, to say nothing of manipulation.”
I followed his eyes to the center of our teacher-recruitment poster.
It was a full color depiction of a teenager in punk garb on an urban street at night.
In big letters down the left side it read. “If only someone would have
taken the time to teach him about Jesus. Volunteer today.”

“Guilt? Manipulation? We’re not trying to make anyone feel
guilty, just giving them facts.”
He shook his head and started walking down the hall.
I glanced back up the hall toward the sanctuary, knowing that’s
where I should be. But instead I quickly decided I’d better stay
with John who had already turned down another hallway.

As I rounded the corner I could hear the strains of children
singing, We’re all in our places, with bright shining faces
Good morning to you! Good morning to you!
John was peeking through the partially opened door.
Rows of first graders sat facing the teacher in their miniature chairs.
As the song ended, there was lots of squirming, poking and laughter.
One boy dressed in a bright blue sweater vest turned
around to stick out his tongue at one of the girls. When he did
he caught sight of us looking at him and immediately turned
back around and pretended to pay attention.

We couldn’t see the teacher from our vantage point, but we
could hear her pleading voice shouting from our right.
“Let’s say our memory verse,” she shouted. “Come on!
Settle down or there will be no snack later.” Apparently the
threat was effective because the room went silent.
“Who knows their memory verse?” Hands shot up
throughout the classroom. “Let’s say it together. ‘I was glad
when they said to me,’” the staccato voices never changed
pitch. “‘Let us go to the house of the Lord, Psalm 122 verse
one.’” Most voices had faded out for the reference except for
one girl who wanted every one to know she knew it.
“And what does it mean?” the teacher shouted above the
rising noise.
Two hands shot up, one of them the same girl who had
repeated the reference so loudly. “Sherri, tell us!”

“That’s my girl,” I whispered to John.
The girl stood up. “It means that we should enjoy coming to
church, because this is where God lives.”
“That’s right,” the teacher said as I felt my face flush with embarrassment.

I shrugged my shoulders when John turned to smile playfully
at me. Then he soundlessly mouthed two words: “It’s working.”
The smile on his face pulled the plug on my embarrassment.
He made it so clear that he wasn’t here to shame me.
When we both turned back to the class, the teacher was
passing out golden stars made from foil for children to stick up
on a chart on the wall. We used them for things like attendance,
memory verse, and if the children brought their Bibles. The
class was in chaos as kids were getting their stars, dodging each
other while finding their name on the chart and then licking their stickers in place.

When the class got back to their seats, the teacher went to
the chart and pointed down a few of the rows. “Look at all the stars Bobby has.
Sherri is doing well, too, as are Liz and Kelly.
Don’t forget the five top Superstars will get a special prize at the
end of the quarter. So, let’s work hard. Make sure you come
every week, bring your Bible and work on your memory verse.”
“Making a list and checking it twice?” John sang softly. It
took me a minute to realize that was a Santa Claus song, not
one of ours. “Seen enough?” he asked, turning towards me.
“What? Oh, me. I’m just watching you. I already know what
goes on in there.”
“I’m not sure you do.” John turned away from the window
and walked a little further down the hall, stopping finally alongside
the water fountain. His right arm crossed his chest with his
left elbow resting on it, his left hand massaging his down-turned forehead.

“Jake, did you see that boy sitting next to your daughter in
the shorts and light yellow T-shirt?”
“No, not specifically.”
“Well, I’m not surprised. There wasn’t much to look at really.
He wasn’t making any noise, just sitting there with his head down and his arms folded.”
“Oh, I know who you’re talking about. That must be Benji.”

“Benji. Did you notice that he didn’t know one word of the
memory verse and he didn’t even go up to get the star he earned just for coming today?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“How do you think all that made him feel?”
“I hope it made him want to do better; to bring his Bible, to
come more often and to memorize his verses. That’s how we
motivate the kids. Everyone does it. It is for a good purpose.”

“But how is he ever going to compete against… Sherri, was it?
Are his parents as supportive as you are?”
“He only has his mom and has never seen his dad. She’s a
hard worker and loves him a lot, but you know how tough single
parenting can be. I can’t even imagine it myself.”
“Do you think Benji will go away encouraged?”
“That’s what we’re hoping.”

I thought of Benji sitting there with a distant look I’d seen so many times.
“But I guess we’d have to say it hasn’t worked for him yet, although it works for
most of the other kids.
We have one of the most successful children’s ministries in the city.”

“Is it your point that Sherri’s feelings of accomplishment are worth Benji’s shame?”
I tried to answer his question, but couldn’t think of anything to say that didn’t sound incredibly stupid.
“Did you go to Sunday school, Jake, when you were young?”
“I did.
My parents literally raised us at church.
I even won a Bible for memorizing 153 Bible verses in one three-month contest.”
John’s eyes popped open. “Really?
And what drove you to that?”
“The winner got a brand new Bible.”
“And I suppose you probably didn’t even need one.”

I paused a moment, remembering that my parents had
bought me a Bible shortly before that. I cocked my head and
squinted my eyes at him bewilderedly as if to say, how did you know?

“The ones who usually win don’t need the prize.”

“I did have another Bible, but this was special. I won it.”
“A hundred and fifty three? That’s a lot of verses.”
“Memorizing has always come easy for me. I just read a verse over a couple of times and I’ve got it. It really wasn’t hard. Most verses I memorized in the morning before church.”
“How many verses did the second place person memorize?”
“About 35 if I remember right. I really blew them away.”
“And you’re thinking all of this is a healthy demonstration of spiritual fervor?”
Well, now that you question it…, I thought, but remained silent.

“What else did you win?”
“When I was around 10, I received a gold-plated pin for two
years of consecutive Sunday school attendance. The pastor
gave it to me one Sunday morning in front of the whole church.
You should have heard the applause. I will never forget how special I felt.”
“It gave you something to live for, didn’t it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t that what you’ve been seeking ever since, that feeling of being special?”

It was as if a veil had just been lifted off my eyes. Most of my
decisions had been made craving the recognition and honor of
other people. I loved people’s approval and often fantasized
about it. If the truth be told, that was probably the strongest
draw in leaving my real estate job and taking a position in ministry,
where I could be up front, well-known and appreciated.

“Did that one moment cause all of that?”

“Of course not. It was a lot of moments like that, exposing
and nourishing a desire you already had way down here.”
He pointed to my chest. “Who doesn’t want to be liked and appreciated?
It’s an easy thing to use when you’re trying to motivate
people to do good things.
The larger question is, did all that memorization and attendance help you know Father better?”

“What’s easier for you to do, pursue relationship with the Father or your own sense of personal success?
That’s the real test. It seems to me you wouldn’t be so desperate if it had really
taught you how to know Father’s love.
Instead, you’re so busy seeking everyone’s approval, you don’t realize you already have his.”
“What do you mean?
How could I have his approval when I’m still struggling so?”

“Because you are struggling for the wrong thing. You think
that you can earn Father’s approval. We’re approved not by
anything we can do, but by what he did for us on the cross.

Honestly, Jake, there’s not one thing you can do to make him
love you any more today; and there’s not one thing you can do
to make him love you any less either. He just loves you.
“It is your security in that love that will change you, not your struggle to try and earn it.”

My eyes began to moisten with tears. He had unlocked something I’d never considered before.
“So all my efforts are in vain?”
“If they are directed at trying to get him to love you more, yes they are.
If you never counseled another person or taught another class, Jake, he would love you no less.”

What?
I was speechless. I wanted to believe him, but he had just challenged everything I had ever worked for.
While it would explain why so many of my efforts had fallen short, I had
no idea how to embrace what he just said.
Was I really trying to earn what he had already given?

After a few moments, John pushed away from the wall and
started walking further down the hallway and I took up my position alongside him.
“You know that morning you got the attendance pin?
If that pastor would have really loved you, do you know what he would have said?

‘Ladies and gentlemen, we want to introduce a young man who has just completed a two-year span of
never missing a Sunday school class. We want to pray for him because that means his family’s priorities are so askew that for the last two years they never took a vacation together.
It means he probably came here when he was sick and should have been home resting. It means that winning a gold-plated trinket like this one and your approval is more important to him than being
your brother.
And not one day of his attendance will draw him any closer to God.’”

“That might have been a little rude,” I countered.
“And a set-up, certainly, Jake. But if he had, perhaps you
wouldn’t pursue the approval which does far more to distract you from God than it does to open you up to him.”
“What you’re saying, then, is that using approval to reward Sherri is not only hurtful to Benji, but harmful to Sherri too?”
He punched the air with his index finger as if to tap an imaginary
button. “Bingo! Do you know that more than 90% of
children who grow up in Sunday school leave the congregation when they leave their parents’ home?”

“I have heard that. We blame that on the public schools that disaffect children from their faith.”
John raised his eyes incredulously. “Really? … That’s convenient.”
“Well, we’re doing our part,” I said defensively.
“In more ways than you’ve seen so far.”
“So you’re saying everything I learned bad about God I learned in Sunday school.” I could hear the mockery and frustration in my own voice.
“Well, not quite. I didn’t say it was all bad.”
“How could it be? We teach the kids about God and the Bible, and how to be good Christians.

” My voice faded out as it dawned on me that learning about God and what it means to be a good Christian was not the same as learning to walk with him.
“What I want you to see is that laced through the wonderful things you have here is a system of religious obligation that distorts it all.
Until you see that, you’ll never know what it means to walk with Father.”

“Why’s that?”
“He’s done too much to free you from it, to reward it.
Certainly everything else in your life might be based on performance, …  but not relationship with him.
It’s not based on what we do, but on what he’s done.”
“So I’ve been trying too hard, is that what you’re saying? Is that why my efforts aren’t working?
Don’t we have to do our part?” I looked back at John.
“Not exactly,” said John with a slight chuckle under his breath. “But you are getting close.
It’s that you’re trying to earn a relationship you’ll never earn.

Men and women might give you acclaim for memorizing Scriptures or attending services,
but those are never going to be enough to earn a relationship.
Besides, you’re pursuing them not because you want to know
God, but because you want people to think that you’re spiritual And you know what?
That is what you’re getting out of it.”
“So that’s what Jesus meant when he said the Pharisees were doing things to be seen by others and they were getting their reward. But that’s not what I really want.”
“Good.
Can’t you see that the trail you’re on doesn’t go where you’ve been told it goes? It will make you a good
Christian in the eyes of others, but it will not let you know him.”

John didn’t seem to be walking any place in particular. Aimlessly
we strolled past classrooms and occasionally a person rushing
through the hallways.
I was so engaged in our discussion that I hadn’t noticed the strange looks people gave us. I would pay
for that later.

“So I can become an incredible Christian as far as everyone around me is concerned, and miss the real heart of it?”
“Isn’t that where you are? Look at this massive program here. Look at these buildings, the needs of the children, and
the demands of the machinery. What does it need to exist?”
“Obviously it needs people and money and an aura of spirituality, I guess.”
“And that’s what it rewards doesn’t it? How do you stay a member in good standing here?”
“Consistent attendance, giving and not living in obvious sin.”
“All sins?”
“What do you mean?”

“Well I don’t know about this place, but mostly there are some sins that aren’t allowed at all—usually sexual sins or teaching something the leaders don’t like.
But others just as destructive are ignored,
such as gossip, arrogance or condemning others.

Sometimes these are even rewarded, because we can use those
to get people to act the way we want them to.”
Even our sense of sin was selective. I could see it now.
I knew people who were able to exploit the system for their own gain, even if it hurt others.
I’d done it myself.
“Isn’t it interesting how a group of people who get together regularly will eventually develop an esprit de corps, even down to how people dress, talk, what reactions they allow and what songs they like to sing. Isn’t it pretty clear here what being a good Christian is, and isn’t a big part of that not to make any waves
or ask questions that make people uncomfortable?”
He got that right.

“One of the most significant lessons Jesus taught his disciples
was to stop looking for God’s life in the regimen of rituals and rules.

He came not to refurbish their religion, but to offer them a relationship.
Were all those healings on the Sabbath, and the recording of them,
just a coincidence that he found more sick people then?
Of course not!
He wanted his disciples to know that the rules and traditions of men
get in the way of the power and life of his Father.

“And it can be pretty captivating, too, because we all do what we do thinking it pleases God. No prison is as strong as religious obligation. It takes us captive even while we’re patting ourselves on the back.
I walked past a synagogue yesterday and the rabbi came outside and asked if I could come in and turn
some lights on for him. Someone had forgotten to do it the day before, and he couldn’t do it himself …
without breaking the Sabbath.”

“That’s pretty silly isn’t it?”
“To you it might be, and so would some of your rules and rituals seem to him?”
“Some of mine?
I don’t do anything like that about the Sabbath.”
“Of course not, but what if you missed Sunday morning services for a month–just stayed home;
or gave your tithe to the poor instead of putting it in the offering plate?”
“Those are the same thing?”
John nodded.
“Yes, but I do those things not because I think they’re law, but because I am free to.”

“The rabbi would say no different.
But if you were honest you’d see that you do them because you believe they make you
more acceptable to God and make him more favorably disposed to you. If you didn’t do them, you’d feel guilty.”
At the time I didn’t understand all the implications of his words, but I knew he was right.

When our church stopped having Sunday night services a few years back, it really bothered me. I had been to church virtually every Sunday night of my life and it took me two years before I could sit home without feeling  guilty, or scheduling some kind of fellowship time with people in the church so I’d feel productive.

“That’s why you can never relax, Jake. Even on your day off,
I bet you have a hard time just doing nothing. You feel guilty if you think you’re wasting time.”
As his words were soaking in, another song drifted up the hallway from one of the classes.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.

“There’s the worst of it,” John said, shaking his head in obvious pain. “I hate hearing little kids sing that song.”
For a moment I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.
The song was familiar. I had sung it since I was a child and had taught it to my own children because they enjoyed acting it out. Besides, I hoped knowing that God would see everything would help them make right choices.

“Are you saying there’s something wrong with that song?”

“You tell me.”
“I don’t know. It talks about the Father’s love for us and his desire to keep us from doing evil.”
“But what does he become in that song?”
“I don’t know what you’re driving at.”
“It takes wonderful words like ‘Father’ and ‘love’ and turns God into the divine policeman,
waiting behind the billboard with his radar gun.
Who wants to grow close to a Father like that? We can’t love what we fear.

You can’t foster a relationship with someone who is always checking your performance
to make sure it’s adequate enough to merit his friendship.

The more you focus on your own needs and failures,
the more distant Father will seem to you. Guilt does that.
It shoves us away from God in our time of need, instead of allowing us to run to him, presenting our greatest failures and questions so that we might receive his mercy and grace. Now we’ve invoked God
and his punishment to shore up our sense of what it means to be a good Christian.

“Do you see a Father here who understands our bent toward sin, who knows how weak we are, whose love wants to meet us  in our sinfulness and transform us to be his children, not based on our efforts but his?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever thought about that.”
“Oh yes you have.
Every time you sang it you thought of things your eyes had seen and your ears had heard
that God would disapprove of.
It made you feel bad, but feeling bad didn’t make you do any better.

So intellectually you are still thinking of Father’s love, but intuitively you are being distanced from him.
That’s the worst thing that religion does.

Who is going to draw near to God ? …  if he’s always trying to catch people at their worst moments,
or always punishing them for their failures?
We’re too weak for a God like that.
We use guilt to conform people’s behavior, never realizing the same guilt  will keep them far from God.”

We had come back to the foyer again. John stopped walking
and leaned back against the wall. I stood there with him for a moment.
“No wonder we’re always checking up on people, encouraging them to do the right thing, and rarely do we spend
time helping them understand what it is to relate to a Father who knows everything about them
and yet loves them completely.”

He nodded.
“That’s why Jesus’ death is so threatening to those bred in religious obligation. If you were sick of it, and
realized that it alone couldn’t open the doors to the relationship your heart cried out for, the cross was the greatest news
of all. If, however, you made your living or earned your status in the system, the cross was a scandal. Now we can be loved without doing one thing to earn it.”

“But won’t people misuse that as an excuse to serve themselves?”
“Of course,
but just because people abuse something doesn’t make it wrong.
If they want to live to themselves, it doesn’t matter that they claim some kind of false grace.
But to people who really want to know God, he’s the only one who can open that door.”

“That’s why my last few months have been so fruitless?”
“Exactly.
Relationship with him is his gift, freely given.
The point of the cross was that he could do for us what we could never do ourselves.
The key is not found in how much you love  and your relationship will begin to grow.”

“Then most of what we’re doing here is incredibly misdirected.
What would happen if we stopped it all?”
We had come back out now by the sanctuary and the closing
song filled the foyer as the ushers threw the doors open ready for the congregation to exit.
Had I been gone that long?

“That really isn’t the issue, is it Jake?
I’m talking about your relationship to the Living God, not fixing this institution.

Sure it would make for a drastic change. Instead of putting on a show, we would gather to celebrate his work in the lives of his people.  Instead of figuring out how we can get people to act more Christian,” we would help people get to know Jesus better and let him change them from the inside out.
It would revolutionize the life of the church and the lives of its people.
But it doesn’t begin there,” he said motioning toward the sanctuary doors,
“but here,” as he tapped himself on the chest.
One of the ushers looked over and saw me.

“Jake, there you are. Pastor was asking for you during the service. The sound system kept acting up and he kept calling for you.” “Oh crud!” I moaned. “I’ve got to go,” I said to John as I dashed through the doors just a step ahead of the flowing river of humanity.
I didn’t know what happened to John after that, but I knew there had to be some changes in my own life,

and to that Sunday school bulletin board.

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One comment on “Chapter 03

  1. Myrtle Back says:

    I really like this chapter (as I have both previous ones) it is very eye opening for me ,
    helping me to see things about myself that I hadn’t seen before (or should I say admitted to myself before)
    I’m thanking God for this

    Like

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