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Archive for June, 2010

Everyone needs accountability–even the godliest of Christians

Two years ago, I initially blogged about the need for accountability. Lately I’ve chatted about it with a few people. Sometimes we as Christians live in a vacuum and find it hard to understand why all Christians would need it. In the past few years, though, we’ve read of pastors stepping down from the pulpit due to immorality. Back in the 1980s, I remember this the mess Jimmy Swaggart made and how he tried to clean it up with his infamous “I have sinned speech”:

We know from the Bible what happens when you have no accountability. King Asa imprisoned a prophet who confronted him about his backsliding ways. He was, no doubt, a man not used to listening to what he didn’t want to hear. King David committed adultery and then murder and went on a spiritual spiral until the prophet Nathan stood before him and confronted him with this infamous words: “Thou art the man!” One has to wonder if David simply felt after writing many Psalms and being a man after God’s own heart that he was above needing accountability.

Wrong.

More recently, a Christian friend was telling me about how he once had a terse conversation with the head of a Christian ministry regarding the rough treatment of one particular employee at the ministry. One has to imagine if it was terse because the person being confronted wasn’t accustomed to someone telling what they didn’t want to hear.

It is a reminder for me to make sure I’m touching base regularly with those I’ve entrusted with my accountability. A Christian who isolates themselves and makes themselves believe they are completely immune to criticism are setting themselves up for a fall that’s spiritually and emotionally humiliating–not to mention the terrible testimony that will result.

Richard Zowie blogs about Christian issues. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

True Christianity advice can come from unlikely places

Lately, I’ve been chatting over e-mail with two people: Rhea and Gene. Rhea (pronounced “Ray”) was a classmate of mine at A.C. Jones High School back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rhea is not a Christian, but the comments he shared with me about Christianity revealed something fascinating: he’d actually make a great Christian. A chat about some basics in Christianity, including our interpretations of the Garden of Eden, show Rhea has a pretty strong grasp on basic theology–even more so that some elitist Christians I’ve met. Granted, I don’t always agree with Rhea, but he’s one person I enjoy chatting with because he’s fascinating. Some people, including many Christians I’ve met,┬ábore me beyond tears. Rhea is exactly the opposite.

I knew Gene at Pensacola Christian College. Those at PCC, no doubt, remember him very well. I remember that Gene became a Christian relatively late in life and grew up in Chicago in some mean neighborhoods. It was fun to hear stories of how tough he was back in the day. When I asked him about one story, his response suggested very strongly that his past was something neither to emulate nor remember.

Gene recently talked about how at PCC he stood up to a high-ranking administration member regarding the treatment of one particular person. Later, after leaving PCC, Gene was so stressed out over how he saw Christians treat others that he was at one point hospitalized. And now, when I read his Facebook postings, they’re one pearl of wisdom after another.

October 2011 will mark the 30th anniversary of when I became a Christian in Alvin, Texas, back in the ancient year 1981. As I approach 30 years and think of how I have still so much to learn about God, the Bible, Christianity, I find myself amazed that some of the people who grasp Christianity so well are Rhea (who’s not a Christian) and Gene (who became a Christian later in life and got off to a proverbial slow start).

It’s really ironic. For Christians like me, who are constantly striving to improve their spiritual lives and expand their intellect and wisdom (which often is tantamount to sprinting while up to your chest in a swimming pool), it’s a good idea to listen to both those who are viewing us from the outside and those who are newcomers. They bring a fresh perspective. And they just might know far more about our faith than what we realize.

Richard Zowie is a Christian who knows one thing for certain: he has a LOT left to learn. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Still looking for a church to attend

One of the things I love about working 54 hours a week is that it makes paying bills on time much, much easier.

One of the things I loathe about those hours is it makes it extremely difficult to try out local churches.

Since May, I’ve been to one church service. Otherwise I’ve had to work on Sundays or have been so tired from marathons on Saturday night and having to work another marathon Sunday afternoon that church has been difficult to get to.

What are we looking for? A church that teaches the Bible, preaches the Gospel and does not confuse personal preferences with convictions. (Yes, I know what Deuteronomy 22:6 says about women’s attire, but expecting a woman to wear only a dress up here in Michigan when it drops to -10 degrees below zero is ridiculous).

I have visited Vassar, Mich.’s First Baptist Church and found it to be pretty good. Frankenmuth Bible Church, where I went on Easter, wasn’t bad but overall just wasn’t a good fit for my family. I’d love to go to a church in Vassar, but I’m also noting to myself that it would not hurt to look at churches in Birch Run or Bridgeport.

Lord willing, soon I’ll have better news to report.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian since 1981 but still feels he has a great deal to learn. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Back up again soon

I would like to apologize for how dormant I have been recently with this blog. Lately, I’ve had to deal with what I like to call the Eighth Deadly Sin–procrastination.

Tomorrow begins early at me with a 4:45 a.m. wakeup call, but I will definitely return to blogging here regularly in the future.

God bless,

Richard Zowie

Richard’s Two Shekels