Like A Cat On A Leash…

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cat on a leashBetween the ages of four and five, my family was living in Iceland at the Keflavik Naval base. One afternoon, my dad came back home with a cat that he said was rescued from an abandoned car, and became our family pet. This cat didn’t like me too much, because–for reasons logical to my five-year-old mind at the time–I would always try to walk the cat like a dog. I would tie a belt around her neck and try to go for a walk with the poor thing. Of course, that cat wasn’t having any of it, and would do the passive-resistance thing by laying on her side and not moving while I tried dragging her along, urging to just walk instead of being dragged. It’s a miracle I didn’t inadvertently choke the poor thing to death.

Again, I was five. I didn’t know any better. My parents did punish me when they caught me doing it. Please keep the threats to my life to a minimum, they do get boorish after a while. Anyway…

I bring up this trip down amnesia lane for the purpose of illustrating another bit of truth about my daily wanderings in this post-Evangelical wilderness of mine: my flesh just doesn’t want to cooperate. Since endeavoring to become a disciple of Jesus Christ and not merely a follower (there is a difference; perhaps one day I will finally write about that as well…on the list it goes), and letting the Holy Spirit do His thing with the sanctification process that will be going on until the day I go Home, my flesh isn’t very happy about it.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.– Galatians 5:24-25

The thing about crucifixion as a means of execution is, it’s not the most efficient or even humanitarian way of being put to death. It could take hours, days, even weeks for the condemned person to finally die. In the meantime, it’s a very painful, very horrendous and slowly antagonizing death. The metaphor is very apt, as my flesh is slowly dying, being put to death by the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification on me, and it knows it’s dying. It can feel the death processes very clearly. And it’s not going to go without a fight.

Basically, when my flesh can’t get what it wants, when it feels it’s being dragged along by the Holy Spirit upon the leash that ties it to me, it does what the cat in Iceland did: it tries to make the process as rough as possible by laying down and dragging along. I want to follow the Holy Spirit, but my progress is being hindered by this dead weight not wanting to comply.

But, I seem to be in good company with this struggle. As the same guy who wrote the words in Galatians, also wrote this in Romans:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!– Romans 7:21-25

So, here I am, wanting to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but being bogged down by my flesh more often than not. I despair, but then I remember that the Apostle Paul himself struggled with the same thing. And if one of the greatest followers of Jesus Christ had trouble, what makes me think I’m going to get to the end of this path I follow unscathed?



My Dark Night of the Soul: Wretched

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dark night of the soulWords cannot express at how consistently amazed I am at the constant flow of grace and mercy that Father God gives me, despite my constant failings at striving to “be holy like He is holy”. My mouth says one thing, my mind knows what I should do, but I end up doing the opposite anyway. I am a wretch, my sinful self amplified, making me hyperaware of my state of wretchedness. But, that’s actually a good sign, as the Holy Spirit that dwells in me illuminates things, allowing not only His sanctification to progress, but shining also on the fact that it’s only the grace and mercy that flows over my by what Jesus Christ provided on the cross that gives me hope and joy.

I curse my wretched flesh, but I know it’s mortifying. The Holy Spirit continues its work in me, despite this dark night of my soul. I praise You, Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit…


On Bible Translations And Such…

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Headershelf of biblesSo, after several months of deliberation, I went and bought an NASB version Bible. You would think that I would already have one, what with my strong interest in studying the Scriptures and comparing translations and whatnot. Well, I do…except that doing just that is easier with the online resource sites, like Bible Gateway and others.

When it comes to hard copies of the Bible, I stick mainly to an NIV and NKJV, with a few RSVs around simply because I grew up in a church that used the RSV exclusively, and I somehow ended up inheriting them whenever a congregationalist died. Some day I’ll get around studying from that; but, ever since I started seriously studying the Bible when I was 19, I’ve mainly used an NIV.

The reason why I’ve stuck with the NIV has nothing to do with any idea of superiority over other translations. It’s just been the one that I’ve found to be the best to delve into and study the Word of God over the decades. And before you say anything, yes, I am very much aware of the various arguments against using the NIV, and I’ve investigated the claims and have come to the conclusion that the critics are more than a bit off with their criticisms. My faith has deepened and my love of my Lord and Saviour has strengthened by using the NIV. And, I still continue to use my well-worn Life Application study NIV. Giant Print, now. Less of a strain on my well-worn eyeballs.

So, why then have I started studying from a NASB? Well, some time ago, I took an online quiz pertaining to what kind of Bible translation goes best with my personality. I normally don’t put too much stock in these online quizzes (I once took a quiz on what kind of music I would like due to my personality, and the result was Girl Band), but I had some time to kill at work, and I thought I would be amused by the result.

Turns out, since I seem to take studying the Bible rather seriously, delving into the original languages and historical and cultural contexts to get the full meaning as a whole and favoring an exegetical style of learning, that I should consider studying from a New American Standard Bible. Which, I found intriguing, as I did know a couple of friends that did use that translation. Both had the usual “It’s the closest to the original languages in the literal translation” claim that I pretty much heard from everyone else using different translations. And the NASB is one of the two translations the pastor of my church recommends (the other being the New English Translation put out by Dallas Theological Seminary).

The second reason why I decided to finally get a hard copy of the NASB to begin studying from is because I have gone through the Bible a couple of times, and as much as I don’t like to admit this for fear of sounding less spiritual (whatever that means), I’ve been finding myself getting rather…apathetic about continuing on with the same translation. I’ve also been studying from the NKJV as I’ve mentioned earlier, but with the results of the quiz, I took some time to ponder getting an NASB to study from. To get a new perspective, refresh my desire to delve into the multi-layered richness that is God’s holy Scriptures.

So, I bought a relatively inexpensive Giant Print edition at one of the Christian bookstores in Omaha. Not Parables, in case anyone from my area is wondering. I’ve started off with the same book of the Bible that I always start off with when breaking in a new Bible: the Gospel of John. Here begins my continuing journey to keep His words in my heart and mind. Cheers, all.




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41S+K+dTvML._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Addie Zierman
Convergent Books

To the general outsider, American Evangelical Christianity (TM) can seem, at best, rather odd. As someone who has spent the better part of a decade within this, shall we say, unique bunch of bright-eyed believers, I can attest that we can, at times, seem like an altogether alien sub-culture. That was a lot of alteration that I just used, there.Anyway, we have our own language (Christianese), our own music genre, our own movies and art, and so many stylized varieties of ministries and outreaches it’s a wonder why most of the world hasn’t been converted yet. Well, it’s not really that much of a wonder, but since this is a book review and not one of my annoying blog rants, I shall digress.

When We Were On Fire was the second book I purchased from Google Play, after testing the e-reader waters to see if it would be a good fit for this old-school bibliophile. I’m always interested to hear and read about other people’s’ experiences with American Evangelical Christianity (TM), and how it impacted their faith, for better or worse. And this title seemed intriguing, to say the very least.

Here, author Addie Zierman goes through her experiences growing up as an Evangelical teenager, an on-fire adolescent spearheading and getting involved with various student and youth endeavors in the name of Jesus evangelism, and traces her journey through college, when everything faith-related seem to fall apart, through to her finally rebuilding from the resulting debris, reforming her faith as an adult.

I absolutely adore When We Were On Fire. It has an inviting laid back conversational style, but is also unflinchingly honest with the narrative. Meaning, this isn’t an easy book to read, yet at the same time you won’t be able to put it down. For some, reading When We Were On Fire will be a look into a side of American Christianity they’ve never experienced; for many others–like myself–reading this memoir will trigger many flashbacks to our own experiences of a time that we remember as “The 90s”. Specifically, two things really stuck out at me while reading this: One was her recounting her first boyfriend in high school, which turned out to be rather toxic in that he would use God as a means of manipulation (I cringe, because I recognized my old self in the boyfriend, really), and her experiences with Youth With A Mission, aka YWAM, one of the many evangelical youth outreaches that have had their fair share of controversy come out of the woodwork. I remember specifically, I once went to a YWAM-affiliated event called Aquire The Fire, where I very narrowly avoided getting signed up with YWAM. Reading this (plus the stories of other former YWAM workers), it’s rather evident what kind of a bullet I managed to dodge, there.

Overall, reading When We Were On Fire, you not only grow to appreciate Mz. Zierman’s honesty with her journey, but also how she managed to maintain her sense of humor with all of this. I highly recommend this book, not only for those who’ve been through these things, but also for those who haven’t, to gain a perspective that can be lost with all of the hype. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.



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skull spiderI do admit to being what others would refer to as provocative. Blame it on my tendency to not being satisfied with mere pat answers, or just taking things at face value. It’s not that I set out to play Devil’s Advocate with everything and everyone; part of my wrestling with my faith involves examining things from multiple angles and perspectives and not settling into a comfortable pathos.

For instance, I once made a shirt that said What Would Satan Do? Aside from being a response to the popularity of the What Would Jesus Do? merchandise that was everywhere at the time, I think that’s a good question for Christians to consider. Wise as serpents and innocent as doves, and all that.

One particular shirt, however, seemed to really get under everyone’s skin when it really shouldn’t have. I was at Cornerstone 2002, and was perusing the merch tents one hot and sultry afternoon. One table set up sold an array of shirts, one of which had I KILLED JESUS in big letters on it. This shirt called to me. It perfectly communicated, in shirt form, that because of my sins Jesus died on the cross. I was found guilty, but Jesus died in my place to atone for my sins. Also, the cotton blend was lightweight yet durable, and most importantly, it concealed my upper torso. So, I bought it, and immediately changed into it outside behind the merch tent.

To put a context to the reaction to the shirt–earlier in the fest, I was wearing the previously mentioned What Would Satan Do? shirt. Nobody bats an eye. As a matter of fact, I had a couple of people ask where they could buy one for themselves. I change into the I KILLED JESUS shirt, and suddenly I find myself unable to go ten minutes without someone stopping me to ask what my problem was. What was I thinking, wearing a shirt that said I KILLED JESUS at a festival that catered to Christian music and arts? You would have thought I was wearing the Cradle Of Filth shirt that said JESUS IS A [derogatory misogynist slur] on the back. Several times, I had to explain the meaning behind it, that not only did I kill Jesus, but they did too, for the same reason. It finally got to the point where I began answering with, “He got better,” and left it at that.

Mind you, I’m far from naive, thinking that everyone who attended Cornerstone was a professing Christian and were familiar with the core doctrines of the faith. But, I did find the nature of the questions and statements interesting. Could it be that, in this day and age, that the reason for Christ coming in the first place is becoming taboo in Christian circles? I admitting to any kind of sinful nature, and thus necessitating a perfect sacrifice for atonement, just not in keeping with living a victorious life? Or are some just simply unaware of Jesus’ death and resurrection to begin with? Like, they read the Gospel accounts and just stop reading when things get to the Last Supper, like shutting off Old Yeller before the dog gets rabies, unaware of the ending?

Or, perhaps they are aware of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but are still squicky to admitting it was our sins and separation from God that lead to His death on the cross? We’re quick to place the blame on the Jews, or the Romans, or whatever. I know all too well, however, it was I who nailed Him to the cross. As well as you. And everyone else who has ever lived. And I will continue to admit it openly: I killed Jesus. But fortunately, it didn’t end there.

I am a great sinner. But I serve a great Saviour. Cheers, my wonderful freaks…




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Here we are, the so-called “Dog Days” of summer. It’s nearly the middle of August already. Soon, it shall be September, and leading into my favorite time of the year. But for now, I’m taking a bit time to bring everyone up-to-date as to my self-imposed wandering around the wilderness that set on at the end of April.

You might recall the reason for my doing this, but just in case there is need of a refresher, this should bring you up to speed. Needless to say, while I’ve been keeping to myself mainly during my spiritual…quest? Does that sound too pretentious? I’m sure I’ll think of a better word hours after I’ve posted this. Anyway, despite this being somewhat private for me, I thought a bit of blogging about things so far will do me some good.

The thing to understand, first off, about so-called Wilderness Times, or wanderings, or Desert Times, or whatever spiritually-sounding euphemism you want to go with, is that they never really go the way you expect them to do. You start off, thinking you’re going to go out and isolate yourself (figuratively in my sense; I’ve known plenty who have done so literally…and a couple with a literal wilderness and/or desert of some sort), and spend one-on-one time with Father God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and have a splendid time and grow spiritually and find out my next chapter in my life and blah blah blah. I always get these Disney-fied ideas of what I think is going to happen: I walk outside to a sun-shiny morning, a bird or two land on my shoulder or my outstretched finger, a deer wanders out of the bushes, along with maybe some bunnies or squirrels or something, and then the Hillsong United song starts playing out of nowhere and everyone’s singing along. Then I read the Verse of the Day on, and the rest of the day just falls together perfectly. You know, much like it happened with Jesus for those forty days in the desert [citation needed].

But then, you say something stupid. And by “stupid”, I mean “in a superficial manner”, or “glibly”, “thoughtlessly”. During your prayers or whatnot, you say or write down something like, “Break me,” or “Refine me with Your Holy Fire, o Lord my God”. Because it sounds so gosh-darned super-spiritual, right? Been there, done that. I never really meant it back when I said those things before. I would say, “refine me in Your fire,” during my prayer sessions, sometimes out loud with others who were praying with me, not really expecting much of anything to come of it.

But then, a funny thing happened, something some of you who have been through this before could see coming from miles away: God said, “Okay,” and took me up on it. Not to get into details on that, on account this is about my current Wilderness Wandering thing, but the point is that God was serious about His relationship with me, even though I, for lack of a better turn of phrase, wasn’t. To say that was a wake-up call is to understate things greatly. And in case you were wondering, that happened when I was 19. I’m 43 at the time of this writing, and the whole “refinement” process is still an ongoing thing.

Through the years, I may have a much deeper understanding on how serious God is with His love and desire for me to be sanctified through His Holy Spirit; but no matter how many Wilderness Wanderings I go on, He always manages to pull the rug out from under me, completely destroy my preconceived ideas of what to expect, and brings up some dross I never knew I had.

The refining process sucks. It always does, and never gets easier, no matter how many of these I go through. There’s no sugar-coating this for you freshly-minted-by-the-Holy Spirit types: If you’re serious about your faith and not just playing some stupid Christian game, God is going to do the same with you. But…it’s a good thing. Just like it is with what I’m going through right now.

As to what that is…I’m not ready to share that specific detail. I’m still wrestling with it, sometimes late through the night, letting the Holy Spirit to His thing, trying to suss out everything in my head. It’s complicated. Maybe one day I’ll be able to put it in words. I can say I’ve talked about it with a couple of people from church that I trust with this information, which has helped a bit. But for now, I continue to wander the wilderness, seeking God and letting Him be Who He is and all that.

That’s it for now. Any questions and/or comments can be directed to my email:

Cheers, all.



Baptisms, the Death of an Icon, and a New Doctor…

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[NOTE: This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I forgot to email it to me after work; sorry about the tardiness – Uncle NecRo]

I have just emerged from a rather surprisingly full weekend. I never plan these as such; they just happen to…well, happen. Mostly, though, it was the Sunday of the two days that fall under my Blessed Days Off from my Place of Enslavement Employment. I wasn’t really running around a lot, but there were some things that made my head swim a bit.

baptism church birthday

The first thing that happened on July 16th was the first ever Baptism Service at my church. This also functioned as part of the One Year Birthday of the formation of said church that I’ve been involved with since the split with my former church. Fifteen…or sixteen, I can’t recall exactly…souls were baptized in the Blair swimming pool as an outward expression of their faith in Christ Jesus. We had set up in the parking lot for the worship service; I set up near them, at the best place I could find that was in the shade. Then, of course, after a few minutes, the Daystar found its way through the shade and stabbed me in the eyeballs. No matter where I moved to, it found me. Gads. So, for a little while, through the worship singing portion, I had to endure the angry ball of fire’s rays, and hope not to burst into flames in front of everyone. That would have been embarrassing. Fortunately, the trees managed to obscure the sun once again, putting me in some shade by the time the sermon came about. Fortunately, it was a truncated 15-minute sermon, so that it could include the baptisms. The sermon’s message in keeping with the event. Everyone was baptized, then it was time for the birthday celebration by way of a massive grillout potluck picnic, with a couple of bouncy castles set up for the kids. The heat of the day was getting redonkulous, with the heat index starting to soar as high as eagle. Weather sucking mighty buffalo. As such, I decided to forego the picnic lunch and the inevitable mingling that came with it (did I mention my anxiety level was starting to rise along with the heat? No? Huh…), and left as everyone was standing in line for their lunchy-munchy. I just picked up some drive-thru stuffs and headed back to the Haunted Victorian, ate my din-din and then settled in for a much-needed extended nap.

The thing about naps is, sooner or later you have to wake up from them. And so was the case with this one: I woke up, and had to once again exist in the “real world”. Eh, standard Sunday afternoon. Late afternoon. Okay, it was early evening. I sleep a bit more than your average individual. I think it may be hypersomnia due to my crippling depression issues. Either way, it was close to 6pm, and I wasn’t hungry yet due to the ginormous nature of the fast food item I consumed upon arriving back at the Haunted Victorian around 1-ish. So I fire up the Fun-Sized Lappy, summon the interwebs, and the first thing I am greeted with upon signing into my Facebook page is a news item that the legendary George A. Romero had passed away.

george a romero

For those of you sad, deprived individuals who don’t know who George A. Romero is, he is the man that helped to not only redefine the zombie horror genre to what we recognize as today with the release of Night Of The Living Dead in 1968 (undead ghouls who wander about and only want to eat your flesh and nummy brains…up until then, “zombies” were of the voodoo magick variety), he also inspired generations thereafter in the art of independent filmmaking. He made more than just a bunch of post-modern zombie flicks, and didn’t just stick to directing, either. Nor did his influence remain in movie making, as several novelists and artists cite him as a great influence in what they do.

As for me, Romero helped to rekindle my love for the horror genre as not only an entertainment outlet, but also as a genuine means of conveying a message in a subversive manner. I salute you, good sir; and should you once again rise from the grave, I shan’t forget to double-tap.

The next thing that grabbed my attention from my nap-induced haze that was slowly clearing off, was the official introduction of the next Doctor. At first, I thought it was one of those fake-outs that have been making the rounds, the ones made by fans and such. But, no, this was an official BBC release: The next Doctor on Doctor Who will be played by one Jodie Whittaker. So, after months of denying that the 13th Doctor was going to be a woman, they finally came out and said that, yes, the 13th Doctor is going to be a woman.

13th doctor

Up front, I have to say that I am completely on board with this. I’m intrigued with the possibilities with this new dynamic. Hopefully the writers won’t go the route of “Hey, I’m the Doctor, and now I’m a girl!” and really write some compelling yarns with the character. That said, there were two points of irritation that immediately hit me the moment I saw the announcement: first of all, they do this all the time, denying something’s gonna happen, and then it happens to be the very thing they’re denying. “It’s Missy in that vault, right?” “Nope, it’s something different.” Then it turns out it was Missy all along. Same thing here: “Nope, we’re not looking at a female actor to be the new Doctor.” I understand the need to play things close to the vest in these instances, especially with the show changing producers as well as lead characters, but this is the same thing the previous show runners did since the relaunch in 2005. I just can’t help but think my intelligence had been insulted a bit, is all.

The second thing that kind of irritated me about this, was that the reveal was so far in advance of the Christmas Special, where traditionally the regeneration into the next Doctor would take place in modern Who. More or less. Now…there’s really no surprise. I don’t know, and maybe I’m in the minority here, but I should think something as momentous as this would call for secrecy until the actual Christmas Special. I realize that trying to keep a lid on this in this day and age of instant news leakage is nigh impossible at times, but think about the impact that could have happened when, finally, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor–my favorite one thus far of the “New” Doctors–dramatically regenerates and finally emerges as the Jodie Whittaker Doctor…then end credits. Boo-ya. Chills, mouths agape, multiple cries of “WHAT THE [expletive deleted]….?!?” Now…we will never have that moment. Spoilers and all that. Oh, well.

Still, the upcoming Christmas Special will be awesome because it has the 12th Doctor and the 1st Doctor, together at last. I just squeed again. Cheers, all.



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