Saturday, December 20, 2014

Church # 30. St.John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

So this was a more relaxed service then the last one. Fairly typical looking on  the inside, population of 30, mostly senior couples. This is the 3rd Sunday of advent, this being the Sunday of Joy. this is how it goes #1- Hope #2. Peace and #3. Joy.

 The Church leader Announced that we were being treated to a special gift today, a men's traveling Christmas Choir . In marched 18 men, all seniors in full tuxedos and deep red bow ties and cummerbunds.  The one exception was a slightly younger fellow ( approx 40)  who had  some what of a resemblance to Elton John.

They preformed 2-3 songs one of which i did not recognize at all. A short performance but well done. They all marched out including one senior fellow who hobbled out on crutches.
quote of the day;

"we ask the name of the one born in Bethlehem."

Today the topic focused on something that the pastor referred to as a "Uforia hang-over". He mentioned that we were approaching the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in Germany. He spoke of how everyone was on such an extreme high  and so hopeful of this extremely bright social and economic future. But that didn't really happen all that fast. They were still a lot of standing and residual issues that needed to be taken care of, and that came as a bit of a hangover for the German people. Same thing with the Israelite s. In the year 500 BC the Jews returned to their holly city from their exile to Babylon. And they too had the same idea as the Germans that the future would just be sunshine and rainbows. But there were issues. Homes were in ruin, farms had become overgrown and abandoned  there was corruption in the social order. just a mess.
The pastor also spoke about the voice of hope. this voice speaks to the poor, the prisoners,  the mourners,  and for all of us. In short, Hope cures the hangover.

"we are imprisoned by our materialistic thinking".

"maybe a very sick person in the hospital is  more free then us because their only wish, will be to get better".

He also quoted footprints which is of cores one of my favorite non-biblical quotes. 

The Footprints Prayer
One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.

He also spoke of the mustard seed and how "Gods kingdom is always growing."

a few observations.

This place runs like clockwork, the service is not all that long, but everyone knows where the prayers are, what page  the songs are on, and in all honesty, i had a hard time keeping up. I think both me and the dude  behind me in the spider man shirt with the large beard, we were both a little lost.

I had the honor of sitting down and speaking with the pastor afterwards. He told me that he had originally come from Brazil and was the leader of a large church of young people.  So as you can imagine going from that to a English-german bilingual church with 30 very conservative seniors in Canada. He told me that there has been challenges since he has arrived. A lot of them are European immigrants. Many of which have a significant dislike towards people of colour, refugees, non-Christians, gay people and pretty much anyone that dose not fit into their circle. He had had some rough times but also progress in a very slow steady way.
ps. I found some really nice stain glass hiding around the corner.







Church #29. The Redeemed Christian Church of God Rhema Chapel.

So this would be Church # 3 of our Jesus Street series, aka the one street in Edmonton with churches literately back to back. Today i went kitty-corner from the last church to find The Redeemed Christian Church of God Rhema Chapel. Congratulations. Officially the church with the longest name that i have yet found.

I had my suspicions that this church was largely populated with African Canadians.  And i was correct. There was about 400 of them. Mostly Nigerians. I was 1 of 5 white people in the entire room. I didn't  stick out at all. LOL.

Needless to say the crowd was very warm and welcoming, i received smiles consistently  and only the odd look of confusion. When i entered the church for the first time is was definitely kind of startling. I knew the service started at 10  but i knew there was some kind of bible study before that. What i walked into was a  half filled room full of people debating a topic from the bible. Today's topic was spanking your kids. Needless to say this  was just a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Especially when one senior lady stood up and started passionately expressing her position that children should be spanked. However there were actually quite a few small children in the crowd and i could tell there was a few small ones that stared fussing and crying with hearing this woman speak.  AWKWARD.

The lady that was at the front of the room leading/moderating the discussion looked over the crowd and said. "Any Contradictions"? " Any Comments?".  It was very clear in this enviroment  that you are allowed to have your own opinion and discussion is encouraged.

One quote i heard off of that which i really enjoyed said "Do not blow off your children's questions".
The discussion ended and  the service started. Of the people in the room it was noticeable to tell that some of these people were new immigrants and others have been in Canada for some time or were born here. There were a far amount of people in the room with traditional African clothing and head wraps. I noticed that the style of dresses with modest fronts and  low backs  is common here.

The Sunday school group was substantial. Maybe 3 dozen kids? I can't be sure honestly. This church is also one where you are expected to bring your own bible.

The building was quite large,  and was sporting a roughly 15 person band. All well coordinated in matching black and yellow outfits. Including a fellow on saxophone. I think this might be the first sax if have seen in a church band. There was also a group off to the side in white outfits. I came to learn that there were actually part of a visiting group from Calgary. The fellow that led the group really got into the performance which had him kicking his feet into the air and swinging around the towel  he was using to wipe the sweat from his head.
The start of the service was led by a more senior lady in a tie-dye dress studded with sequins  and top it all off all with a fine British hat.

The way she spoke was definitely familiar with that feel of no-room-for-doubt kind of faith. She said such things as " Because master Jesus is here!" and "In the miiiggggghhhhttty name of Jesus! ".  Just a very passionate and high energy group. I heard "Some one shout Hallelujah !" More then once that day, and trust me, when they say that, EVERYONE shouts!

"Can i get a witness!?" I had always heard the term but never felt the full meaning of it up until now. They were asking the question if there are people in the room  that  feel the Lord is present in their lives and and has blessed them. They were just simply asking us to raise our hands if we felt that was true.

"Testify" Is another big one. This involved about 2 dozen people coming up to the front of the church and telling how the lord has blessed themselves and others in their lives. A lot of the people that went up mentioned god healing sick family members, and helping people get accepted into university or the immigration process. But by far the biggest one was peoples shear gratitude and  joy over getting a job. Trust me, i know the feeling.

Another good quote "It is a privilege that we make it thru the day".
Like a lot of services, sometime near the start they do a list of announcements. One of the major announcement said that "The men, The heads of the house." *i will save my rant on this for a latter time. "Will be taking a stand." Which is a short term intensive program for men (women are also welcome) with a goal of teaching these people how to better stand up for god.

They also announced plans to go out this Christmas and had out goodie bags with chocolate and mini Bibles at all the major buss stops in the city.

At most churches, people go from sitting to standing. Here you go directly between sitting to doing the Rumba. There is no in-between. When you are going up to the front of the church to drop your offering in one of the two laundry baskets at the front of the church, you Rumba. When you are taking your 6 month old baby up to the front of the church to be dedicated, you Rumba. When you are sneaking past the crowd to get to the washroom at the back of the church, you rumba (maybe a bit faster then normal) . You get the idea.

I don't mean to turn anyone off, but i think it is only fair to let you know that this place gets LOUD and HOT. Largely due to the fact that the place is packed and everyone is dancing and singing to a extensive live band.
They also took a moment to acknowledge that this month is pastor appreciation month.  And they brought their pastors up to the front, and took a moment to speak of their exceptional work and give them some kind of large packed gift.

Scripture of the day; Isaiah 38: 18-19
18 For the grave cannot praise you; death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.

With this I find confusion and contradiction. I went to a Ukrainian Orthodox Bible Camp growing up and when we were taught was that after death you are still on a journey to reach gods kingdom and that it is possible to fall from grace even at that point, And that even in the after life gods kingdom you must constantly be praising god, or risk falling from grace. Even in death . So we had one night a week where we lit candles and did a special prayer focused on those that have passed on.

There was also talk about another part of scripture, one that speaks of emptiness. it was mentioned that the reward of good deeds feels empty with out God. This is something that i personally feel to be true, Thru reflection and past life experience. I know people say you can have good without god, but to me that feels like eating a tofu burger.  Your full, and you have all the nutrients you need, but your just missing that full feeling of satisfaction.

That's my thoughts anyhow.

The last part of the service that i saw ( because it was just going too long and i had to leave) was a group of babies being " dedicated to god".  That involved the whole family dancing to the front of the church and having another person that is not the parents hold the child, stand before the church, and give their blessing.
I know i was baptized as a baby, but i am sure that whatever prayer was said for me was nothing like  this. These people have great expectations of these kids. The prayers often include praying to god that these children will be great leaders and peace makers.  They will move nations, and have voices that all will hear. The biggest surprise comes at the end when the person holding the baby returns it to its parents and the final blessing they give is " your child will not die before you, you will not need to bury your child".  WOW.
Speaking of kids, i saw the "children's church" group walk by. I think the name is very appropriate considering there was likely 45 children and that is fairly comparable to a lot of actual churches i see.
i would have liked to stay to the end but my buss pass was expiring and i just needed air, i was just tired. Before i left they insisted that i take a croissant  and a can of pop they had waiting at the door.
Over all a fantastic time. If you are looking for a high energy church this is the place to be. I can understand that this might be a little to wild for some people to attend every Sunday, but it is worth checking out. And who know? It just might be the place you call home!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Church #28. Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church. Nov 9, 2014.

10:30 am Church time! So remember That Cree Catholic church I found? Well guess what? Just across the street was another church! and another and another. The whole block is packed with them! literately a whole street of churches. So i thought i would just go down the block. This is church #2 of what i will refer to as my "Jesus Street" series .



So as you can see this is a wee little church. It's cute and cozy. I like it. I checked on the web sight ahead of time because i knew that there was a possible chance that there would be certain services that would not be in English. Which was correct. But thankfully this particular Sunday was not going to be spoken in Danish, so i took up the opportunity and went.



There was a little singe on the doors entering the main area of the church which indicated that today's service was in English. (they also have one of these electric door bells that indicates when the door opens, kind of caught me off-gard.) I entered the main area to find one senior lady sitting there. I thought it just might be me and her, but there were others that joined us. There was a total of about 12 people today. that includes the lady playing piano and the pastor. The lady sitting beside me said that she expected today's group to be small because of the recent snowfall, and difficult driving conditions.

Everyone was real friendly here. I met the pastor right away. Definitely has the whole Danish accent going on, but still fully understandable while speaking English. He explained to me right off the bat that they like to do their service at this church the say way they would be done in Denmark. Needles to say i was interested.
The pastor changed into his robes. which were of a very unique fashion that i have never seen before. He explained to me that they were custom tailored for him and cost him a pretty penny. Sanzy Duds.
The service started with church bells ringing via audio recording ( i guess they were short a bell tower) that went on for a few minutes. I noticed that this service was done with the congregation sitting down to sing and standing to listen to the scripture reading of the day (thankfully it was short). Normally people stand to sing and sit for scripture. So we were just operating in reverse today.

the scripture reading today referred to Jesus being questioned on a certain political situation. But that question was a double edge sward. The problem was that regardless of which side he took on the issue it would turn him into someones political enemy. So to save the situation he diverted the conversation to a similar situation that happened early that had no political attachments. A tower collapsed  and killed 18 people. when the people asked if these 18 people were more sinful then others? Did they deserve it more then the next person? Jesus answered no. There is no solid connection between how much of a "good Christian" a person is and  how often they encounter tragedy or bad luck. there may appear to be a lose one at times, but nothing solid.
There was also a reading that told about a fig tree. Now i grew up around fruit trees. and i know that ypu almost never get anything the first year, the second year there might be something, and by the thrid you normaly have moderate production. well this farmer had a fig tree, big healthy tree, and it was on its third year. The land owner came out to check the gardens and discoved this great tree that despite 3 years in the garden, had produced nothing. He told the farmer it was a waste of space and to cut it down. That he could use all that space and resorces to put in new plants that would use bear much fruit and be very productive. (if any of you have been laid off from a job because you were not learning fast enought/or being the most productive you know this feeling all too well). But the farmer said that he would take the tree and give it extra care, and pleaded with the owner to give it one more year to bear fruit. The owner agreed and the tree was given another chance. The pastor conculded buy explainging that when we are failing to bear fruit, God dose not simply chop us down, he gives us another year. And that in my mind is a clear example that our god is one of love and mercy.

Communion as definitely done different at this church ( but i the back of my memory i think i may have encountered something similar). we all went up to the front of the church to kneel on this raised red velvet bar and rest our arms on a little 2 foot fence that had been put up, the pastor stood behind the fence and we all knelled in front of it. He gave us the body of the lord. aka.rice crackers. After that we received the blood of the lord, but instead of having little pre-filled cups or all of us drinking out of one, we each had our own min silver cups where he individual poured us each a 1.5 ounce serving.

Buy the way, the wine was a sweat port, that was brought in from Europe with a full body and fruity after-tones. I give it 4 out of 5. Yes i am a smart ass. Moving on.

After we had received the two pieces of communion he passed us over wit this hands raised just above our heads and declared us forgiven of our sins.
After the service was done the question then becomes,why on gods green earth does this church have a model boat hanging from the ceiling? The answer from the pastor was that no one honestly knows where the tradition started but every danish church has one. He thinks it is obviously related to the danish lifestyle where  a large majority of the population worked on the seas.  It my also have to do with the fact that the danish word that describes the part of the church were everyone sits together is the same word for "ship" . It signifies that we are all together on a journey moving forward and the Lord is our captain as he directs the ship. And that when the ship faces stormy seas we call all pull together to get thru it. I have mentioned in past times that sometimes the church ceilings resemble a flipped over boat. That is where this comes from.
 

there was also this written just above the door for people to see as they leave.

Apparently is translates out to "Carry Each-others Burdens".  to remind people to be loving and supportive to their fellow man as they go out into the world.
I was asked if I was willing to come back and present my findings at the end of my 100 church mission.  I would like to say this place would make me very happy to come back to drop in for a visit. Its like a ginger bread house in their...there  may be icing sugar on the outside but there is definitely hot chocolate inside. This is a very cozy little church full of love and warmth.
Till next week, keep warm everyone!




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Church # 27. Christ City. Aug 17, 2014.



This week we go big! Really Big! Mega size!!!! I was actually a friend that suggested this church to me. I didn’t even know it existed. I couldn’t even get to consider it was nearly out of city limits. But that is what generous friends with cars are for. 

We agreed that we didn’t feel ambitious enough to get up for the morning service so we oppted for the 6pm one. We got there early, and I had read on the website that there was some other pre-service ritual that would be going on that was optional. I had no idea what it was thou.  So this is what the outside looks like. 


And the other area…


There were two greeters at the doors as we come in. you could tell this place was very new. Very modern sleek design all done in white and grey. I expected we would just head right to the main theater and sit and wait, but it wasn’t opened yet.  We were directed do the hall to a large side room with open doors and found it full of people praying. Matt entered immediately fallowed by me; however his girlfriend Sara didn’t feel comfortable entering the room and stayed outside. This room had people expressing their form of prayer in all different manners.  Some were kneeling down with their heads on chairs; some people were pacing the length of the room back and forth with hands held open. Some prayed allowed, some in silence, some were singing. One guy had his fists clich├ęd raised in the air shouting his worship to the sky.  I needed to be very sneaky but I was able to manage some photos. 




I joined the worship with my friend beside me well dressed in a nice shit, his skinny jeans and a pair of red Doc Martians. I never took the time to ask Matt what his spiritual beliefs were. But it was him that asked me to come explore this church with him and here he stands beside me in this room full of very intense worship with his hands raised.  

Some part of me is always kind of surprised when I find spiritual people in the metal/punk/alternative world. The overall environment is very anti-religion so a person of faith in that environment often has to stay very quite. 

One clear example of this that I remember comes from my bible study days at Grant MacEwan. We generally had our standard group of 8-10 people that would come but we would get visitors some days. One night, in drops one guy I would never expect. And no it was not Jesus.

It was an old friend I knew from the heavy metal scene back in my home town that I hadn’t seen in a long time. Not too much had chanced with him, he was just as tattooed, priced and a metal as ever. This guy walks in with his bible and sits down and has this immediate expression of relief and comfort. He started talking enthusiastically as if he hadn’t seen another Christian he could talk to in a very long time, and immediately pulled out his I phone and showed us his “Read the Whole Bible in a Year app” and yes, there is an app for that. He was working as security at a major music venue at the time well staffed with a lot of other metal heads. Only his closest friends knew that he was actually a very strict Christian (who only allowed himself one glass of wine a day). But those few people he did tell about his faith would back him up 100% and would not let other people give him shit for it. I respect those guys, life is made so much better with good friends.  




 I digress back to Christ City. 

When the worship in the side room was done, we re-grouped and headed into the main auditorium. It was HUGE!!!!!


I knew the band was set up for a stage, but it look the lights going down  to the point where I could not see my not book and the fog machines going off for me to realize this was going to be quite the show. Then the 7 piece rock band kicked in and it was show time! I took a moment for me to stop and realize I was in a church because it felt almost exactly like a concert at Rexal. 


There were many interesting sights I spotted. That of which included; a Goth-lady with long white hair and a back bowler hat holding a little boy, people jogging on the spot during the song “Run for You” and a 70 year old man in a full suit jumping up and down, a dude in his Edmonton Eskimos jersey  and many other happenings. 

There was a line in one of the songs that said. “Let the whole earth sing in the freedom we know.” I like that. 

There were around 200 people. Full family mix this time. Including a surprising amount of young men that actually don’t appear to be drug there by their girlfriends but have actually intentionally gone together as a group of guys and came to church. This is something I have not seen before. 

After the singing worship was finished the offering was taken right away with church volunteers using flowerpots to serve as a collection bowl. There was a separate kid’s cub that was mentioned, I’m guessing some kind of a Sunday school program. There was also mention of “corporate prayer” and “the corporate body worshiping god”. I have never seen this term before. From what I concluded it simply means a group of people worshiping god instead of just private individual worship. Not saying the both are not just as effective and important, but group worship definitely has some degree of enrichment that comes with having others pray with you. 


The topic of the service today’s was “getting closer to god”, in which they examined a verity of passage that encourage us to continuously strive to become  the most holy, loving and spiritual people that we can become. Here are some quotes from that. 

“God has no issues with personal boundaries.”
“My burden is light”
“You can always get closer to god”
“Jesus satisfied the prophecy.”
“We cannot fall back to the old ways of the Israelite”
“God’s Grace goes beyond all sin no matter how deep”
“When you seek me you will find me”
“God does not play hide and seek, that is a man’s game.”
“You cannot hide from god but you can miss him.”
“Seeing god is a passionate activity”
“Draw near to god and he will draw near to you”
“The serpent convinced them that their lives would be better without god and it would be better to serve themselves.”
“I am your shield” 

Contrary to the stereotype of mega churches we were at no time encourage to buy anything but in fact we were actually given free stuff!  If you come to the front desk and say you are new you can get a welcome gift bag which includes a water bottle, trident layer gum, and info about the church. Did I mention they make their own coffee? 




Over all a cool experience. I really feel that is one of these churches that is out to celebrate their salvation and “spread the good news”. I personally love to see that in a church. One finally shout-out to my cool friends that came along for the ride, this article would not be possible without you!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Church #26 (Part 2) Grace Pentecostal Church. Aug 3rd 2014.



I would like to start out with extending a warm hug and thank you to John (whose name has been chanced for safety reasons.) For stepping forward to give his story on his experience with “Oneness Pentecostals”. I would just like to say that John is a fantastic guy who is tall and handsome and can often be seen riding around on a white horse. So if you see him, you know who I’m talking about!


Looking good John!
Hahahahahahaha!
*Jokes.

But in all seriousness, this interview was intense and I sorted my information under the fallowing questions. Here we go.

When did he join the church?

He was 20 when he joined and 30 when he left. He is now 31.

Why did he join the church?

He was a really messed up kid with a lot of addiction problems (that started young) amongst other things. He had recently met a girl who had come from a similar situation, and also wanted to get away from her self-harming ways. So they both decided that they would go church shopping together. At first they did not like what they were seeing. A lot of inconsistencies with churches fallowing certain doctrine and not others. A lot of them had no proper resources for helping them clean up from addiction.  Also the typical singing and clapping hands “praise the lord” church was very unattractive to John’s mind of a 20 year old guy.  (as apparently its not to a lot of guys in their 20’s).

Apparently there is entire books written on the topic. 




They chose the church they did because they were very deep into their bible readings and were very hard and consistent on the “facts”.  The harsh war general type speech style of teaching appealed to John’s “manly side”. And it defiantly drew a clear line in the sand when it came to his bad habit and addictions.  Cleaned him up real good.  He even recalls seeing miracles in the church, in relation to healing, and he considers himself staying sober a miracle in itself.

Why was he picked to being trained for future leadership?

Basically he was the right man for the job. The young people he was ministering to fallowed him, he showed a strong commitment to the church and showed enthusiasm in his work.

In an earlier e-mail John had mentioned to me that he faced more pressure and restriction then the other church members because of his position. I asked him how the restrictions on him were different than the ones on an average church member.

John explained to me that the restriction were the same, just he had to deal with them to a stronger degree. He recalled a time when he came to work ( aka. the church) and he shirt was not pressed properly and he would get hauled into the office and yelled at. He was required at all times to be a “perfect” example to young people he was ministering to. He also had to put in an intense time commitment. He and his wife worked 6 days a week for the church and had only 1 day off to themselves.

Then I asked him what happened him that caused him to question the church and eventually leave?

He recalled a verity of events and reasons. For one thing they could not get way, no vacation time; it was alike asking for the world to get 2 days off to go see family for a holiday. He stared seeing inconsistencies in the church doctrine. The leadership was acting hypocritically. They band their congregation from watching TV or movies, but will go home and break out the video camera and make home movies of their kids. When John decided to call them out on all this, the response he got completely dismissed and refused acknowledge to his concerns. He pretty much got told not to question authority and get back to work.


His Wife was feeling it too. She worked the day-care with the pastor’s wife who had all the dirt on the personal issues of all the church members.  But instead of keeping it to herself, this lady decided to gossip it around town. And the person who heard the most of it was John’s wife (who wanted no part in any of it.) It became a great distress in her life.

Speaking of his wife. A little background info on her. Her and John met when they both started looking for a church. They found the one they chose, and life got interesting when the congregation found out that they were living together already. As the time in the church progressed they feel into their social environment and were married 11months after meeting each other. But unlike most couples, they didn’t really have a relationship with each other. They had a relationship with the church. They committed themselves to it 6 days a week and had little time to actually develop a deeper understanding of each other. They did this for 10 years. I was afraid to ask about there current status considering John was clearly not wearing any rings on his left hand. But in the end of it all they felt drained and beat-up ( I can relate to this feeling after just one church service). They simply had nothing left to give.


In earlier e-mails I had also mentioned that I had pretty much escaped that day “unscathed” but he mentioned that he was not so lucky and is still suffering the effects of that church. I was not sure if he would be willing to share but he did and I am thankful for it.

He tells me at the point that he had left he assumed that life would simply move on and he would get a new job and everything would be just peachy. If only that were true. He was hit with feeling of severe depression and horrific feelings of self hatred that enveloped him to the fullest. Strangely enough these feeling were immediately relieved by him moving out of his house way from his wife. One of the craziest things that is blowing my mind about all this the “time warping affect” that this guy seems to have experienced. And sadly no, it’s not this kind of time warp.


He remembers days his depression was so bad that he litterly doesn’t remember whole 24 hour time periods, in which he, drove, worked, walked. Etc.  The biggest thing that amazed me was the fact that the environment he has in was so thought controlling that according to his doctor, he has not mentally grown and matured past the point of a 20 year old. He made not free choices for 10 years. He was told how to dress how to walk, how to talk, he didn’t even make a choice on buying a car without consulting the pastor. As he said “The Church took away all your ability to make a decision.” He also in this time discovered without the church as the third person between him and his wife, after 10 years together, needed to start having a relationship together. And to their shock and amazement then now realize that they have nothing in common. They are currently “separated”. His wife has progressed to the state of an average 30 year old and this 10 year “mental gap” between the two of them has caused a lot of stress. 

I couldn’t help but notice A few things while talking to this fellow. #1 yes the ring was missing. #2 he looks 30 but it was honestly like talking to a 20 year old.  it was strange sitting in front of someone who is clearly 7 years my senior, but if you blindfolded me I would tell you he is 4 years younger. #3. During the time I was talking to him he stated multiple times that he is not sure if he believes in god anymore or in anything. Yet like two good punk rockers we got into some heavy discussion about topics everyone else avoids ex. Religion. I noticed at this point he immediately kicked back into his preaching stage and started explain to me all the heavy strict doctrine of his last church and how it is justified. Shocking coming from a guy that told me he didn’t believe in god not an hour earlier. I don’t judge him for it thou. I guess it just shows how deep in his system this church got. 

My last question was one that concerned me heavily.

How much danger am I in for publishing this interview? And how much danger faces the people left at this type of church?

He assured me that I was in no danger as a journalist, but I still felt the need to change his name anyhow, for his sake. However he told me that this church, also has two sister churches. One is harmless but there is one on the north end called, First United Pentecostal Church. This place is without a doubt, Dangerous. I made a point of Google mapping it. The singe in front of the church says “The BIBLE Pentecostal Church.” I would say don’t go near it but that might be kind of hard considering the huge fence they have around the place , and the warning singes on the road gate.  If there is one thing I have learned in my past 26 churches, it is fear the church with a tall fence. Cause chances are they are trying to keep something out, or worse, keep something in.  

"I urge caution to anyone that goes to any instatution that claims they speak for god."

-John.