Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Offensive Enough to Follow Him

Larry Renner Photography
His message was obscene. Condemned by the church as a blasphemer and sentenced to death by the state for treason. Others thought him a madman as he invited them to eat his flesh and drink his blood. 

He assaulted men with a bullwhip, was caught in a scandalous public display as a woman rubbed his feet with her hair. He shocked the pious elite when he referred to them as beautiful monuments on the outside with putrid, rotting corpses for souls. 

I want to be like him. 

Ordination Service, October 22, 2015
Meadow Park Church of God, Columbus, Ohio
And so, why would you expect me to be safe, voiceless, and lukewarm? This life is not for the timid. I am a follower of God, born man, that came to put the world on notice that he is taking back what was His from creation.

I am not him. I only follow after him. This association brings with it scrutiny. I cannot follow him and be understood by you. I do offensive things: I am not always tolerant. I won't abide evil or foolishness. 
The congregation surprised me
with a hand-made podium!
I don't believe that God loves you unconditionally. I think His love has conditions: He gave up His son, His son gave up his life, you have to be known by his son, you must be obedient to his son. Then, and only then does His love cover you.

Ordination oil used at
the service.
God is Holy, He cannot abide sin. The death of Jesus is the atonement for sin. He bled on the cross. If you aren't covered by His blood, then He can't be near you. If He doesn't know you... how can He save you?

I believe that Hell is real and that most people we know are racing towards its precipice. I believe that God doesn't send anyone there, but that He has provided us a way to avoid what we deserve. Yes, I believe that you and me deserve to burn. 
Our family after the Ordination Service:
Chad, Kellie, Caleb, Aleksandra, Sterling.
My children know that I love God more than I love them, and if I ever had to choose, then I will be faithful to God. Following him comes first, at any cost. Oh yes, my love has conditions. My condition is that they aren't allowed to separate me from the God I follow.

A visit at the Church of God General offices in Anderson, Indiana
where I observed the cane and telescope of founder, D.S. Warner,
also one who lived a bold, sometimes offensive life.
I walked away from a career, a retirement, the full life I knew... I left behind family and friends... just to get closer to the voice that was calling me. 

It's a voice you may not believe exists. Now I seek to take steps that are worthy of this calling. I seek to know Him, to love Him, to be obedient to Him. There is no better path. 

Our family with my co-pastors, Tom Planck & Joe Mayerik.

How else am I offensive? Well, I follow the one that made friends with the riffraff of society. I'm not too smooth with appearances. I'll pierce my ears and ink my skin in order to find relationship with those who would never walk down a carpeted aisle and sit in a padded pew. 

Photo credit: Larry Renner
Guatemala Caribbean Coast
I'll walk through the bad side of town and associate with people that are dangerous. I might even listen to loud music and strike a yoga pose while I meditate on God. You might condemn me for that. I'm ok with that. I'm seeing people connect to the one I follow. 

I'm not a liberal or a threat to your world view. I might even make you slightly uncomfortable. You may even find me obscene. But, then again... do you know the one I follow?

Raven tattoo: 1 Kings 17:2-6
Tattoo completed by Katie Hutchins
Funded by Kayci Roh
Inked the day before my ordination.


  1. So I have a question. You mention that "you must be obedient to his son. Then, and only then does His love cover you." What exactly does that obedience look like and entail?

    1. I believe that there is a condition to receiving God's love. We must accept His love. We must yield to Him and receive Him. Only then can He restore us to relationship with Him. Oh yes, my opinion is controversial. I reject the notion that God's love is unconditional. The condition is that we must first acknowledge that He is our God and we are His people.

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