This effort of mine - w as a revised edition - is offered as an open, person to person down-to-earth laymen's testimony of sorts of my struggles and frustrations, the pain and agony of feeling lost and unfulfilled both as a dedicated believer and a wandering prodigal son. Why is it that the Spirit and trust that lead someone to God, to church could be lost while inside? Why are the true teachings of Jesus, so plain and so simple, buried behind so many doctrines, so many 'isms, so many other issues when his simple command was to 'Love one ather as I have loved you'? The greatest two commands he gave were condensed down to that one and both of them began with the word - love. Love...so simple, yet so profound in its power to persuade, to heal, to comfort, to be a sign of strength and commitment, the power behind Creation, the bond that unites family and friend, the ackwledgment of discovering the uniqueness of one ather. Why have we abandoned it for rules, theology, rituals and t let it transform us and in turn transform the world as we were meant to do long ago? Instead we argue over those same rules, doctrine, and theology. We bicker over the rituals, over ceremonies, over why one demination is 'true' and ather is false. We grab our Bibles and proclaim our faith is the only true faith, and we are the chosen few and some of us gladly tell anyone who doesn't believe that an eternity of punishment awaits them. 'Blessed are... the meek, the poor in spirit, the peacemakers' has been turned into flag waving rallies promoting war, slogans advocating hatred, and holier-than-thou rhetoric even Christian to Christian. Are we really 'Christ-like'? Are we following the prophet ainted of God and his teachings or those of someone else, some other authority and if so why and why have we t made the effort to change? I propose to you to take a hard critical look at our church body as a whole today and search out the distorted history and facts, find out who the heretics were that were murdered and tortured, who killed them and why. Compare the spirit and teachings of Jesus - the real teachings - to what we're told and have been told for centuries w. A disciple follows the teachings of a master in a particular discipline to achieve mastery him/her self. Do you believe Jesus and what he said and taught or are you being held back and limited by the 'isms, doctrines, and teachings of church traditions? The truth is out there and it awaits those who seek it. I don't have all the answers and I'm t the captain in command, but I can tell you the real one will get you to the kingdom of God safely if you trust Him.
Born in Louisiana with an early childhood spent in California, returning with my family to a segregated South at age 11 graduating high school and taking a semester of college at Grambling State before taking a 9 year stint in the US Air Force with tours of duty overseas in the Philippines, Japan, Germany and stateside at Altus OK and the US Air Force Academy CO with short duty assignments to Italy and Iran to name some - I can say I've been fortunate to have mingled with a number of varied people of different races and cultures. Returning to Louisiana after my military duty was completed, I attended Southern Univ - Shreveport for two years right up until my father died which took my enthusiasm down a bit and led me to pursue some time as a librarian and then part-time book store clerk - both perfect for my personality. Coming from families of ministers on both sides of my family, religion - God - had always been part of my life though during that time away from home, another 'Gus' emerged - wild, reckless, foolhardy, a true prodigal son in the purist sense. Yet through events that happened to me like awaking half asleep, tipsy from a night out on the town to find the car I was riding in partly under the bed of a flat-bed truck where another 7-8 feet would have meant decapitation or being enrolled in a six-weeks mandatory drug screening program which severed me from both the drug and the wrong crowd I had started to hang out with, I can say favor and fortune smiled down on me even though there were chastisements too. My turning point was in my mid-twenties when the reality of my life and my efforts to deny God's tugging at my heart came to an end up in the lofty mountain air of Colorado. It was my first time truly reading the Bible and letting it all soak in, particularly the Gospels and most especially Jesus' teachings. 'God' and the image of God took on a whole new perspective from the stern, distant being on a throne ready to hammer you at any moment. What was lit inside me then - a desire to know the truth and to be a true disciple - has never died though at times the flame has been reduced to a spark from my own sins and mistakes and the gnawing feeling inside that something is wrong with the Christian faith we have been told over and over is the only way to God. I owe it to God - we owe it to God - to seek and know the truth. And then to live it. Regardless of who or where, love and kindness are universal. We just need to show more of it.