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Author Topic:   Christian conversion experience: descriptions/analysis/links: input invited
ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 91 of 199 (217385)
06-16-2005 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Gilgamesh
06-16-2005 3:49 AM


Re: conversion
Gilgamesh writes:

People experiencing a life crisis are very open to religious conversion. Organised religion is well aware of this.

Of course, the proverbial "mind-control cults" prey on troubled young people. The more mainstream churches probably just think they're "helping".

My experience was exactly the opposite of a life crisis. I never suffered any abuse, hardships, etc. I had a pretty easy life.

I was raised in evangelical churches, literally from birth. When I was about eight, at a church-sponsored summer day-camp, we were all invited to tell how we had been "saved". I was the only one who had no story to tell. There had been no "conversion" because I had always been there, so to speak.

The teacher didn't see it that way. I was told, in so many words, that I had better get saved (with an implied "or else"). That was the extent of my being "led to the Lord".

As an eight-year-old, I was left alone to "get saved". Some time later, I mumbled a prayer which would supposedly do the trick.

In that church, baptism by immersion was done when the person decided he/she was "ready", typically in the early teens. I was never baptised because I was never "ready". Quite frankly, I always thought that being "dipped" was a little silly.

I've seen lots and lots of "speaking in tongues", etc., often by people that I know well. I am sure it isn't "faked", but I am equally sure it isn't real. I have no clear explanation for it.

As a teenager, I drifted away from the church. I tried to feel guilty about it, but I was never a really "bad" kid, so I compared pretty favourably with the kids who were "saved".

My real "conversion" has come over time, with the realization that God is everywhere, but He tends to avoid the buildings. He also tends to avoid the people who talk the loudest about Him.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-16-2005 3:49 AM Gilgamesh has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Phat, posted 06-16-2005 12:29 PM ringo has responded
 Message 93 by dsv, posted 06-16-2005 12:42 PM ringo has responded
 Message 198 by Phat, posted 12-09-2017 11:53 AM ringo has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14145
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 92 of 199 (217392)
06-16-2005 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by ringo
06-16-2005 12:15 PM


Re: conversion
Wow! The fact that you have hung in there when the church has not always been kind or understanding shows me that you are where you should be. Christians are notorious for killing their own wounded with the sword. (the word of God itself) Gods Spirit is with everyone on the planet, but God only comes in to those who trust Him and ask Him...either verbally or innately. I would think that you, despite being hurt by people, have always trusted God.

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 06-16-2005 10:32 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by ringo, posted 06-16-2005 12:15 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by ringo, posted 06-16-2005 1:12 PM Phat has responded

  
dsv
Member (Idle past 3274 days)
Posts: 220
From: Secret Underground Hideout
Joined: 08-17-2004


Message 93 of 199 (217397)
06-16-2005 12:42 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by ringo
06-16-2005 12:15 PM


Re: conversion
Hello Ringo,

Thanks for sharing.

I'm just curious, since you were raised in an evangelical Christian environment, although you drifted from the church, have you ever explored other possibilities or options apart from ultimately going back to the church?

For example, during your walkabout did you explore any scientific answers?

Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm glad you found a home in your reconnection to the church, just curious as to what the path was like during the off-time.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by ringo, posted 06-16-2005 12:15 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by ringo, posted 06-16-2005 1:03 PM dsv has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 94 of 199 (217403)
06-16-2005 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by dsv
06-16-2005 12:42 PM


Re: conversion
Actually, I have never "reconnected" to the church. :) I haven't been inside a church, except on business, in decades. Maybe I didn't make it clear, but what I consider my "conversion" was moving away from the building and away from the dogma and, to some extent, away from the "professing" Christians.

Scientific answers? I fully accept science for what it can answer. I also fully accept that it doesn't pretend to answer everything. I have the greatest respect for scientists and science. (My BSc is lying somewhere unused in a drawer.)

I have looked into Eastern philosophies a bit, but I prefer to think things out for myself.

As of now, my communion with God consists mostly of going down to the lake and watching the ducks, smelling the trees, talking to the birds, (looking over my shoulder for the men with the nets).... :)


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by dsv, posted 06-16-2005 12:42 PM dsv has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 95 of 199 (217404)
06-16-2005 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by Phat
06-16-2005 12:29 PM


Re: conversion
I hope I don't sound bitter about the church. I don't think of my experiences there as unpleasant, just empty. In decades of church-going, I never felt like I belonged there.

If "churchy" things work for some people, I have no problem with that. Some of the best people I know are "churchy" and some are not.

I'm certainly what some would call a "back-slider". I may be sliding, but I'm facing forward.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Phat, posted 06-16-2005 12:29 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Phat, posted 06-16-2005 3:25 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14145
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 96 of 199 (217434)
06-16-2005 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by ringo
06-16-2005 1:12 PM


that whole salvation thing
Hey, Ringo..:) I grant that I am a Christian that accepts many of the definitions of "organised religion". I believe that in our lives it is not so much a matter of trying to live right as it is personally trusting God. as Christians, i believe that some of our best personal growth and awareness come at times that we are on our own---away from the singing, shouting, stomping, and judging.

My creed in life these days is to live as good a life as I can yet knowing that the moments that I can talk (or listen) to God everyday are shaping my character. Works done by me should be joyful, spontaneous, and birthed in this character that He is forming in me.

It is not about making it happen. It is about allowing it to happen.

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 06-16-2005 01:26 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by ringo, posted 06-16-2005 1:12 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
Entomologista
Inactive Member


Message 97 of 199 (217442)
06-16-2005 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Gilgamesh
06-02-2005 11:15 PM


The summer after my freshman year of university I worked as a janitor. One of the other janitors was a Fundamentalist Christian. He found out that I am an atheist, and it became his mission to convert me. First he told me about his conversion, which included describing to me, in detail, about how he sinned before. That is, all about the various adult venues he had attended and such things. Obviously, that didn't exactly draw me in. He also brought me a book he had compiled detailing everybody he had witnessed to, letters to the editor he had written, and so forth. Later that summer he trapped me in a closet, grabbed my shoulders, and prayed over me. That was extaordinarily unnerving and unpleasant. You may well imagine that I am still an atheist.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-02-2005 11:15 PM Gilgamesh has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 14145
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 98 of 199 (217552)
06-17-2005 4:06 AM
Reply to: Message 97 by Entomologista
06-16-2005 3:36 PM


Fundie Mental Maniac
You were obviously chock full of demons! ;) The only problem that I see is that your janitorial friend had even more of them using him to make a fool of his conversion experience!

Quite seriously, all that I want to urge you to do is to enjoy your life and keep any thoughts that you have about spirituality private.

You never know which of us fundies are listening, ready to pounce! :)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Entomologista, posted 06-16-2005 3:36 PM Entomologista has not yet responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 99 of 199 (219479)
06-25-2005 3:03 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by arachnophilia
06-06-2005 2:24 AM


Re: fear
That's unfortunate, and it bothers me to see Christians pushing people over when laying hands on them.

Sorry that happened to you.

There is a real deal though where the glory can come down so strong that it does indeed cause one to fall down, sometimes pinned to the floor with a strong presence, sometimes a sweet presence, sometimes an intoxicating presence like getting very drunk or high, or even tripping. God's presence can be overwhelming.

Unfortunately, people want His glory and try to fake it when He doesn't show up in power, not realizing that God likes to do things all sorts of ways, the still, quiet voice can be just as liberating as the greatest manifestation of glory, but we humans are too often carnal.

Sorry the carnal aspect of the church "happened to you."

I don't much like church culture myself, but I do like corporate worship, and sometimes the teaching and preaching.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by arachnophilia, posted 06-06-2005 2:24 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 177 by arachnophilia, posted 06-29-2005 5:53 PM randman has responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 100 of 199 (219480)
06-25-2005 3:20 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Faith
06-06-2005 4:16 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
Faith, the destructive tendencies you witnessed in the charismatic church are present in most churches. It has nothing to do with the anointing and phenomena except that perhaps some are more dedicated to spiritual power, and may get off there.

But it really has to do with false leadership. Basically, pastors and leaders were never meant to be, and are not "head" of the church or over people in the way people teach. Paul writes "Christ is the head of every man." Jesus lays it out a little differently in writing that spiritual leadership is not like the leadership of the world. it is not leadership "like the princes of this world" whereby men can be benefitted. It's sort of complicated, but when you get into new spiritual arenas, it's important to rely on Christ's principles to avoid falling into error.

Unfortunately, churches and groups tend to take on and substitute the spirit of the leader or leaders to a degree that a sort of group identity emerges and becomes the ruling spirit of the place, and sometimes that begins to replace the role of the Holy Spirit in people's lives.

That's my 2 cents.

But the healings, the glory, the gifts are the real deal. As far as being slain in the spirit, people don't always realize that the 2nd Great Awakening, which largely revived and produced the evangelical and Baptist movement in the United States began with some of the most wild and charismatic revivals in all of church history.

At the Cane Ridge revival in 1800, which many conservative Southern Baptists venerate, thousands upon thousands of people would be slain in the spirit in large human waves and lay on the ground, sometimes being moved on by the Spirit for days. There was weeping, "the holy laughter" (Toronto and Brownsville style), speaking in tongues although described as gibberish, visions, and one very curious but prominent "wonder" as Presbyterians, Methodists, etc,...would bark and howl sometimes on all four limbs. I am not kidding. They called it treeing the devil and did this for days.

Most Baptists and Evangelicals scowl and scoff at such things, but at the same time, they don't realize it was revivals with such things as these that birthed the evangelical movement in the United States with the advent of the 2nd Great Awakening.

My feeling is if God is in it, I really don't care how weird it looks. I've never tried treeing the devil, but most of the other stuff I've seen and experienced with tangible benefits from the Holy Spirit.

This message has been edited by randman, 06-25-2005 03:22 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Faith, posted 06-06-2005 4:16 AM Faith has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by lfen, posted 06-25-2005 4:25 AM randman has responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 101 of 199 (219481)
06-25-2005 3:35 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by arachnophilia
06-06-2005 9:02 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
please do. i know i would be lying if i said it didn't play a role in mine.

I know this was not written to me, but it is curious as to what role should fear play. Is the "fear of the Lord" good?

I think there is a hard side to reality that we cannot deny, and in some sense, God being the God of reality contains what we might perceive as a "hard side." I think that is really the wrong perception of God, and that Jesus shows us that.

But what is a correct perception is that God is a God of absolute truth and rightness, and that God is uncompromising.

It's sort of a grand tragedy in a way, but I have faith there's more to the story, and have had glimpses of it.

Hell is very real, but so is redemption, and hell is not the end of the story. Jesus Himself is. His body "fills all in all" and that has to mean hell too. What He did on the Cross far outweighs what Adam did, or however you want to accept that concept, and far outweighs our own sin.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by arachnophilia, posted 06-06-2005 9:02 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 176 by arachnophilia, posted 06-29-2005 5:46 PM randman has responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 102 of 199 (219482)
06-25-2005 3:52 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Faith
06-06-2005 12:41 PM


Re: charismatic experiences
Faith, I read your post and want to comment and hope you don't mind.

There is a cultish aspect in some charismatic churches and other churches with dedicated believers. I believe I have gained some understanding of how this happens, and imo, it has nothing to do so much with things like tongues or spiritual phenomena, but with specific false concepts that play out into a sort of group-think and counterfeit spirit.

But on the tongues, I first spoke in tongues by bursting out singing in a foreign seeming language while walking on the beach when the sun was setting and the moon was rising, Wrightsville Beach in fact.

I had no idea what was happening, but it felt right and so I kept going.

But I did not speak again in tongues for a year. I came across some people talking about tongues, and I told them I had never spoke in tongues since I didn't know that was what I was doing.

Well, since then, well I don't want to say so much, but I do understand most people start out more like you with less fluent-sounding speaking, and frankly, that's probably OK, for most.

But it seems to distress you, and moreover, the fact it arises from time to time when don't seem to want it too is sort of disturbing, but then again, everyone is different and maybe your spirit is just itching to break out in this way.

My whole point for this long piece (I apologize for the length) is to recommend a way for the tongue to maybe be a little more fluent. When I am praying harder in my mind and break out in tongues, it can be a little harder, and more what you describe, although for some reason I have never been as monosyllabic as some. Maybe I let go a little easier. I don't know.

But I find that I can sort of relax a little and listen, and somehow let the tongue develop.

My wife began speaking in tongues sort of repeating a pattern as you describe, and then broke our years ago into songs, some in a specific Portugese dialect from Brazil which she had never heard, but a woman from Latin America identified that when visiting our home. I picked up what I thought were Spanish words, but didn't know what it was. But it was very beautiful, hopeful and anointed, and we began to interpret the gift of tongues when uttered.

There is some confusion here though with people. Paul also writes about the "gift of faith" in that section, but suggests not all have it!

Well, all believers have faith and it is a gift, but Paul is not referring to that there, imo. He is saying some are given an extra gift of faith to beleive when faith would normally be harder to hold onto.

My experience is that all can, potentially, pray and sing "in the spirit" at their will even, but that sometimes comes a special tongue, which is not directed towards God, but really comes from God towards men, and must be interpreted, and then is like prophecy.

But maybe I've gone too far here....?

just some ideas on how maybe what is occuring as far as the tongues can turn from something that is a burden to something beautiful and even godly in your eyes, and more importantly is in God's eyes too.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Faith, posted 06-06-2005 12:41 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by Faith, posted 06-25-2005 8:01 AM randman has responded
 Message 108 by Faith, posted 06-25-2005 10:02 AM randman has responded

  
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 103 of 199 (219483)
06-25-2005 3:59 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by GDR
06-06-2005 10:45 PM


Re: fear
I'm probably going to set a record for most posts in a row on a thread, but just want to say, that was a great post there and very encouraging.

I didn't come into that way, the more the spectacular thing, but the way God can sort of gently invade someone's life gradually with their permission and interest, of course, gives me a lot of hope for some reason, maybe for my kids, maybe for myself to grow. I don't know, but your post somehow did something for me.

Thanks.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by GDR, posted 06-06-2005 10:45 PM GDR has not yet responded

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3228 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 104 of 199 (219485)
06-25-2005 4:25 AM
Reply to: Message 100 by randman
06-25-2005 3:20 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
thousands upon thousands of people would be slain in the spirit in large human waves and lay on the ground, sometimes being moved on by the Spirit for days. There was weeping, "the holy laughter" (Toronto and Brownsville style), speaking in tongues although described as gibberish, visions, and one very curious but prominent "wonder" as Presbyterians, Methodists, etc,...would bark and howl sometimes on all four limbs. I am not kidding. They called it treeing the devil and did this for days.

This sounds to me like a description of shamanic trance states that possible go way back for humans. Shamanic religions features these as do Santeria and Voodoo. It seems to be a special brain state induced by rhythmic dancing or movements, drumming or music seems to help induce it. Sounds like Christians are just tapping into an ancient brain function.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by randman, posted 06-25-2005 3:20 AM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3449 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 105 of 199 (219491)
06-25-2005 5:44 AM
Reply to: Message 104 by lfen
06-25-2005 4:25 AM


Re: charismatic experiences
I am familiar with voodoo, and some occultic practices. It's not the same although there are certain parrallels in any spiritual tradition because if it is something "real", there are basic principles that have to be exercised.

The difference is the people involved in the Christian spiritual manifestations are perfectly lucid, except some may be drunk in the spirit.

The camp meetings that sparked the 2nd Great Awakening though are not induced in the way the shamans did.

I've seen this stuff impact people in the same way without them knowing anything about what happened, no suggestions, no music, nada.

Once a friend of mine was very "drunk in the Spirit" after leaving a conference and on the way home, stopped at a convenience store, and just bumped into a lady, and she fell over in the Spirit in the same state. Nothing said to her. Nothing suggested, and by on the way home, I mean hundreds of miles on the way home.

I prayed with someone, and felt led to tell him that I knew he was receiving it, and he really didn't feel or sense anything, and I just felt like telling him he got it, and I am sure the manifestation will show up sometime.

About a month later, he said the Spirit of God just came over him in a way he had never experienced before. He said it literally just shook him, very hard, and all the people around him weren't experiencing anything like that at all.

There was nothing to put his mind in that state. He was in a church meeting, but it wasn't a worship service, and not the sort of meeting where that kind of thing happened.

It lasted a few hours where he shook, cried, and I am not sure what else.

I was at a meeting, and though I have witnessed some real physical miracles, I received an emotional healing, but very unusual. The presence of the Spirit came over me, and I just wept for 2 days. I could not stop. I didn't think you could weep that long.

The Presence of the Spirit came over so heavily in a series of meetings at the same church that the Spirit of God knocked me down on the ground outside when it was very, very cold (in Canada), and I just laughed and felt the glorious presence of God, and could not get up and told everyone to just go ahead, and despite it being very cold outside, such that I was wondering if maybe it was dangerous, but I just laid there completely warm.

You have to realize that earlier when it was still day-time, we were hurrying because it was really cold, and now late at night, it was supposedly much colder, but not for me.

Call it psychological if you want, but the fact is the Spirit of God doesn't need all that drum-beating, drugs sometimes, excessive physical dancing or trauma to induce a state of mind, though dancing is fine.

No, He will just graciously usher you in the door while others are devising all sorts of wild ways to climb up the walls and break into the spiritual arena.

This message has been edited by randman, 06-25-2005 05:45 AM

This message has been edited by randman, 06-25-2005 05:48 AM

This message has been edited by randman, 06-25-2005 05:53 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by lfen, posted 06-25-2005 4:25 AM lfen has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by Faith, posted 06-25-2005 10:10 AM randman has responded
 Message 131 by Gilgamesh, posted 06-27-2005 12:27 AM randman has responded

  
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