So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore - Jake Colsen

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    jake colsen

    Moorpark, CA

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    So You Dont Want to Go To Church Anymore Page 2

    So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore

    by Jake Colsen

    Published by:

    Windblown Media

    7228 University Dr

    Moorpark, CA 93021

    (805) 529-1728

    www.jakecolsen.com

    This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted

    in any form by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwisewithout prior

    written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.

    Except where otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International

    Version. Copyright 197 3, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of

    Zondervan Bible Publishers.

    International Standard Book Number: 978-0-9647 292-2-3

    Copyright 2006 by Lifestream Ministries

    All rights reserved

    01234 56 vp 7654321

    Printed in the United States of America

    Second Printing

    Cover Design courtesy of MercyArts Studio

    (mercyarts@sbcglobal.net)

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    DedicationTo the Blessed Ones

    those today and

    throughout history

    who has been insulted,

    excluded, and lied about

    for simply following the

    Lamb beyond the accepted normsof tradition and culture.

    Matthew 5:11

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    So You Dont Want to Go To Church Anymore Page 4

    Contents

    1. Stranger and Stranger Still ...................................................................................6

    2. A Walk in the Park ..............................................................................................12

    3. This is Christian Education?..............................................................................24

    4. Why Your Promises Haven't Worked ................................................................37

    5. Love With a Hook ..............................................................................................46

    6. Loving Father or Fairy Godmother? .................................................................55

    7. When You Dig a Hole For Yourself,

    You Have to Throw the Dirt on Someone .....................................................63

    8. Unplayable Lies................................................................................................. 72

    9. A Box By Any Other Name.................................................................................81

    10. Won to Trust.......................................................................................................93

    11. Taking Flight ................................................................................................... 103

    12. The Great Gathering....................................................................................... 115

    13. A Final Parting................................................................................................. 128

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    AcknowledgmentsThe crafting of this book has been a four-year journey, where we have posted the rough draft of each

    chapter in succession on-line. We had hoped to complete it in a year, but it took us four. So, we most want

    to thank our patient readers who endured this experiment with us, encouraged us by their comments and

    added to this content with their own stories and questions.

    Weve also had some marvelous people read and proof the manuscript for us. Canadians Bruce and Judy

    Woodford worked through every chapter with us, proofing for our mistakes and adding their ideas. In the

    print phase we added other editors to help shape this manuscriptJulie Williams, Paul Hayden, and Mitch

    Disney. Thanks to you all. If any mistakes survived their proofing, it was probably due to Waynes

    irresistible urge to tweak the manuscript until the last possible second.

    Our cover design was graciously provided out of the clear blue by Stephen at MercyArts Studio

    (mercyarts@sbcglobal.net) in Chicago, Illinois with help from Dave Aldrich of Rhode Island, who also

    designed much of the artwork for our website: www.jakecolsen.com.

    We also want to thank our wives for their outrageous support and encouragement in this project and the

    many brothers and sisters who have helped show us a more excellent way.

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    So You Dont Want to Go To Church Anymore Page 6

    - 1 -

    Stranger andStranger Still

    At that moment he was the last person I wanted to see. My day had been bad enough already; now I was

    certain it was about to get worse.

    Yet there he was. A moment before he had poked his head into the cafeteria before walking over to the

    beverage station and pouring himself some fruit juice. I thought about ducking under the table, but quickly

    realized I was too old for that. Maybe he wouldnt see me back in the corner. I looked down and covered

    my face with my hands.

    Out of the cracks between my fingers, I could see he had turned, leaned back against the counter and took a

    drink surveying the room. Then he squinted towards me as he realized he wasnt alone and with a surprised

    look he started towards me. Of all nights, why here? Why now?

    It had been our worst day ever in a long and torturous battle. Since three oclock that afternoon when the

    asthma made its first attempt that day to strangle Andrea , our twelve year-old daughter, we had been onguard for her life. First we rushed her to the hospital watching her struggle for every breath. Then we

    watched as the doctors an d nurses battled with her asthma for the use of her lungs.

    I admit I do not deal with this well , although youd think I would with all the practice Ive had. My wife and

    I have watched our daughter suffer all of her life, never certain when a sudden attack would threaten her life

    and send us scurrying to the hospital. It makes me so angry to watch her suffer and no matter how much

    weve prayed for her and had others do the same, the asthma continues to get worse.

    A couple of hours ago the medication finally kicked in and she began to breathe more easily. My wife

    headed home to get some much-needed sleep and relieve her parents whod come to be with our other

    daughter. I stayed the night. Andrea finally fell asleep an d I found my way to the cafeteria for something todrink and a quiet place to read. I was too wired to sleep.

    Grateful to find the place deserted, I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down in the shadows of a distant

    corner. I was so angry I couldnt even think straight. What had I done so wrong that my daughter must

    suffer like this? Why does God ignore my desperate pleas for her heal ing? Other parents gripe about playing

    taxicab for all their child rens activities. I dont even know if Andrea wil l survive her next asthma attack and

    I worry that the steroids shes on wil l stunt her growth.

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    So You Dont Want to Go To Church Anymore Page 7

    Somewhere in the middle of a good wallow in my anger, he poked his head into my private sanctuary. Now

    he was walking over to my table and I honestly thought about punching him in the mouth if he dared to

    open it. Even though deep down, I knew I wouldnt. Im only violent inside, not on the outside where

    anyone else can see it.

    Ive never met anyone more frustrating than John. I was so excited when we first met, and honestly Ivenever met anyone as wise as he. But hes brought me nothing but grief. Since hes come into my life, Ive

    lost my life-long dream job, been ostracized from the church Id helped to start 15 years before and even

    found my marriage in rougher waters than Ive ever known.

    To understand just how frustrated I am you would have to come back with me to the day I first met John. As

    incredible as the beginning was, it doesnt compare to all weve been through since.

    My wife and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary by taking a three-day trip to Pismo Beach on the

    central Cal ifornia coast. On our way home on Saturday, we stopped in downtown San Luis Obispo forlunch and shopping. Its re-vitalized downtown is a major draw for the area and on this sunny April day the

    streets were jammed.

    After lunch we split up since our preferred browsing places are quite different. I went to loiter in the

    bookstores while she trolled the clothing stores and gift shops. Finishing before our scheduled rendezvous

    time, I had perched myself against the wall of a store while nursing a chocolate ice crea m cone.

    I couldnt help but notice the heated argument going on a few feet up the street on the curb in front of The

    Gap. Four college-aged students and two middle-aged men were holding bright blue handbills and

    gesturing wildly. I had seen the handbills earlier, tucked under windshield wipers and lying scattered in the

    gutter. It was an invitation to a play about the flames of hell that was being produced at a local church.