***Welcome to the Process Driven Life - May Blog Project. During the month of May, this blog is being turned over to my readers and friends. During May and probably June, my regular updates, scattershooting, etc. will only be available on the Friendslist.
Make sure to read the issues you missed. Check back regularly this month to find out what my readers have to say!***
Guest Issue #17 - I am not normally a blogger type person but I do enjoy reading other peoples posts on subjects I have an interest in. In answer to Michael's request here is my take on how I got to where I am spiritually, how I came to follow the ministry and biblical agrarianism.
Being raised Catholic it has been a long hard road to get where I am now. I guess I knew there were some problems with the Catholic Church at an early age. You see, I was not just attending a Catholic Grade School but I was involved in the church as an altar boy. When my brother was married in the Catholic Church he asked that I serve the mass. After the mass it was customary to give the priest and the servers a cash donation. He gave the priest some cash in an envelope and each of the altar boys some cash also. He indicated to me that the priest was taken care of and that the money he was giving me was mine. As I said, it is customary to receive this money for some ceremonies. Well when the church did not receive the money from me as a donation they were not happy. When I was called on the carpet and I refused to relinquish the money I was kicked out of the altar boy organization. I thought – it could not be just about the money could it? This started a subconscious search for the truth. Oh sure, I still attend that church with my parents because I was still quite young. But when I was an older I quit going to any church – I was completely soured by a lot of things that happened in that Roman Catholic Church.
Thinking back on some of the non-biblical nonsense I was taught as a youngster really is quite aggravating – one thing that sticks in my mind is that during Jesus’ walk to Calvary a woman wiped His face with a cloth and His image was transferred to the cloth. I was really shocked to learn this did not happen. I really was never able to establish why the Catholic Church went so far off the deep end in creating such nonsense.
Over the years I did think about looking at other denominations but not knowing anything about them or knowing where to start – I never did take that step. I read the bible – but I had such a corrupted understanding that I know now I would never have uncovered the truth. As it turns out I needed to un-learn practically everything I thought I knew about the bible.
Fast forward now about 30 years. Now married – my wife and I talked about finding a new church. My wife or I would find a church – we would attend for a while but something would be found wrong or not feel right and we would stop going. My wife finally gave up – but I continued searching. The last church I found and attended had a pretty good traditional service and I waited around to hear and see the contemporary service. Well I am sitting there reading when I hear this music start up and I look up and the pastor is playing a guitar and pastor’s wife is bobbing, weaving, and singing - with very dark sunglasses on – to the “music”. It looked like Ray Charles up there. That was when I gave up too.
My wife had found Michael’s sermons on the internet and after she had listened to them she asked me to listen. I was resistant. I did listen to some but always came away thinking they were too harsh. Part of my problem was I still felt I had to find a place where I could see and hear the minister in person. In reality though I guess the bottom line was that I found Michael's sermons offensive because of my past, my upbringing, and my spiritual state. I preferred the pleasant message that said I was doing fine and everything was great. Saying earlier that I needed to un-learn may have been an understatement. But eventually I did finally arrive at the fact that what Michael was preaching made sense. Mind you, this did take awhile. And it still hits me pretty hard when I realize how much I have to learn – I have a long way to go.
I can not say which sermon I remember hearing first or even the message that most would say they received by listening to the sermon. In the early days I would just be glad to get through the sermon without shutting it off. I did finally sit down and listen to the sermons with my bible in hand – and when Michael referenced a verse I would pause the sermon and go to that place in the bible and read that section and then return to sermon to hear the message. When I do this - usually I begin reading a verse or two before the verse Michael has referenced and usually I continue to read a verse or two beyond the material Michael has referenced. If what I have read does not make sense to me I go back a bit farther – maybe to the beginning of the chapter or even to the previous chapter to learn what is going on. Since doing this I feel I have gotten much more out of Michael’s sermons.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Michael and his family in person. It was just this past October when my wife and I made the jaunt southwest out of Missouri during the “Fall Ranchfest” to visit and participate in the event. I enjoyed meeting everyone and learned a lot while I was there. The work I did there during that week was far removed from the type of work I usually do. So it was an enjoyable experience to learn some things about the construction of a building, gardening, animal husbandry, and general fellowshipping. The trip was quite an introduction to true biblical agrarianism.
It seems odd to me now to know that my parents grew up in a rural area – actually – just down the road a short distance from the place my wife and I own now. Dad was the son of a blacksmith and mom was the daughter of a wheat farmer. After marrying – they moved to the city and raised their children there. A story similar to that found in the book titled “Henry and the Great Society”. My dad became a machinist while mom stayed home to raise us. When I was a youngster – I dreamed of becoming a farmer – I reached adulthood and became an industrial computer programmer – a far cry from the dream job of my youth. We are starting out a bit later in life but we are starting.
So that brings me up to the present day and I can say that I am truly thankful for God’s providence in bringing us to this biblical teacher Michael Bunker. I prayerfully lift up the ministry everyday.
I was shocked to learn of the accusations leveled against Michael, the Ministry, his family, and others in the community. It is beyond my understanding how these people – who I know and personally had conversations with – could turn and begin this senseless assault. I am ashamed and abhorred by the participants who less than six months ago I was working shoulder to shoulder with and referring to as brethren. A wolf in sheep’s clothing – perhaps – more likely a visit by the beast himself. That makes me shudder. I can think of no other basis for such a cold calculated and premeditated event as these folks have brought on.
Michael does not need my defense, certainly his family does not need my defense, and the community does not need my defense – I say this because the one thing I know for sure is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is on their side.