12/06/2009                                                                                       View Comments

Standing in the Gap – Part 1 of 2

by Neal Stone

The other night I had a dream. I dreamed I was 12 years old and walking through a field. As I walked I saw a long line of people standing at the edge of a great cliff. In some places there were gaps and others walking with me would walk through the gaps and disappear over the edge.

As I walked towards the edge someone grabbed my arm and said “Stand with us and in the gap.” I asked why and he said “Because those who fall through the gap fall to death and destruction. To eternal torment and are lost forever. Stand in the gap and be saved and help to save others.”

He then continued saying “If you stand in the gap, your sins will be forgiven. You will be free and God will prosper you with a life of peace, love an joy. You will then live with God for all eternity in heaven and he will soon come to close the gaps and take us all home to live forever with him.”

I would hear others cry “Who will stand in the gap? Who?” I could feel it tugging on my heart and I so wanted to stand in the gap and help save the lost.

I was in tears now as the words he was saying touched my heart. “I will stand in the gap!” I cried and so I stood in the gap and I now made it my job to warn others to turn and stand in the gap with us. When someone got passed us and feel, I would sob and cry for their loss. How sad they chose to ignore the warning of impending doom and fall to their destruction. But after a while I wouldn't feel so sorry. After all, it was their choice not mine. But in the end, I still felt sad knowing they made that choice. How could they after all, choose to die and fall to their destruction?

So there I stood standing in the gap and trying my best to stop others from falling. From time to time, I would be tempted to turn around and look at what was over the edge, but those standing with me would stop me and scold me. Forbidding me from looking.

Sometimes I would get tired and discourage and have doubts. I would try and let go, but the others standing there would hold on tighter telling me to have faith and just believe. Be strong and have good courage would be the sermon. After all the master is coming soon, any day now. He will free us and we will live forever with him in glory. Ok, I would hold on a little longer.

Once in a while one of us standing there would let go and then leap over the edge to what I perceived would be his doom. “He was never one of us!” they would cry. Even if it was someone who had stood in the gap for decades. How could this be? How could someone who for so many years stood in the gap and help save so many not be one of us after all? It made no sense. Why would they quit after all these years? Some were even teachers and told us better ways to close the gap and why it was so important. So why would they quit? What did they see that changed their mind?

I would have more doubts and fears now. I would share these from time to time with the others only to get scolded and accused. The more I asked questions and shared my doubts the more I got scolded. Finally I got called to talk to one of the leaders. It would be a long hard talk.

I was accused of not having enough faith, not giving everything I had and not trusting the leader. I was not giving enough nor trusting enough and I should desire to do what is right.

I grew weary and sick and tired of it all. It made no sense. I would watch as those of us who did all the work got ignored while those who took credit for others work got praised and lifted up.

Finally, I snapped. “I can't do this anymore!” I cried. Others standing there were shocked. They would try to counsel me, but I refused. I yanked my arms from from the others and spun around.

There before me was a great cliff and I stood on the edge. As I looked down I saw a thick fog. It prevented me from seeing what was below. I found out that the leader put the fog there to protect us from seeing what was below. But I wanted to know and there was only one way to find out.

I stood there my arms stretched out at my sides. I could feel the warm sun and a gentle breeze across my face and fingers.

I looked back at those I stood with all these years. Some turned away while others looked on. I then turned back and looked down at the fog. It was time to decide. Jump or stay?

I smiled...then I made my decision.

14 comments:

webmdave said...

"I think the "sin" thing is a red herring that appeals to the judgmental."

Exactly. How else to explain that some things that are sins in one church are perfectly fine activities in another?

webmdave said...

Good to hear. At least you have made a partial escape.

;o))

David

webmdave said...

I don't go to church and haven't for a few years now. But yes, all the churches I have attended and been apart of did to it to me from one degree or another... constantly. Which is why I had to leave for my own health.

webmdave said...

I don't go to church and haven't for a few years now. But yes, all the churches I have attended and been apart of did to it to me from one degree or another... constantly. Which is why I had to leave for my own health.

webmdave said...

"I don't use the bible to control, because loving and kind people don't do that."

You might not, but as sure as eggs is eggs, your church is doing it to you.

webmdave said...

Hi Daniel

Christians (and we all were christians) so often make the completely wrong assertion (and I was as guilty as the next) that the primary reason people walk away from the faith, is to indulge in sin, or not be accountable to God, this is simply not true.

After 30 years of being a "true christian" in every way, 6 months ago I walked, but certainly not for the reasons above. Other than the obvious fallout of such a momentus and lifechanging decision (my wife (of 25 years) and I are still in some damage control, as she still is still a Christian) my desire to pursue God has not changed.

I think the "sin" thing is a red herring that appeals to the judgemental.

webmdave said...

Hi Laura & TLIG

Buffettphan is correct in that when you truely study church history and also bible contradictions with an open mind, it is a path that only leads to the conclusion that Jesus could not possibly be the son of God. To deny that (once all of the facts are in), would be to deny the intellect that God gave us.

That being said, I want to bring a couple of thoughts to your attention, that may not be all that clear from the posts above,
1. To be an Ex-Christian, one had to, at some time be a Christian, a word that actually means "Christ like one",
2. This is the Ex-Christian site - not the instant athiest site, meaning
3. Not all contributers to this site are "dyed in the wool" athiest, but ALL have come to reject the fundament cornerstone of Christanity, that Jesus was Gods son.
4. There are many contributors on this site that continue to actively explore the possiblity that God, The Universe, The Spirit/Inner Man, or any other title, does in fact exist - and for those who do, this is a worthy pursuit that is made a lot easier without a man made religious dogma hanging around their necks.

Freedom to believe ... or not.

webmdave said...

>>"I don't use the bible to control, because loving and kind people don't do that.

I agree. When I was still a christian, I used to tell the bible-thumping zealots who got in my face with their bible quotes, "I don't think god would like you to use his Word to hurt his Children. People are more important than words written in a book." Hopefully some of them eventually got the point.

Being raised catholic, I can relate to your reference to Francis of Assisi. So when someone feels compelled to brashly boast of their religiousness, I can't help but be suspicious. (That happens a lot where I live in the south.) As a christian, agnostic, and now as an atheist for about 20+ years, I've always believed that one's actions are a reflection of one's inner self.

webmdave said...

Thank You, buffettphan...

I too have studied and researched prayed about and meditated on the bible bible history and early church history. I also discuss this with christians and atheists on another forum.

But the above isn't why i became a christian. It was because of the love I felt from God and the lack of love i felt and experienced from my parents... though, that was a long time ago now.

What you mentioned as well as being hurt by "fellow" christians has made me question faith, over and over, but I am of the opinion that no one has ever understood God, the nature of God or what he does/doesn't do nomatter how much people throughout history would like to think so.. even the writers of the bible.

I don't use the bible to control, because loving and kind people don't do that.

Thank you for saying peace and happiness... peace and happiness to you too...

Love, Laura

webmdave said...

Thank You, buffettphan...

I too have studied and researched prayed about and meditated on the bible bible history and early church history. I also discuss this with christians and atheists on another forum.

But the above isn't why i became a christian. It was because of the love I felt from God and the lack of love i felt and experienced from my parents... though, that was a long time ago now.

What you mentioned as well as being hurt by "fellow" christians has made me question faith, over and over, but I am of the opinion that no one has ever understood God, the nature of God or what he does/doesn't do nomatter how much people throughout history would like to think so.. even the writers of the bible.

I don't use the bible to control, because loving and kind people don't do that.

Thank you for saying peace and happiness... peace and happiness to you too...

Love, Laura

webmdave said...

laura,

Yes, many have been hurt by christians and christianity. But I'd also like to offer you another reason why many of us left. We studied, researched, prayed about, and meditated on the bible, bible history, and early church history.

Our conclusion: the bible is a man-made document and god is imaginary. S/He/It does not exist and was made up by a bunch of bronze age men longing to control their fellow camel herders. The Romans realized a good means of control when they saw it, as did the "official church," and voilà -- christianity became the law of the land.

Just another something to ponder.

Peace and happiness,
BP

webmdave said...

Daniel (Tilg)... I'm christian too, but these are exchristians. They have all been where you are and loved Jesus the way you do now. Preaching to them, even them hearing preachy words isn't going to help them, only remind them why they left. They have been too hurt and seen too much of the hurt that can be caused by spiritual/religious type people. They have found different ways now, to live and believe. You could do better by being a good, silent example to those around you. Yes, let them know you are a Christian, but remember the words of saint francis of assisi.... preach to the multitudes (by action, by presence) and only if necessary should you use (gentle) words.

Love, Laura+

webmdave said...

Wow. Crazier than I thought.

webmdave said...

I did that and it was a very disturbing place I lasted about 3 paragraphs. I did more research and discovered she is a fraud and there are several sites including from the vatican that also deny her "ability". Here are a couple I found... www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/VASSULA-%20Mark.htm
www.catholicplanet.com/apparitions/false13.htm
sniggle.net/godhoax.php
Not that anyone here needed proof she was a fraud, but it is a dangerous thing she does to people who are searching outside themselves for answers they can only find inside... People like her are a viral infection to the general unsuspecting public...