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On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent weeks.

christ is the answer findlay ohio

Side of State Farm Insurance office, Findlay, Ohio. What I want to know is this: What is the question?

good shepherd united methodist church benton ridge

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Benton Ridge, Ohio, Richard Hiltibran, pastor. Hiltibran describes his “passion” this way: (link no longer active)

My passion in ministry is seeing people become more like Jesus (holiness), and those disciples making a difference in their communities, cities, families, and all across the world. The way I have seen this happen is through worship, study, and small discipleship groups.  I am a Wesleyan nerd, who believes that through our tradition of Methodism people were revived by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. That can happen again if we as a Church submit to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow God’s Will through Scripture, accountably, community, gifts of the Spirit, and the greatest of these is love.

Hiltibran’s claim to fame?: (link no longer active)

I have performed stand up comedy all over Ohio and in 2008 I was a finalist in the Dayton funniest person competition @ the Dayton Funny Bone.

Evidently, Hiltibran and the members of Good Shepherd think that non-Christians are broken and in need of repair. Why do I need to be made “new” (whatever that means)? I like the “old” me just fine.
jehovahs witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, somewhere in Ohio.

lafayette congregational christian church

LaFayette Congregational Christian Church, LaFayette, Ohio. According the to church’s Facebook page, “LaFayette Congregational Christian Church is a friendly, faithful group of people that meet to worship Jesus Christ in the town of LaFayette, Ohio.”

mt cory united methodist church

Mt. Cory United Methodist Church, Mt. Cory, Ohio, Mark Fuerstenau, Pastor. (Church’s Facebook page)

mt cory united methodist church

Mt. Cory Zion United Methodist Church, Mt Cory, Ohio. I found no public information on this church. Mt Cory has a population of 204. Surely, this community doesn’t have more than one Methodist church?

trinity evangelical lutheran church findlay

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Findlay, Ohio, Dennis Mauer, Pastor. I couldn’t get any further information about this church due to its non-functioning website.

trinity united methodist church defiance

trinity united methodist church defiance

Trinity United Methodist Church, Defiance, Ohio. According to the church’s website, “Trinity is all about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We hope to accomplish this through three simple steps: Connect, Grow, Serve.” Trinity want people to know that America will NEVER be great until EVERYONE puts God first. Damn! Atheists, agnostics, secularists, and non-Christian relgionists are keeping America from being great! No worries. Donald Trump promises to make America great again.

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    “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.”

    So, one of the things I find hard and difficult yet also interesting is where I, myself, stand on things. Some of the things I was taught in Christianity I consider to be good. Looking out for others, seeing people as equal and not looking at class or wealth as a measurement of someone’s worth for instance.

    But then I do wonder what my own ideas and feeling are and what are still old ideas, because like Bruce has mentioned as well, he lived for God and so earthly possesions didn’t matter much. Now he wishes he had collected more earthly treasures, not less, since earth is probably all there is. So it makes sense to want money, a good house, car, and something set aside for a rainy day etc.

    Now I wonder if I’m not that interested in collecting much material goods because of my background of being focused on heaven and more immaterial things, or if I am like that myself as well. If it is in my own nature. The same goes for valueing people more for their existence, kindness, how they interact with others and if they do good rather than for their material wealth or position. Are these my own feelings or is it still my background speaking?

    I know I overthink things way too much, but it’s an interesting puzzle. What are my own morals and feelings?

    Because sometimes when I think, for instance, all human life is valueable, I stop myself and think deeper about it. All human life used to be valueable because we were made in God’s image and God had created everyone to be unique. This is why abortion was sinful too. So now I can think: all human life is valueable because we are all equal and every death causes trouble or despair (and could mean the world is deprived of a talentful person). But on the other hand, so many people die every day and the world keeps spinning. Human life is valuable for procreation, for your family and loved ones etc. but in the grand scheme of things, I’m not so sure about the impact or value of a single human life. And it feels pretty nihilistic to think that way, like nothing matters (close to more depressive thoughts), but I guess that’s the effect the whole millions of years has on me, and the knowledge that things could have gone quite differently, which would have meant humanity wouldn’t even exist at all. And at some point, that’s precisely where we’ll be (not us but the future humans) extinct, like every other species ever.

    It feels like a parody of the Fall: going from God’s children to future extinct species…

    So I guess I wonder how you all deal with that? How to find meaning in a meaningless world? How to create your own despite knowing this?

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    Hi Melody, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You and I both are still affected by the training we had. What you are doing now is honoring your own feelings but you are questioning your ownership of those feelings. That is an honest approach. I have found that as I have given myself permission to feel (any and everything that comes up) I have slowly become more sure of what I feel and know that it is my own. We are certainly affected by all kinds of advertising and our backgrounds do intrude on us as they were intended to do. The ?Jesuits? said that if they had a child before he was seven he would not depart. Christianity is designed to stick.
    One thing that became so clear to me fairly early on was that there were many many valid ways to see things and the way that was drummed into me for my whole childhood is only one perspective: It is never just Christianity or other.
    Well, unless you are Steven Anderson and are busily harming all those you can reach. Then it is indeed Christianity or eternal punishment.

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      Hey Brian,
      Thanks for the reply. Yeah, it is about sorting out things and looking at them from several sides. I guess part of it is also learning how to deal with more negative emotions. There wasn’t much place for them in Christianity: blessed is Your name when I’m found in the desert place and all that. I’m still learning to feel and not push everything away but examine my own feelings and thoughts. It feels rather late though, like it should have happened years before (teens) but beter late than never. I didn’t feel the freedom to be(come) myself before so it does make sense that it happens now.

      I am prone to depressive thoughts and whereas Christianity’s rules and burdens felt heavy on me back then, now it is more feelings of meaninglessness that bug me sometimes. The universe is so big and we are so small. Changing my perspective on the world and life has not changed that. Alas, becoming gloomy often comes easier to me than being happy.

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    J.D. Matthews

    You’ve got to love it when a failed stand-up comedian decides to become a pastor. The comedy gig didn’t work out, so he’s booked himself a new gig that’s guaranteed every week, and he can try his new material out on his congregation.

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Bruce Gerencser