Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Journey

“High speed–low drag”
  When you get in line for the ministry of NTCC, your life takes on a certain glow. You have been selected, anointed, chosen. You are being primed for your future as a member of God’s Elite Special Forces. You have come to believe that the vortex of God’s Business is Graham, Washington, and all you can think about is getting there.
  Once the decision has been made, you enter a new realm. Your pastor will treat you differently. You begin to enjoy a newfound respect from all quarters. You are filling the heads of your spouse and children with tales of the glorious adventure that awaits, while other church members admire your consecration. They claim that they can see The Call upon your life, that you are obviously endowed with great gifts. They jokingly call you “reverend”, tease your mate about becoming a preacher’s wife; and you smile while maintaining appropriate caution, warning the brethren of the seriousness of the ministry.
  You begin with great fanfare. The other brethren view you as something of a cut above the rest. Universal admiration is bestowed upon you, because you have answered The Call. You have taken on the mantle of Leadership, with all its attendant responsibilities. You are going to be a preacher, about to commence the adventure of a lifetime.
  You have shed the carnal things of this life. Your wife (or husband) is better looking, and life more thrilling, because you have recognized your purpose on Earth and have answered The Call. You have been chosen. It is all the more impressive if you are embarking on this quest with barely enough money to get there and all your possessions crammed into an orange Pacer with a grey fender because you are answering The Call strictly by faith. Heroically, you ride toward the horizon obscured by your own blue cloud of smoke. Nothing else matters because The Call is calling.
  You feel very strongly that you are doing something great and meaningful, perhaps the single most important thing you have ever done. You have perhaps been infused with the sense that Graham is equal in stature to other famous geographical centers of historical Christianity such as Antioch and Wittenberg; as well as those locations notorious in Pentecostal ranks, like Kansas City, Wales, and the Azusa district.
  You have separated yourself from the ordinary ties of family and friendship. Your pastor has probably discouraged you from visiting your parents and other relations due to their potentially discouraging influence. In the early stages of your programming, his goal was to “get you in” before contradictory information could take hold of your mind. Now he ensures that nothing interferes with your decision
  As you depart with the prayers and good wishes of your fellows, you feel like a missionary bound for savage parts. You have worked yourself up to believe that Holiness or Hell is God’s battle cry for this generation, and as a member of his Green Berets, you will carry the banner that reads Holiness unto the Lord. The church-world is against you, your family is against you, and Satan is against you. All the more reason to head down the interstate without delay. “All these things are against me…but God is for me!”
  Mundane occurrences will take on preternatural significance, as the trek becomes the battleground of a spiritual war. Better-than-expected gas mileage will be viewed as a blessing of God that confirms the rightness of your decision to attend NTCS. Negative input, from parental misgivings to flat tires to ill treatment at the hands of a waitress at Denny’s, will be seen as the resistance of the Evil One and passed off as “just the devil”. You are unable to think in terms other than these, because you have been trained to assume that NTCC is the focal point of God’s plan, and all such as inhibit the advancement of The Work of the Lord are the embodiment of the Enemy. They have turned you against family members–even those who are Christians (or in NTCC parlance, who “claim to be” Christians) as enemies for the gospel’s sake. At this point, you have tunnel vision, and all you can see is Graham. 
This article is from a series entitled “What Can I Expect From New Testament Christian Seminary?

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