The Journey of Young Paul

Updated 09 Jan 2016

Prologue

There are two questions everyone should ask in their lifetime.  What is the Meaning of Life and Why am I here?  Think about it.  Human self-awareness is at the core of these questions.  No other living being other than humans has this inner conscience.  The function of the conscience is to assess and reflect our performance.  The fact that we make inward looking assessments declares that we are Moral Beings.  This sense of moral oughtness is prescriptive in nature, and it transcends mere subjective feelings.[1] In other words, Morality is not taught.

Our conscience gives us the mechanism and capacity to choose and to demonstrate good behavior.  Proofs of moral behavior come from an inward unseen standard that all humans demonstrate and even atheists choose good behavior.  Our moral compass gives us the capacity to choose acceptable and unacceptable ethics from inward and unseen standards.  If we all have moral standards then that means there is Absolute Morality.  Whether we believe in God or not, our conscience gives us evidence there is a standard for behavior that comes from an Absolute Moral Being and that we are in his image.

The book of Geneses goes even further and says God is Spirit and each human is made in His Image.  Atheists say there is no God.  But if there isn’t an Absolute Moral Standard in their lives, then every behavior is permissible and everything ends up as Relativism.  So the existence of our inward unseen principles necessitates and obligates us to listen to our own judgments of right and wrong.  When we self-assess or “consider” ראה (râ’âh) our actions, do we meet our own moral standard?  If we do not, the question is, how do we become inwardly good?  For that matter, how does all of mankind accomplish acceptability (Morality) before an Absolute Moral Being?

The following journey is my personal pursuit of morality.  I discovered it involves relationships and one of those ends up with God.  That relationship brings about a complete forgiveness for failure and a heart change that fulfills the stainless requirements of an Absolute Moral Being.

My story

I lived in a small town in Lewistown, Montana with my parents and brother.  We were poor but didn’t know it.  To meet the needs of four, my dad and mom both worked for my Uncle Bob at his Gem Café.  Dad and mom were both Christians.  At age 6, that lifestyle to me was a standard of normal.  In the 1940’s my dad and mom would sing on a radio church service on Sunday afternoon.  I remember loving children Bible stories.   On Sunday morning, my dad would lead singing in a small converted house/church and my brother and I was always up in the first-row pew.  Preaching was about 4 feet away and I felt messages would reach my ears before the rest of the congregation.  It was in the spring of 1950 when I asked my dad if I could become a Christian.  Pastor Fry, my dad and I met in the back room where I understood that the payment for my sins was made by Jesus on the cross. I asked Jesus in my prayer to be my payment and I asked Him to come into my life.  After that meeting, my dad, brother and I went to the Gem Café for lunch where my mom was working waiting tables.  I told everyone in that restaurant that I had become a Christian that day.  This news was not well received.  People’s reactions disturbed me.  I didn’t realize that that would be the beginning of a war that would threaten to destroy my life and faith. Most everyone in our town knew who I was. I was Skip.

From that time onward my family became an example of Christian failure and hypocrisy.   Soon my dad and mom were separated and then they were divorced.   With no one home, while my mom worked, I was thrust into babysitting homes. That was the beginning of my physical abuse by “caregivers.”  During summer school breaks there were many different people who were caregivers for my brother and I.  One summer, the Baxter family took my brother Ron and I along with them as they followed road construction across Montana. They had a trailer home but we were not allowed to live in it or even enter without permission.  We were put in a small tent and to fend off the cold at night, we were given one sleeping bag on a folding cot.  All the Baxter family members participated in doing whatever they wanted to us.  We were shot with BB guns, firecrackers were thrown at us and then one day, we were tortured with lit matches to our fingers (to “keep us from playing with matches”), We had no hope of running away and we longed for the summer to end.

In school, most teachers and students treated me as a failure.  So, for most of my grade school years, I hated school.  One sixth grade teacher and the School Superintendent, Frank Savage, physically abused me.  He then covered up their abuse by forcing me to tell my mother, over the phone, I lied about the incident.   Where was the integrity in school leadership?  I had little guidance with an absentee father on how to deal with adult maltreatment face on.  Was my being a Christian a disaster?

I did find teachers who challenged me.  Four Junior High teachers challenged me in Science, Music, and Football.  I did not know if they were Christian but they were moral people.  Through their encouragement, I won the grand prize in the Regional Science fair.  I went on to win second place in the State of Montana.  I took the leading role in The Pied Piper of Hamelin.  In this child’s play, it was the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many rats from the town of Hamelin. Playing my magical flute they followed me to their watery demise.  I wished my enemies would do the same.

My dad died when I was a freshman in high school.  He died alone in a gardener’s shack in Seattle Washington.  In High School, I did well in football by lettering four years, I lettered in vocal music three years and in science, doing well by placing in the State Science Fair three years.

My life changed when I joined the Navy, ahead of the draft for the Vietnam War.  I served as a radioman and I qualified as a submariner aboard the nuclear submarine USS Permit (SSN594).  I met some real deal dedicated Christian friends in San Diego.   For the first time in a long time, I felt loved by Christ followers.  That kind of no-nonsense example of living made an impression and example of how I should walk.

The difference was having a meaningful relationship with Christians.  I saw living examples to follow and that began to change my life.  I saw how, when I was willing to ask God’s Holy Spirit to change me, I became a new creation He could use.  My struggles still continue, but only when I do not read and ask God to live through me.

During my military service, I was reintroduced to Carleen Winslow who I knew from age 6.  My change was what she said drew her to me.  We were married the year of my discharge from the very fast life of the nuclear submarine Navy.  Then I did something I thought I would never do; I went to school – College under the GI bill.  I received my BS degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado.  Science and Technology was always my passion from seventh grade.  That dare from my science teacher to enter my “radio” project in the science fair was the beginning of encouragements to trust God.  See “About Paul” for more information.

Epilogue

My Journey as a child at age 6 was not as dramatic as the tomb dweller that was rescued from a legion of demons – Mark Chapter 5.  It is not one where I had been rescued from drugs or alcohol.  But it is one where I have been rescued from the penalty of my wrongdoing.  Jesus paid the price of my rebellion against God.  This enormous payment was His death on a cross and then He arose from the dead.  And now I am His adopted son.

I cannot say I have arrived at a faultless life.  I do not know all of God’s purpose and general reasons for allowing evil and suffering in my life.  It may be that God uses evil and suffering to build the moral and spiritual character of his people or to express fatherly discipline (Rom. 5:3: Heb. 10:36; 12:4-11).

Courage is forged only through facing one’s fears.  Steel must be refined by fire.  For faith to grow, it must be tested by trial.  God appears to be more concerned about his children’s character than about their comfort; therefore he uses evil and suffering to facilitate the believer’s moral and spiritual maturity.  The apostle Paul, who endured much evil and suffering, explains the causal relationship between suffering and character: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4) [2]    But what I find useful is having a mechanism I can call on that rescuers me from actions of evil.   God’s Spirit is always there to either keep me or help me through the falling down events.  The adversary the devil will use my failure to 1) accuse me to the point of discouragement and 2) to use me as a bad example of what a Christian shouldn’t be.

But my God gives Mercy and Forgiveness when I repent of my transgressions.  I find it easier to repent my failures when I’m reading His Scriptures.  He then can use this vessel (my body) to live through.  I need this relationship more than He does.  He tells me I’m his Image Bearer and that’s OK.  He gives me gifts of the Spirit for His use.

I was in a bible study when I realized I must use my God-given gifts for His glory.  He gave me a science and technology gift.   He gave me understandings of His creation (nature) and how it is in harmony with Scripture.  I realized that there were understandings by the church body that was not right in their interpretations.   Scripture says that Nature is truthful and his written Word is truthful because God made both.  We must speak the truth from these two books.  It’s all about credibility and integrity.

Students of Science; look and see the truth of nature (God’s general revelation) and the truth of the bible (God’s Special revelation) and see they are in harmony when the correct interpretations are understood.  When the two are integrated correctly, they are the truth because God cannot lie in each.  I want so much for students to see that a relationship with Messiah Christ, unhindered with dogma, is the answer to their problem of evil and suffering.  Here is the exchange and switch; The Suffering of God in Christ is the ultimate solution to the problem of evil for human beings.  This is my passion.

I know firsthand how Satan wants to destroy our lives and use our failures as examples to keep people from salvation.  Yes, that is the greatest and oldest play in the playbook of the deceiver.  I suppose that is where I’m most sensitive.  I’m on a quest for truthfulness.  When I see it, I love it.  When I don’t, I want to challenge and change that untruthfulness.  That is the reason for my blog “Pursuit for Truth.”

Being called by God to his own puts me metaphorically into the Decapolis district of Bible lands where Jesus took his disciples on a missionary journey; where the gates of hell are (Hebrew off limits).  See my blog, “INTO DECAPOLIS and making an impact.”  People who make the greatest impact for Christ are those who are the most impassioned about their mission.  They are not necessarily the most knowledgeable.  They seem to be the ones who have the greatest impact because of their own passionate story of their conversion (this is called a testimony).  What I also like about “true” life stories is when true testimonies are told; they speak of failure, repentance, forgiveness, and redemption.  That brings about the most impact and the greatest results for God.

We are truly in the last day/age because of the exponential increase of knowledge (God’s general revelation) to all mankind.  May you join me in your pursuit for truth and knowledge from the two books of God?  It’s Jesus who tells Daniel what will be our experience of this age, at the end of the seventh day/age of rest.

Dan 12:4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.

 

Appendix

Faith and Science Quotes

Dr. Jay Richards, Ph.D. said “It’s important for Christians to prize truth more highly then even the non-Christian does so that when the non-Christians see the Christian prizing truth and not dogmatically ridiculing the thing that they know to be true then the non-Christian is much more likely to believe those things he does not believe.”

The greatest of the church fathers, Augustine, said that “Christians could not afford to say foolish things about science without Christianity appearing to be less than credible.”

Mark Ashion said, “If somebody comes in at the front end and says that in order to believe Jesus you need to believe that the earth is also a younger earth, what that does is it puts up one more intellectual barrier that they have to overcome in order to become a Christian.  Oftentimes for people, that barrier is a harder barrier for them to overcome than a belief in Jesus, that God became a human being and that he died on the cross to pay for our sins that he resurrected from the dead.  For some people, a young earth is a harder thing to swallow than that.”

Dr. C John Collins, Ph.D. said,  “Paul’s speech in Acts chapter 17, where he is speaking to philosophers in Athens who have no Bible background whatever,  he’s pointing to things that he is affirming that they know about the world and it’s not the thing that they know about the world that is the problems. It’s where they are able to go with those and how they are able to explain those things that are the problem.”

Dr. Craig Keener, Ph.D. said, “If we are to follow the example of Paul then we need to be able to articulate that message in terms that our culture understands without compromising the content, the theology, the heart of the message that God originally gave us.”

Lon Allison said, “When science helps us understand the complexity, the order, and beauty of the heavens, the earth, and the human being, it becomes much easier to than suggest that there must have been a purpose for it all.  Once you get to the purpose questions, you start talking about a personal God and what the whole reason for existence is about, which is theology.  So the science leads us right to good theology.”

[1] Kenneth Richard Samples, 7 Truths that Changed the World (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012). pp.120

[2] Kenneth Richard Samples, 7 Truths that Changed the World (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012). pps.212-213


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