The Christian Extremist Who Protested Target Bathrooms Was My Best Man (VIDEO)

As I was sitting in my car in a parking lot, my boys in the back seat, waiting for my wife to come out of Old Navy, I took a glance through my Facebook feed and this is what I saw:

“Here we go again,” I thought. “Another bigoted Christian extremist spreading their hate in public.” But it was not just “another Christian.” At 0:16 I couldn’t believe my eyes — the bouncer in the white plaid shirt was someone I knew, or thought I knew. “It couldn’t be, I’ll wait to show it to Arielle (my wife) when she gets here.” After she got into the car I held up the paused screen and asked if she recognized the man. She did.target2

The man in the video (I’ll call him Aaron) was my best man in our wedding four years ago. The others in the video are his new in-laws.

We grew up together. My wife has known him since they were eight years old. I met him in our early teens. Back then, we were both homeschooled, conservative, Evangelical Christians. My family soon started attending the same “house-church” as his family, and we started to spend lots of time together.

To be fair, neither of our families were this radical in their religion. Yes, both of our parents had removed us from the public school so that we could “avoid the influence of Satan” that is so prevalent in our society (heavy sarcasm); and yes, we were both convinced that Jesus was the savior of the world and wanted us to join in the fight to rid the world of evil. But that’s where we parted ways.

After “graduating” from homeschool high school, I enlisted in the Army. I wanted to make the world a better place by sacrificing a portion of my life in service of my fellow citizens. While I was in the Army I got married, had a kid, and had gradually transformed into a (very) liberal Christian. By the time my enlistment was up, I believed our LGBTQ brothers and sisters should be treated equally and fairly, I no longer thought women should submit to men, I doubted that prayer had an effect on the world, I didn’t believe in a literal place called “hell,” and had begun to question faith in general. In short, I was on the way out, and very far down the path toward what I am today — a secularist, naturalist, and humanist.

Me and Aaron (right) at my wedding in 2011. Yes, I looked twelve!

Aaron (right) and I at my wedding in 2011. Yes, I looked twelve!

But it seems that my friend and best man, Aaron, went down a much different path. After his “graduation” he continued to live at home with his parents, and eventually met his wife through his connections in the conservative homeschool community. And, as it turns out, her family is even more extreme in their religion than either of ours ever were. While I was beginning my university studies (thanks to Uncle Sam), Aaron was attending long prayer sessions with his new family in which (he said) they apparently exorcised demons from him, leading to a new calling to rid the world of sin.

Though he says nothing in the video above, I can only assume that he is on board with the general message being screamed at the Target customers since he was along for the ride as, what appears to be, some sort of bouncer for mom-in-law. Not only does this video (and my friend’s participation in the activities) anger me, it also makes me very sad. We both started in relatively similar circumstances. But while I was lucky enough to escape the clutches of religion, Aaron was pulled deeper into its deranged vision of the world — a vision that sees everyone not in one’s tribe as evil, depraved, and the harbingers of the coming judgement.

Of course we have freedom of speech, but what happens in this video is closer to disturbing the peace with hate speech than anything else. I’m pretty sure my kids are in more danger of being damaged if they hear people, in what should be a calm and peaceful store, scream things like:

“Mothers, get your children out of this store!” 

AND

“Are you going to let the devil rape your children, America?” 

AND

“Repent, wicked Target…the judgement of God is coming on this nation and Target!”

As a friend pointed out, if these were Muslims holding a Koran and shouting in Arabic, we might be justified in fearing religious violence. We would probably see this video on television for days, and read about it at the newsstand. The media would call these people terrorists and there would be public outrage.  But since Christianity is the dominant religion (for now) in America, this type of behavior probably won’t make any major news outlet or magazine. The Christian privilege that has infected our nation not only allows for this type of behavior to go unchecked, but also to receive support from certain corners.

So that’s why I am writing this. All I can do is continue to lend my voice to the growing tide of authors, thinkers, and public intellectuals — fellow citizens who are fed up with our nation being infected with religion, fed up with hate being legislated, fed up with respect being given to the types of people who likely would have burned “witches” at the stake four hundred years ago, fed up with religions being given a pass for no good reason, and fed up with our friends and family being treated as second-class citizens simply because they are “different.” Enough is enough. I wish my best man was standing on the right side of the fence, but all I can do is “speak the truth in love” and hope that in the end, reason, equality, and common sense will prevail.

About Matt Young

Matt grew up in a conservative, evangelical, Christian home. After high school, he served in the U.S. Army, got married, and is now father of two toddlers (both boys). He is completing a B.A. in Philosophy from Houghton College, and plans to do graduate work in the field. Though he was raised as a Christian, he no longer believes in any gods, and self-identifies as atheist and secular humanist.

You can find more from him on his personal blog, www.TheHumanGadfly.com and connect via Twitter and Facebook.

  • http://nohell4u.wordpress.com Marty McDonald

    Excellent post Matt!

    • Matt Young

      Thanks, Marty!

  • http://mychristianexperienceblog.wordpress.com Way Past Due

    Wow. You must’ve been blown away! What a shocker to see someone you know involved in something so hateful. To me, he looks a little embarrassed in the video. Seems like it would have had to have been uncomfortable and awkward.

    Wouldn’t it have been great if the crowd there at Target had busted into a chorus of We Are The World to drown out this woman’s voice?

  • http://gravatar.com/jeffreypaull jeffreypaullJeff

    Very well-written! Clear, concise, and we (most of us) thank you for taking such care!

  • http://jhoudephotography.wordpress.com jhoudephotography

    It must have been so difficult for you to realize it was your friend on the video. I agree with you, we have a double standards in this country when it comes to religion. If these would have been Muslims, I am pretty certain the police would have been called in.

  • Blastus

    Matt Young let Me get this straight are you siding with a grown Man going into the bathroom with lets say a 5 year old Girl?…. If so then you are on the side of The Devil…..

    IT LOOKS LIKE AARON CHOSE THE RIGHT SIDE !….There is no way Matt that you could even be remotely be Born Again….. What you needed was more spankings and more Bible lessons when you were a Child…. SHAME ON YOU !….I READ YOUR ENTIRE POST AND YOU SIR ARE THE UNLOVING ONE!…You dont love Children because you wont protect them…You are very INTOLERANT & very Judgmental towards Christians

    • Ken

      AMEN!!!

    • Matt Young

      I see plenty of grown men in bathrooms with five year olds — their dads, grandpa’s, brothers, and uncles. So what it seems you have a problem with is non-familymember member men in the same bathrooms with girls. What about the grown men in bathrooms with little boys? Don’t they need protecting too, or is it only the girls? And what makes you think transgender people are preying on little kids in bathrooms? Are there any documented cases of this happening? No! Are transgender people more likely to be pedophiles? No!

      And while we are at it, why aren’t you worried about Catholic priests in bathrooms? They have molested children at a far higher rate than transgender people have.

      As far as who is unloving and judgemental: I’m not the one judging a whole group of people that I have never met based on no evidence. That’s what Christian bigots like Aaron are doing. I’m only judging to the extent that I have experienced Christians acting in hateful ways; and that is plain for all to see.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000740374376/ Robyn Blanpied

      Willfully ignorant, or just hopelessly brainwashed? Educate yourself to what a transgendered human being is. Stop embarrassing America.

    • Jocelyn Sloan

      I’m going to be wasting key strokes here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say something. First, trans women aren’t men, so your whole argument is invalid. And no, I’m not going to argue with you about that because I don’t argue about facts .Second, why is it weirder, or more wrong, for a grown man to go into a bathroom where there’s a little girl and not a little boy? Either way they’re still in the bathroom with a child .One more thing where were you when women and children were being abused before this “issue” came to light? Cause that’s been going on long before

  • Ken

    I am also featured in this video(guy in green shirt). I am “Aarons” brother in law. As for “this type of behavior probably won’t make any major news outlet or magazine”. The video is currently trending on facebook, and a large number of news outlets both in the US and UK have picked it up. As for the author of this article, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good’. You can deny God and seek foolishness all you want. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Enjoy the pleasures of sin while they last. For the last only for a season, and after that, JUDGEMENT!!!

    • pennywit

      Enjoy the pleasures of sin while they last.

      The Target red card isn’t that great. I mean, who doesn’t like 5 percent off on every purchase? But it’s not quite a pleasure of sin.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

        Tell that to the person who has been sexually abused as a child. Did they enjoy the sin the person was inflicting upon them?

        • pennywit

          SQUIRREL!

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

            No pennywit, you said it so I just commented on it. Answer my question, you say sin is pleasurable but how about for the victim in this case? What about the woman having an abortion? Abortion is a sin, but the aftermath can be a trainwreck for her. Is that pleasurable? What about for the baby in the womb? Is it pleasurable for that baby to get ripped apart?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

            Scott, pennywit was quoting Ken (and mocking him). Over your head, unsurprisingly.

          • pennywit

            No, Scott, I said no such thing. Reread. The previous person referred to the pleasures of sin. I responded with sarcasm to highlight the ridiculousness of that statement. And you went with a distraction. So I stand by my comment:

            SQUIRREL!!

      • Jocelyn Sloan

        Brilliant!

    • Matt Young

      I’m glad I was proved wrong on the video’s popularity; now the whole world can see how bigoted and hateful some American Christians really are.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

      Ken, when you scream bible verses at people who have enough education to know the bible is nonsense, it loses its power. There are other books on the shelf these days. No need to base your life on a book written by desert dwellers who didn’t know where the sun went at night.

    • Paul Douglas

      Quoting voodoo texts only affects the superstitious. You’ve got magical thinking not unlike a young child, Ken.

      But maybe you’re one of them “Westboro boys” from Kansas.

    • Jason

      Missed that part where Jesus said not to judge others lest ye be judged, huh?

    • http://gravatar.com/brbr2424 brbr2424

      The internet has turned us all into a planet of voyeurs. Sure, baby sloths are cute, but nothing compares to a loud crazy Christian lady ranting. They are laughing AT you. Nothing was more pitiful than the grown men following her around. You really need to get your own life. You should cringe every time you see the video.

    • John Stone

      Amen Preach It Brother!!!!!

    • http://nowamfoundblog.wordpress.com nowamfoundatlast

      “if there is a god”? well if there is, consider what a poor job your onmipotent omniscient omnibenevolent god has done for the past 2000 year.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

    I know Aaron myself and although I do my own street preaching with a different way I do have to ask you a question Matt. You Self identify as a liberal Christian and one thing I have learned is anyone who does so is at odds with GOD over sins which are an abomination to HIM such as abortion, sexual immorality of any kind and same sex marriage. Now I am guessing as a liberal Christian you approve of those I just mentioned which means you are calling GOD a liar and that further means you are not a born again follower of JESUS.

    You will want to open GOD’S word and double check what HE says about sin. I hope you find the truth because if not you will hear those words from JESUS, “Depart from ME you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

      Matt is an atheist, so…… your entire reply was irrelevant on more than one level.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

        I ask you to re-read Matt’s response.

    • http://christianexpatriatedotcom.wordpress.com Matt

      Sorry for the confusion on my Gravatar profile. I have not identified as a “Liberal Christian” for some time now. I don’t believe in a supernatural or transcendent aspect to reality, which includes gods, demons, angles, devils, spirits, fairies, or the like. I currently identify as a secular humanist, atheist, non-theist, naturalist, etc.

      Thanks for the heads-up about the incorrect profile!

      As to your comment: I have opened the Bible many times, and I am currently studying it academically at university. If you think it is simply a matter of opening the pages and discovering “God’s truth,” then you are the one who needs to do the double-checking. Neither abortion or same-sex marriage are mentioned anywhere in the Bible, so if you are going to pronounce them as sin, just realize you are doing what anyone who reads the Bible does — interpreting it for what they want it to mean, even if that’s not actually what it says.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

        Matt, when GOD proclaims something, in this case marriage is between one man and one woman such as the case HE did with Adam and Eve and referenced the same in other parts it eliminates anything else.

        Let’s keep it simple on this one matt. You know the 10 commandments, GOD’S moral laws which still are applicable and not murdering is one of them. Now would I be surprised if you said that the baby inside the womb is a baby from the moment of conception? If you say it is ok to have an abortion then indeed that is murder and a sin.

        You know the truth Matt, you know GOD exists and yet you have rejected HIM and have come under the delusion the Bible speaks of.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          Again, tossing out scripture from a multiple-millennia-old book written by people who used a deity as the answer to anything and everything they didn’t have answers for is nonsense. Especially to someone who has done enough research to understand that it’s total bullshit. Not to mention a book that endorses slavery, rape, murder, human sacrifice, and much more. This is your moral guide? Horrific. Your outdated 10 commandments are amusing. Honor your parents and don’t covet are in there, but not rape, assault, torture, arson, slavery… I guess those are ok.

  • Amy

    I am sorry to hear that you have walked away from your Christian upbringing but it seems to me that although you were raised in a Christian home, you did not experience God’s saving power in your own life. I will pray for you that God will move in your life and you will find Salvation through the blood of Jesus. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new!! Aaron has experienced this salvation and is grieved by the sin and wickedness of our nation and I am sure he simply wants to do what he can to stand for the God that saved him.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

      Matt went through what many people do. He took advantage of an opportunity to venture outside his Christian bubble and gain education, wisdom, and life experience. With that, often comes the abandonment of religion, as it’s no longer useful after we realize it’s nonsense. While you may passive-aggressively hope and pray that he rekindles a magical relationship with an imaginary entity, I hope that you someday take the initiative to go outside your bubble as well, and actually study the origins of the bible and its gospels from an objective, historical viewpoint, instead of relying on what your family, pastors, and religious “educators” tell you. There have been over 2000 gods worshipped by man throughout human history, and you have latched onto just one of those. May Thor take mercy on you after your death for worshipping a false idol. See, meaningless.

      • Amy

        I do and have studied the Bible. But more than that, I have a relationship with God and I walk daily with him. I feel his presence, I see him work in answer to prayer. I have seen him work miracles and to say he is not real is nothing but a lie and nothing you could say would ever convince me of it. I see him manifested in creation and in the lives of other people that walk with him. See, you can’t understand it because you have not experienced it. But I have and there is absolutely nothing better in life. Do you think that study could make you deny the existence of your dad? Of course not, you see him you know him you absolutely believe he exists. I know my God and Saviour. He is real and alive.

        • pennywit

          Amy, you state that “nothing [Kevin] could say would ever convince” you that God is not real. Are you trying to convince him of the opposite? If so, why? If Christians in Kevin’s own life cannot convince him of this, then how could an anonymous voice on the Internet sway him to a diametrically opposed position?

          • Amy

            Anyone who has ever experienced the presence of God is going to want other people to experience it too. I don’t want people to just have a random faith in a higher power, I want everyone to know and walk with the living God!! He cannot convince me that God is not real because it is not true. God is real and I want everyone to know him.

          • pennywit

            Amy:

            You describe a transcendent experience. If you have had that experience, I refuse to criticize you for it. Indeed, if you draw happiness from that experience, then I hope you continue to do so.

            But your transcendent experience is also a highly personal experience, and thus a highly subjective one. How can you expect that experience to convince a stranger on the Internet to change his deeply held beliefs?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          As a former born-again Christian, I’m very well familiar with all of the rationalizations and woo that you’re dishing out, because I used to do it too. The difference is, I wasn’t satisfied with it and began to think critically about the origins of christianity, the bible, and other religions. It’s nice to see that the rest of the world is moving in that direction too, thanks to the information age. I’m sorry to say it’s passing you by. Your viewpoints are dangerous to social and scientific progress and are detrimental to society. It’s really a shame.

          • Amy

            The Bible say, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and He shall direct thy paths. But God isn’t asking us to just come up with some random faith in some pie in the sky. When we trust in God with all our heart, the paths he has for us are sweet beyond anything I could have imagined. I have tested and tried it. What do you have to offer that you feel is better? What is passing me by? I have lived for myself, I have walked in sin. The paths of the Lord are infinitely better. This morning as I prayed the presence of God came down and it was sweet!! What is passing me by that can compare with that?

        • John Stone

          Amen!!!

      • Blastus

        Matt says it’s alright for a grown man to go the bathroom infront of a 5 year old as long as they are related… Really?…A large majority of Child Molestations are done by Parents and Relatives…… Matt I sure hope no one hires you as a Babysitter

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          Last I checked, everyone in public bathrooms isn’t going to the bathroom “in front of each other.” We have bathroom stalls. At least in my part of the US we do.

        • http://christianexpatriatedotcom.wordpress.com Matt

          I didn’t say that at all. I said that I have seen grown men in bathrooms with young girls…how else is she supposed to use the restroom when she is that young and out in public with her (male) relative?

          Of course the majority of sexual assaults of children happen with someone they know and usually trust; but if that’s true, then your concern over transgender people in the bathroom is moot! Who is more likely to molest a child? Their relative. So until we start separating all children from all relatives then transgender people should be the least of our worries!

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1013875605303745/ Scott Davidson

        Are you Matt’s person spokesman?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          I’m the owner of this site. Feel free to piss off if you can’t handle my responses.

    • http://christianexpatriatedotcom.wordpress.com Matt

      I second everything Kevin already said, but will add a bit for myself.

      I am very happy that I’ve walked away from my Christian upbringing — I can now see the world as it really is. Now, instead of thinking that God has a good and perfect plan that I need to get in line with, I can simply live my life and embrace the good and bad simply as part of the human experience.

      As far as “experiencing the saving power” in my life — that is a No True Scotsman fallacy. You have no idea what I did or did not experience in my life — you aren’t me! You have no idea what I felt, saw, believed, lost, and sacrificed for when I was a believer. I lost friends and family, job opportunities, etc because of my “relationship” with Jesus. I believed he was real, that he spoke to me, and that I was playing a small part in advancing “The Kingdom.” But, as Kevin said, I eventually grew up. I started learning about the world, science, religion, philosophy, and realized that there is no more evidence for Jesus and Yahweh in reality as there is for any of the other thousands of gods people have bowed down to, sacrificed to, and killed for.

      You say that you have studied the Bible; may I ask where and from what scholars/historians/etc? While your offer to pray is taken with a grain of salt, I like to assume that you really do care for my well-being, as I do yours. So, pray for me if you want, and I’ll do the thinking for you.

      • McCollum

        That is a non sense statement. “There is no more evidence for Jesus and Yahweh in reality”

        Whether you believe Jesus to be God is one thing but Jesus did exist and the evidence is overwhelming on that point. Which shows you walked away from the faith blindly being lead away by the blind which is everything of the world that meant more to you. That’s more crazy then this story of (aaron).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          Someone needs a history lesson. Please point us to the “overwhelming evidence” of Jesus’ existence. I encourage you to read the book “On the Historicity of Jesus” by historian, Dr. Richard Carrier if you really have any interest in being educated in the matter.

      • Amy

        That last line…nails it.

    • Paul Douglas

      “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new!!”

      If that nonsense were true we would live in a different world, believe me. It’s because christianists like yourself are no different than the vast majority of nonbelievers that proves the lie to christianism. People are people, some good, some bad, most in-between. Extreme religiosity seems highly correlated to all kinds of things, hypocrisy, gluttony and self-righteousness being among the first to come to mind.

      • Amy

        I would agree that most people that profess Christianity do not live any different than unbelievers. Simply calling themselves Christians does not mean they are in Christ though. Being religious actually has nothing to do with being a true follower of Christ. A religious person is one who is keeping or attempting to keep a set of rules or beliefs and earn his salvation. A true follower of Christ, or someone who is in Christ is someone who has experienced what Christians refer to as being born again. This is a transformation that only God can do and someone who has experienced it is truly a new creature.

        You cannot judge God by people though. People, even Christian people are fallible. God alone is perfect and holy.

    • http://gravatar.com/brbr2424 brbr2424

      Your insecurity is showing. When a former fundamentalist Christian becomes an atheist, it does not compute, so you go with the “you were never really a Christian” falsehood.

  • Amy

    I feel for you Matt. I have been a Christian a lot of years, I have experienced more losses that I care to remember, I have at times doubted everything I ever believed. I have walked away from God and he has been very patient with me. I don’t have it all together and I struggle many days with doubts and fears just like anyone else. But I do know that God is the answer and he is all sufficient. Not because of anything anybody taught me, but because I have walked it. I have proved the promises of God and I have experienced his mercy extended to me at my very lowest points in life when there was no one else to trust in. God says in the Bible that you shall find Me when you search for Me with your whole heart. And it is so worth the search. I am not trying to argue with you, or convince you to believe like me. I don’t even want to convince you to believe in God. I want you to know Him! to experience Him! to walk with Him! Who will stand and intercede for you in the day of judgement? It is coming, and just saying you no longer believe in it doesn’t change the reality. Sure it is easier to live for ourselves in this life. But this life is not all we have.

    • Paul Douglas

      Evidence for any of these claims Amy, other than your subjective feelings and “experiences”, quotes from your holy tome or the assertions of your preacher? The same kind of evidence you would demand of a muslim or a hindu who made the same claims that you just did?

      Why is your particular brand of deity more likely than Allah or Vishnu?

      • Amy

        If you really wanted to know and aren’t just being critical, yes, of course. I believe in and seek after truth.

    • http://mychristianexperienceblog.wordpress.com Way Past Due

      I feel for you Amy. You sound like me 25 years ago clinging with a white knuckle grip on the illusion that you can have a personal relationship with someone you can’t see, touch, feel, or hear, much less prove. I did the same for nearly 40 years… It was very hard to be brutally honest with myself and admit I was mistaken.

      • Amy

        If you are not seeing, touching, feeling or hearing from God it is most likely because you have sin in your life that you are not willing to let go of. The Bible says in Isaiah chapter 1 that if you have sin in your life that God does not even hear your prayers. A relationship with God comes only through repentance and turning away from sin. All sin, not just the big ones.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

          Typical bullshit apologist response right there.”If your prayers aren’t answered, there must be something wrong with you. It’s all your fault.” I guess the children around the world who die from famine and disease every day also have some explaining to do. “For god so loved the world, he allowed millions of children to die.” Who are we to question, right? Nonsense.

          • Amy

            So you think we should be able to live anyway we want and God should just be on tap to bail us out anytime we need it? We are talking about God here, not a fairy Godmother.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices Kevin Davis

            No, I think we should live in such a way that benefits humanity as well as the earth. That’s how I try to live. That has nothing to do with subscribing to an invisible imaginary friend. Morality predates religion, and the bible is far from a book of morality.

        • http://mychristianexperienceblog.wordpress.com Way Past Due

          I get it, Amy. I understand your desire to turn this toward my failure and sin to build a wall of protection around your faith. Been there, done that. But I ask, in all earnest, how to you see god? How do you touch god? Hear god? All furry, fuzzy feelings of chills and tingles aside, how do you build a relationship with the invisible and silent? How do you reconcile the words ‘personal relationship’ when you cannot know for certain anyone is in the room with you?

          • Amy

            Way Past Due, I didn’t mean to sound like I was accusing you when I said you had sin in your life. I was speaking from personal experience there. I went through some very hard times and grew quite bitter and angry both with God and some people and stopped hearing anything from God. It felt like my prayers never went beyond the ceiling and I finally stopped praying at all. One night in complete desperation I cried out to God and asked Him, where are you? Why can’t I find you? He answered by showing me the sin in my life the way He sees it. It was a sight so black and terrible that I laid on the floor and cried for I don’t know how long before I was even able to ask forgiveness. Over the next months God began to convict me of individual sins and as I made things right with people and repented of things God showed me I began to feel his presence when I prayed and to see Him answer prayers. He also began healing relationships and restoring my marriage that was on the rocks. My husband was suffering from serious , life altering depression but as he watched the change in me he also began to spend time praying and seeking after God and he is a different man today. There is not a magic formula for finding God but when we diligently seek Him He can be found. Now when God shows me something not right in my life, I want to be quick to make it right because His presence is worth anything any sacrifice. God isn’t loud, He never shouts at us but if we are willing to listen He speaks to us and He changes us. The presence of God is not just a feeling, although I do LOVE to feel his presence, it changes us if we will let it. It is not easy, and the blessings have come at the cost of many tears and laying down my own will but the rewards are beyond imagining.

            The problem with most people, including those that profess Christianity is they are not willing to spend hours on their knees seeking God, they don’t want to lay down their will and their don’t want anyone telling them what to do. I have lived my life that way too and the Christian life IS hard. The Bible uses words like fight, battle , war to tell us how to live. I have found the victories to be worth every battle.

        • http://mychristianexperienceblog.wordpress.com Way Past Due

          No worries, Amy! I didn’t take it personally at all! :0) And thank you for such a thorough and thoughtful comment.

          Having had so many similar experiences myself, every single word you’ve written in your comment is familiar to me. (Some phrases sound exactly like how I would have described them back in the day). I too, have spent hours in prayer hearing nothing. Like you, I also cried out to god in pure frustration over an endless silence. And yes, I also cried out in desperation for him to show me anything at all to prove he was there and gave a hoot about me. So I TOTALLY get what you’re saying!

          You described things in life not going well. It’s not unusual for a person facing troubles to embark on a bit of introspection in an effort to find a better way to cope. You call this conviction from god. I’m simply wondering if it may have been your natural instinct to find what’s broken so you can fix it, starting with yourself? (very cool, btw. beats pointing fingers!)

          Because you’re a Christian, you prayed during these hard times. Totally makes sense… I did the same. But if one goes to the prayer closet aiming to hear from god, is it not fair to say that you’ll interpret just about anything as god speaking because that was your aim all along?

          For decades I’ve heard the claim that ‘god doesn’t shout’ and that god is a gentleman as you have indicated here. Heck… I used to say that when I taught a prayer class in our church! But how can anyone know this? The OT certainly does not back up this claim…god was quite the shouter according to many accounts in scripture. I’m just wondering if making the claim that god is a gentleman isn’t a way to explain away the silence?

          I guess I just asked you 3 questions at the end of the last 3 paragraphs. If you have any interest in posting your thoughts on them, I’d sure be interested in your perspective.

  • pennywit

    Amy, Kevin, Scott, anybody else:

    Are we talking to each other here, or are we talking past each other? These comments have gone the way they usually do, with atheists staking out one position and theists the other, neither one budging, and each evincing contempt and/or condescension for the other camp.

    Doesn’t seem to be the best use of time.

  • squiblet

    Anthropologically speaking, coming from a basically secular society where religious fundamentalism is regarded with deep suspicion, this thread is a fascinating insight into Christian fundamentalism in America – quite incredible in a first world country. It would be an interesting experience to enable Amy to meet and chat with her Islamic counterpart – they would have so much in common. I wonder if Amy would be able to appreciate that same adherence to an ancient book and deity when it is a different book and different perception albeit of the same God?

  • Pingback: AFA Rekindles Target Boycott Over Peeping Tom()

  • Pingback: Non sequitur much? AFA Rekindles Target Boycott Over Peeping Tom | www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices()