*This is a 10 chapter endeavor that will be completed on December 21, 2020. The remaining 5 chapters will resume respectively as follows :
12.7.2020 // 12.14.2020 // 12.21.2020 //*
When Tomson’s family moved to Albuquerque, everything seemed to naturally change. His family found a new church home called “OVERFLOWING RIVERS” and with a new church meant different ways of how he understood faith. It started with the doctrine known as Eternal Security. A doctrine that claims once you’re SAVED, you’re ALWAYS saved (OSAS).
This stood in stark contrast to HOLY FIRE ON THE HILL which emphasized one could loose their salvation – if not committed to works made to maintain a holy life.
He was most drawn to OSAS because of his fascination with time and the idea of eternity and most importantly, eternal love that could not be disturbed. Tomson often thought : “If G-D loved me, would this last forever or was forever contingent, based on how good he performed in his everyday life?”
It made sense to Tomson that once receiving a gift of salvation, he’d always have this gift for life. It couldn’t be forged by personal behavior, in fact why would you even want to live a life of sin, after experiencing the best gift known? That was until Tomson came across Hebrews 6:4-6 :
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
This was the scripture his Father used a leverage to the idea one can lose their salvation. At first glance, it made perfect sense. One could eat from the delights of enlightenment and then fall away. He debated this to his father faithfully “But it’s not true! He’d claim.” The bible also says in 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” Tomson kept wrestling scripture with his Dad and peers for what felt like a very long time. he could not understand how people could read the same bible and take completely different meanings from the chapters and verses.
This only encouraged Tomson to rebel even further. Why would he let anyone convince him otherwise? especially, when these mountains of clay could quickly be turned into a rock, castle, or a lumpy hassle! OVERFLOWING RIVERS was a vastly different experience from HOLY FIRE ON THE HILL. For starters, they did not seem so hung up on the Traditions Tomson knew to be common.
At HOLY FIRE ON THE HILL – Women were encouraged to wear dresses and never trousers/pants *if she did have pants on, judgement was quickly disposed to her*. She better not have any red or colored lipstick or fingernail polish either. At OVERFLOWING RIVERS in Albuquerque – these rules seemed to go out the pulpit. The people dressed as they liked and seemed to not care about how others perceived them, for their relationship with G-D was more important than the traditional customs others were accustomed to.
The pastor was very vibrant and had a scream so loud, you’d think he could part the red sea with it. He always claimed, “God gave Moses his rod and he gave me my SCREAM!” The strength of his voice was reasoned with his ability to also teach in such a calm manner. As much as Tomson loved seeing people dance and shout to the music, he loved even more the teachings of the bible in a clear but humors dictation which fancied Pastor’s SCREAMER style of preaching.
While Tomson’s Family was always a religious family that went to church as often as three times a week in SHREVEPORT, much of that changed in Albuquerque. Just before Hurricane RAYKWAN struck, The local pastor and Bishop of their jurisdiction died suddenly at the start of the year. It was a huge blow for HOLY FIRE ON THE HILL.
Bishop and Pastor GRIN was a very charismatic and Holiness preacher who had very clear beliefs surrounding the way of holiness, but Tomson remembers him as a man with one of the biggest grins you could witness. Maybe that’s why his family tree gave him his ‘Grin’. His wife had one of the most tender voices that warmed you just by hearing her. Thus, his passing started a series of revivals which remained up until Hurricane RAYKWAN hit in August.
Tomson’s father was an Elder in the church who would sometimes preach whenever he was called upon. When Bishop GRIN died, his father was crushed and very distraught after his passing. It being one of the first and only times – Tomson remembers seeing tears in his fathers eyes. When moving to Albuquerque, his father made a clear declaration that he would never join another church again but start his own. It didn’t help that when the family decided to attend OVERFLOWING RIVERS for the first time : there was a woman sitting in the pulpit. Tomson remembers his father whispering to his Mum, that this was the last time he’d ever attend OVERFLOWING RIVERS.
Thinking about that day really astounded Tomson, to realize his father was sat THAT far back in his ways. His dad studied the bible consistently. Tomson would nickname him “YELLOW JOURN” because he’d always read through the yellow legal pad notes alongside with his bible AND Tomson reckoned his bible was heavier than usual, because it was weighted down with all of the yellow highlighters. YELLOW JOURN always had his HUGE black bible with scattered notes and highlighters on a desk and would read constantly. He was a walking bible that could quote a scripture directly from memory, if someone had said something that reminded him of the scripture. *Strictly KING JAMES* – he stayed armed and ready to defend what he believed and could show you where to find it IN THE TEXT!
Shortly, after moving to Albuquerque – YELLOW JOURN went about the business of being a pastor. He’d rent plaza spaces in the local city and started to hand out programs in the streets. Tomson’s mother, 2 sisters, and brother RAPTUS, would join him for a few Sundays until eventually his sisters stopped going completely. His sisters were much older than TOMSON AND RAPTUS and as such, lived their own lives quite quickly especially as Sunday were concerned.
Tomson preferred going to OVERFLOWING RIVERS rather than his father’s church because it was something new and there was a huge choir with a great organ player. Which meant more dancing and a good feeling! At his Father’s Church : THE WORD TEMPLE there was no organ player or choir – mostly just his mother and brother save a few other guests from time to time.
this was a time : wherein Tomson also was hearing conflicting bible approaches. YELLOW JOURN being the strict holiness or hell preacher found the influence of Pastor SCREAMER, incredibly heretic. “You shouldn’t let them go to that church, they are preaching all kinds of things that doesn’t align to how we were taught” YELLOW JOURN would say to his wife MISSIONARY ‘LIVION *** Lo and behold – Tomson’s grandmother GRANNY LIGHT was the one who eased the peace as she preferred going to OVERFLOWING RIVERS.
She loved the community of people there and how they showed a lot of grace after knowing the family were victims of Hurricane RAYKWAN. GRANNY LIGHT wasn’t too keen in joining THE WORD TEMPLE – which was only recently just starting out in a hotel lobby at the time. She wanted to go somewhere where people knew her, and she made friends quickly.
It became a fixed order of meet and greet for Tomson and his brother RAPTUS. both of them waking up at 8:00 AM on Sundays for their father’s Sunday Service at 9:00 only then to leave right around 11:30 to pick up their GRANNY LIGHT and take her to OVERFLOWING RIVERS just in time for Mid-Day service at 12:00 PM. This became quite the routine, but Tomson was happy for it to suspend because he and RAPTUS – really started to challenge what their Father was preaching. It frustrated Tomson that his approach to the bible was so black and white despite the many highlighters which made him YELLOW.
They stood up to him both, about the delivery of his message. They thought he was too tough and he very rarely preached the love of G-D. Being very tired of hearing about hell, fire and brimstone. They wanted to know about the gifts of the spirit that bred love and compassion. But YELLOW JOURN didn’t like them constantly challenging him and eventually told them they didn’t have to come to his church if they didn’t want to.
Much of his delight and theirs, they would just wait until 12:00PM to go and pick up GRANNY LIGHT and head over to OVERFLOWING RIVERS. Everything was changing and Tomson was becoming more aware about the present urges in his body and mind. However, he was wrestling with fear like never before. He’ll never forget the one moment as a child that jumpstarted the fears he had about going to hell, which happened only a year before.
After one Sunday School at FIRE ON THE HILL there was often food you could purchase at the back of the church. They served burgers, fries, and cold drinks! Tomson always looked forward for Sunday School to be over, so he could eat a great lunch. He’d walk over to GRANNY LIGHT and asked her for 2.50$ so he could get a combination meal. GRANNY LIGHT always seemed to feel quite generous as she gave Tomson a 2-dollar bill and two quarters.
Tomson walked over to the counter and ordered his food. After calling his name to pick up the order, MOTHER VIRGINIA noticed him and asked Tomson if he could buy HER a burger and fries. *THIS WAS SURELY A TEST OF HIS FAITH!!!* Tomson reluctantly, told her he only had enough for himself. MOTHER VIRGINIA then proceeded to tell him : “That G-D loves a cheerful giver and if he were not happy to give – he might land into HELL with gasoline underwear!!!” Tomson began to visualize this picture in his mind and it was THAT G-D which seemed to always be angry.
Tomson not long after this moment, wanted nothing more than to be informed and taught all of what he should do to please G-D. Therefore, he studied different doctrines and statements of faith – trying to understand the intention behind such convictions. He followed his father’s YELLOW JOURN footsteps and started to write down notecards of bible verses and studied doctrines and differences heavily. So much in fact, that he started getting a mild reputation for being a preacher around his school in Albuquerque.
Tomson held a passionate EISEGESIS approach // which is one that leads INTO the text whatever you wish to make out of it. This seemed to be largely everyone’s approach to stories anyway. One that imagines and creates whatever the MINISTER wants to bring out of it. It wasn’t until they moved to Albuquerque – until Tomson understood the opposite of EISEGESIS – EXEGESIS, a method which leads OUT OF the text.
Tomson had a greater understanding of how easily one can be misled by whatever the SINISTER decides to spin on scripture. He loved going to bible studies on Wednesday because Pastor SCREAMER became TEACHER WHISPER as well and would just talk to the congregation about various topics. Often challenging ideas which were commonly believed at FIRE ON THE HILL. (Could it be that the OVERFLOWING RIVERS DROWNED OUT THE FIRE ON THE HILL INSIDE?)
Tomson began to realize his traditions were transitory – as such his voice was a part of a much greater congregation! A song was soon encouraged to be sang, but this time? in unison!
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