Johnny Be Good

July 12th, 2010 Comments

Pineapple Grenade 1938Last week I met a man who blew my mind.  From all outward appearances, one would think this man was a freeloader on the system, but when I asked him what he did in his free time, he told me he attends speaker meetings, sponsors others, and is a lay pastor at his church.  Wow.  I didn’t see that coming.  That will teach me to pre-judge others.

A few hours later, a coworker asked me what we were doing for church, now that we have quit our church?  I explained that we were still taking the kids to their morning classes, but at this point, we hadn’t found a replacement.  His question haunted me.

His question haunted me.

This morning, during my quiet time, I was impressed to find a 12-step meeting to attend.  I haven’t felt tempted to drink for quite sometime, however, without a church family, I realize that I need spiritual soul-maintenance.  For over 10 years, church has supplanted my regular involvement with the 12-step program, but now I realize, I can’t wait until the void grows too big.

As I sat in the meeting this afternoon, listening to others share their experience, strength, and hope, I knew I was in the right place. I didn’t know why, or how, but following the Spirit’s leadings, one can never go wrong.

at church, people expect to be good, but in “the program” people just want to be well.”

One lady spoke about why church doesn’t do it for her.  She said that at church, people expect her to be good, but in “the program” people just want to be well.  It was at that moment that the light-bulb went on.  The Bible tells us that no one is good, not one – yet it appears that the culture of the Church, is to get people to behave – and be good.  But that’s impossible.

The difference is that in a 12-step fellowship, people know they are broken, they know what it feels like to be in Hell, and we know that our only hope is to live moment-by-moment, trusting God.

On top of this epiphany, I felt welcomed, appreciated, and loved.  I haven’t felt that kind of unconditional love for about three years.  It was good.

I didn’t go to avert an impending crisis; I went to prevent any future failure – by maintaining my soul.  Unlike church, I didn’t feel like anyone was trying to “fix” me.  I didn’t go just for myself, I know, that as a Dad, I need to stay healthy for my family.  To stay healthy, I need to stay fed.

I have a responsibility, as a husband, and a father, to stay healthy – emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gary Walter. Gary Walter said: New Post: Johnny Be Good #daddytude […]

  2. Celeste says:

    Gary, I have been reading your blog for sometime now and so resonate with much of what you share. But, I had to response to this post. I have started attending a 12-step for co-dependency and my experience parallels what you just described. People know they broken and are depending on their “higher power” to be well. They are so happy -even with their brokenness and struggles – how different is that from church where we are all trying to look perfect.
    It is a good place to be- I have often asked in the last month – why can’t church be more like this?

    Thanks for your honesty and know that there many of us that struggle with the same issues-especially regarding church attendance and worshiping in spirit & truth.

    1. gwalter says:

      Thanks for the affirmation Celeste. It takes real humility to admit we fail. The message to the Church of Laodecia, in Revelation 3, tells the current Church how to achieve this. Unfortunately, we want to be told how great we are, what good people we are, and how there are no scary monsters under the bed.

      May you continue to discover the recovery you seek! One day at a time. And remember, progress is better than perfection!

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