This will probably serve as the final post of Beside the Point. For over 3 years I have enjoyed so much the give and take of this weblog and the opportunity to share provocative perspectives that were on the edge (a few might say 'over the edge':)). What most do not understand is that most of my views have been generally consistent with the majority opinion in the Assemblies of God before WW2 (the specific person I would guess that I have identified with the most would probably be the British pentecostal, Donald Gee [brief bios here and here]), but the wind of change often also yields a dramatic loss of institutional memory.
During the past few years, this blog has had 3 phases:
First, I began it in 2006 with the singular motivation of trying to get more people to visit the website of State College Assembly of God. That now happens with or without this blog. Second, the blog soon became a place where I could discuss some issues that didn't warrant full treatment from the 'pulpit' with congregational members. Third, the blog then became a place for many people outside SC Assembly of God to discuss larger issues in the Body of Christ, particularly in the American Church.
Before I share where this goes from here, I want to thank some people in particular.
First of all, thank you to the leadership and congregation of State College Assembly who have shown true Christian tolerance and forbearance for some of my more provocative views. Early on, we put the blog link on the church's home page, but sometime later agreed that it should be on the resource page along with other Christian blogs over which we didn't have editorial control. I'm sure that I've troubled some dear brothers and sisters more than once here, and I thank them for loving me anyhow (at least I hope you do:)). The same here applies to Pastor Steve Tourville, superintendent of the Penn-Del Ministry Network (Assemblies of God), which has continued to provide a link to this blog on its C3 page all along.
Second, I want to thank the commenters. You have enriched my life. I would not have grown in understanding during this time as I have if it were not for you--particularly those who disagreed with me. Iron truly does sharpen iron. Among those who disagreed, the vast majority were quite gracious. Of course, over time, commenters from State College Assembly went increasingly silent as they watched about a dozen very articulate commenters (many of whom I have not yet met in person) took the stage here. The benefit to our congregation, however, was for them to discover that their pastor wasn't the only person in the world thinking outside the present charismatic mainstream. The grasp that some of you have of the very deep, spiritual issues at stake has encouraged me more than I can say.
Third, I want to thank all of the readers. With numbers of site visits in the six-figure range, I have no idea who all of you are, but I appreciate that you took the time to read what I chose to write. I especially appreciate my own family who learned to live with the tension of wanting me to be free to say what was on my heart, but also wondering if I was shooting myself in the foot at the same time.
So, as anxious as I was to post daily some months ago, I now feel as strongly that I am entering a new phase in which blogging may not be a part. If I blog again, it will probably be at a new site, with a link probably provided here. I am deleting all other posts for reasons that may become apparent in time. There is nothing wrong, and no need to worry. God is up to some really good things!
So, thank you all again. It's been great!