Blog # 8: Playa del Carmen


Laurie and I couldn’t find a decent place to stay so we moved on to Playa del Carmen, about an hour south by taxi from Cancun. A Craigslist post from a expat American from Georgia named Jason landed us in a budget-stretching one bedroom, ten minutes from the beach, with a rooftop pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the distant island of Cozumel. Sound like paradise? We needed the pool for Laurie’s physical therapy and the view of the Caribbean Sea to keep her spirits up, at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

But to keep this from sounding like your typical social media blog, which would normally contain the top five greatest hits of the week and  none of the flops, one of our laptops apparently picked up a virus and is rendered useless until we can find a tech. guy, (Joseph, where are you?). Laurie temporarily had her wheelchair stolen at Walmart, she caught the flu from a coughing doctor in ICU, hospital and physical therapy bills threaten to rob our nest egg unless we get reimbursed, even though we’re trying to trust God, we have fears around Laurie’s recovery.  We’re not super-saints by any stretch, just two older people learning daily to stay in the moment and trust the One who has never let us down, even when sometimes it appears that He has.

I’m reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who as a five-year-old Somali girl, endured compulsory female genital mutilation, and as a teenaged girl escaped marriage to a man she barely knew by fleeing her African home and obtaining asylum in Holland. She began doubting the righteousness of her religion when she first learned what the Quran meant when it said to “wage war on the unbelievers,” that it wasn’t just referring to the seventh century battles of Uhud and Badr, but that the massacre of September 11 was also fully justified by Allah and the Prophet. She said most Muslims don’t study much theology and rarely read the Quran, which is taught to them in Arabic, which few Muslims understand. So, when the people are told Islam is a religion of peace, they take it at face value from their leaders, who are deemed infallible.

I thought of how the history of Catholicism is similar in one way. For 1,000 years, commonly referred to as the “Dark Ages,” the Bible was locked away in the Latin language where only the elite could read it. As a kid growing up in a strict Catholic home, I won’t say we were discouraged from reading our Bibles, but we were told that only the priest could properly interpret it, and so, although we had a huge family Bible, complete with full-page pictures, it was never actually read, even once. So, we also just took “truth” at face value from our leaders. And since the Pope was “infallible,” you couldn’t argue with God.

In the “heavy-shepherding” Christian cult Laurie and I were a part of for thirty years, there were also some similarities to the above. Biblical “truth” was filtered through the interpretations of the esteemed leaders. I believe for the most part, they were sincere, or is that being too kind? We used to joke about being “brainwashed,” and our response was, “well, my brain needed to be washed,” which it certainly did. Our former leaders had their own brand of “infallibility,” and you would be labeled suspect if you questioned it. Case in point: During a particular teaching session, one of the top pastors taught that Samson, since he had ultimately committed suicide, had gone to hell. When someone in the congregation timidly asked how one of the “Heroes of Faith” from Hebrews 11 could end up in hell, he was met with a reddened face and an angry “stare of death.” Contradiction was as the sin of rebellion—cross that line at your own peril. The leaders ruled liked Old Testament kings.

Laurie is able to leave our apartment, go up the elevator, climb the five steps to the roof level, and get into the pool for a swim,Jpeg all without her wheelchair. Of course, that means inching along in a tight hug with me, and more than once we’ve been told to get a room. She has always wanted me to take dance lessons with her, and so this may be her answer. People here have been extremely helpful—special mention to an expat named Paul from Ottawa, Canada, who always seems to be around when we need a little extra lift into the pool.

We also found another excellent church last Sunday here in Playa. Other than the twenty-three steps to the second floor, 20180422_102954sandwiched in between four brawny men from the congregation—these men took their jobs very seriously, no one was falling on their watch, it was good, simple worship and a biblical, well-prepared teaching with good revelation—we’ve found our church home.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Author: Changing from Glory to Glory

I was saved in the "Jesus People Movement". You can see the movie, “The Jesus Revolution,” it was just like that, the real deal. I cut my long hair and never looked back. We were the last revival America has seen. Many of us became preachers, including myself. In 30 years, my family and I planted churches in Canada and South Africa. We saw many conversions and healing miracles, especially in South Africa. Much of our ministry overseas involved standing against the false revivals of charlatans like Rodney Howard-Brown and Kenneth Copeland, also known as “Dominion Theology” and the New Apostolic Reformation. My family paid a great price to stand against these false revivals, even in my own church organization, even to this day. Before salvation in 1976, I fought in the Vietnam War, a bronze star, and then like many disillusioned young people of my generation, I became a hippie. Vietnam wasn’t just about giving us hippies an excuse to get high and medicate our anger, but it was an attempt at stopping Communism’s aggression in Southeast Asia. We failed, and millions of innocent Vietnamese and Cambodian people died, the eventual result of all tyrannical takeovers. Now, in my latter years, I find myself fighting again, here at home, only this time it’s a global takeover, where even our own nation is against our freedoms. God impressed on me as a young convert that I would see the Rapture of the church, and now we are very certainly living in those days just before the Tribulation Period, also called “Daniel’s Seventieth Week,” and “Jacob’s Troubles,” a time when God’s wrath will be poured out upon the unbelieving world. This judgment is not for the Church, the Bride of Christ. We’re going up in the First Resurrection. Paul says to “encourage one another with this hope.” Personally, I’m ready to go home to heaven. We’ve had a great run, Laurie and I, and we had many unforgettable apostolic experiences building churches on the Word around the world. Now, I live on the northwest Oregon coast, and with the help of my beautiful wife Laurie, I write romantic, time traveling comedies about the End Times.

One thought on “Blog # 8: Playa del Carmen”

  1. I paster you will probably won’t remember me ,me and my sister used to live with the Murray family hope everything is well and what you learned us at Vista in Port Elizabeth South Africa stuck with us a paster that always spoke the truth we miss,and love you guys and say helo to the family Abigail ,Rachel Angelique. Thank u


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