Due to the inordinate length of the first segment of this story, I decided to complete a "Part 2." Here is the second half of my "supernatural venture." Make sure you've read the first half, "A Supernatural Venture."
I left out an important final perspective from the Creation vision from Thursday. If we truly are vibrating at variable frequencies based on how attuned we are to the Creator, then we should also have a radius of influence on the vibrations of creatures around us. Therefore, if most of creation is "off-key," the conflicting frequencies should create a tremendous amount of interference, making it very difficult to "hear" the master tune. Seeing through the metaphoric language, this provides a potential theosophical rationalization for blaming humanity, and not God, for how difficult it currently is to find or hear God. For many years I have struggled with consolidating statements like "Seek and ye shall find," and "Ask and it shall be given you," and "My yoke is easy and my burden is light," with the utter chaos and confusion I see in Christianity and the world, as well as with the complete and utter lack of answers I seem to receive when I ask things of God. I am not saying that my problem here has been solved, simply that the vision provides a unique new rationalization candidate.
The weather was absolutely spectacular, so we took a walk through the woods behind his house. After lingering a bit on some rocks in the middle of a small creek, we ventured up to the top of a hill that Josh was apparently fond of. We stood around awkwardly lacking ideas until he brought up Native Americans (not for the first time), trying to get me to inspect my "spiritual heritage" in my Native American blood (I have a little), and find what negative influences remain from that as well as what gifting I have from it. I told him I could not just decide to do so and have an InstaVision©. He decided to ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill a particular location. I closed my eyes, prayed, and tried to focus and be open to what came to my mind. I soon felt a strongly enhanced sensitivity to the metaphysical; definite energy surrounded. We talked a bit, but nothing exceptional happened. I then saw a blur moving from the "blessed" spot towards the house out of the corner of my eye. Immediately after, Josh said, "Well, I think we should head back to the house." I told him what I saw, and he said that while he's not a seer as much as a feeler (in NLP/psychology terminology, I'm visual and he's kinesthetic), he felt something identical at the same time. From his perspective, he just knows better how to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit and is more prone to follow.
Interestingly, during the downhill walk back to the house, I noticed a somewhat dense fog surrounding us and the hilltop we had just left. I asked Josh about it, but he vehemently denied seeing any despite my asking at least 3 times. I had little choice but to conclude that the fog was at least in some part supernatural. I prayed to ask God what it meant, but I was unable to discern any particular answer. It seemed logical to think that it signified the exodus from a fog in my life/mind, but I cannot come to any solid conclusions about it. The fog was nonexistent by the time we reached his house.
We soon left for his church, Daystar, which was a good clip from his house. This was actually a prime reason I flew to Atlanta, as I have practically no opportunity to be surrounded by supernaturally-minded believers, and my curiosity was unable to avoid partaking any longer. The worship was very energy-charged with lots of motion and raised hands -- enough to cause most Baptists to run in fear. Here are a few things I noticed early on:
Once the actual sermon began, the pastor, Johnny Enlow, spoke of a developing "Elijah revival" in Atlanta, with some roots supposedly in Daystar. I am not terribly fond of that flavor of message; they are all too frequent in the prophetic circles with little to no external evidence of said revivals actually taking place. However, he presented the best synopsis of the idea that Moses and Elijah could be the two witnesses in Revelation that I have ever heard; if you're interested, the message will probably be available on the Daystar sermon collection -- look for December 16th, 2006. I soon grew tired of the revival talk and pulled Josh out of the message long enough to grab some of their Starbucks-branded coffee (impressive for a smaller church, although it had grounds floating in it).
When we returned, the theoretical side of the sermon was dying down and Johnny was moving into personal application (which is what I was primarily interested in). He mentioned several topics that are highly relevant to me, including: frustration with intellectually-focused theologies of the modern conservative church, feeling a need for a truly personal walk with God, and having actual spiritual/supernatural experiences. His wife actually spoke for a few minutes about her first heavily supernatural encounters with the Holy Spirit. They were relatively dramatic, as they included borderline physical manifestation symptoms. When Johnny took back over, he called up the various ministry teams of the church and began to bring the message to a close. The musicians began playing again, and a phenomenal energy started to build. The excitement in his voice rose, congregation members shuffled anxiously in their seats, and everyone but me seemed to know what type of thing would happen next. He explained that they would move around and "pray over" various members of the congregation for the Lord to bless us in whatever way He chose.
At this point I had to make a choice about how to behave, and I decided that the only way to make my trip worth it would be to "go with the flow" for the next hour or 2 and be very open to try new things. I put my head down and started to pray as the team members spread out ministering to others in the room. Soon a man came and put his hand on my shoulder ("laying on of hands" if you're not very familiar with Bible terminology) and prayed mainly for the Spirit to fill me. As soon as he touched me, I felt a strong buzz-like vibration in the spot he was touching, and my mind really started racing. I prayed hard for God to make His presence known and show me whatever I needed to see. At that moment I felt a presence behind me and to my left, so I looked over my left shoulder to see Johnny Enlow looking directly at me as he prayed over another individual. I knew he was coming to me next, so I bowed my head again and prayed, this time with a confident approximation of faith that God would answer some of my questions.
When Johnny came up to the back of my chair, he somewhat surprised me by putting his hands on either side of my head, cupping my ears in a sense. I felt a tremendous amount of energy rushing through me. With my eyes closed, I looked very hard to see what God was showing me, but I could not perceive anything. Johnny, knowing very little from Josh about my situation, began to pray with "prophetic words" (this circle really has their own set of terminology) for me. Interestingly enough, he began to pray specifically for several pertinent topics:
He didn't pray for healing, or my family, or my faith, or my finances, or any of the more generic topics you would expect, although the 2nd and 3rd bullets above are quite generic and could apply to 75% of walk-in visitors.
As he continued to pray, I actually felt something seem to tug at my eyelids. While I was expecting to receive a supernatural vision with my eyes closed, I realized that my eyes were being pulled open. I maybe could have resisted only to find that it was a mere twitch, but remember, I had promised to "go with the flow." I opened my eyes and saw a slightly more obvious form of the layer of sparkly spots I had seen Thursday night (and was able to detect with relative ease on a whim), this time covering the floor and almost appearing to fill the room very subtly. I stared at this haze on the floor and soon saw an arrow pointing to my left. I looked left, and an older gentleman was staring at me. In some way I was confident that he was praying for me and wanted to reassure me. I smiled and nodded and looked back at the floor. I saw another arrow pointing to the other side of the room. At the moment I looked that way, the woman my eyes fell on (the woman I earlier suspected of contrived enthusiasm) jumped up and screamed, apparently feeling overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. Normally I am very suspicious of such chaotic reactions, as they do not seem to have any relevance to or support in Scripture, but the timing was good enough with my arrow that I decided just to go with it again. I looked down again and saw a smiley face (yes, like a cheesy emoticon). Then I suddenly felt that I was being told, "See, now you know how to see."
I immediately went into a reverie. If this was true, and it was truly this easy to see messages from God, why could I not discover it sooner? It's not like I haven't spent hundreds to thousands of hours experimenting with meditation and visions. Or why did no other Christians teach me sooner? I had, and have, a large number of objections to accepting that just looking into a sparkly haze to see God is all it takes for me. However, such doubts are clearly not good portals to a life of faith, and I was in my hour of flow-going, so I determined to save such speculation for later and put strong confidence in the Divine origin of the current imagery. I can be very flexible when I so desire (how else does one of very recent hyper-conservative Baptist fundamentalist upbringing tamper with the occult in his search for the same God and still sleep at night?), and I exercised it fully that night.
Soon after Johnny moved on to pray for someone else. I did not hear the last few things he prayed about, but I doubt I missed anything life-changing: if God was directing the circumstances, He would not "point" me away from hearing something profitable. I continued to look into the sparkles, but nothing really stood out until the next lady came to the back of my chair and prayed over me (on the third prayer minister at this point). She also had "prophetic words" for me, although depending on your use of modern church terminology, hers were probably more like "words of encouragement." They were definitely less specific and powerful than Johnny's, but they seemed every bit as sincere. It seemed to me that she was just less gifted in "the prophetic" than Johnny, but still able to deliver supernatural assistance in the form of enlightened encouragement. She mentioned a few miscellaneous subjects, the most specific of which was an eventual way for me to reach my family with the truth (if I personally ever even find what I'm looking sure, I have no idea if I'll feel like trying to convince my family of it). As she laid her hand on my shoulder, I again felt the strong vibratory rush, less potent than Johnny's, but stronger than the first fellow's. She next predicted that I would know the love of Christ, and at that moment something interesting happened. I felt my eyes being tugged open again, and as I opened them, I perceived 3 diagonal marks on the back of the chair in front of me. I had not noticed them earlier; they had a similar texture to a pencil eraser rubbed across a vinyl surface. As I looked at them, they strongly appeared like whip-lashes on someone's back, and I was instantly vaulted into a lucid vision of Christ's crucifixion.
At first I saw His back being torn open by the scourge, and I experienced an impressive amount of atmospheric detail in the scene (vivid colors, moving backgrounds including onlookers, auditory ambience, energy in the air, warm temperature). I was somewhat surprised by what happened next: I was promptly placed in the position of the Roman delivering the punishment, and I personally cracked the whip into Christ's back. I was made to experience this for at least 30 seconds before the scene faded, and I immediately knew what it meant: I was in some way responsible for my current state, and Christ underwent his experiences specifically out of the profound love of God. I felt God communicating something like, "This is one aspect of My Love for you." As I realized I was learning a lesson in God's love, and one of my recent questions was being answered in such a profound way, I was actually consumed with emotion, and some tears came to my eyes. The lady soon left and I stared at the ground for a while.
A few minutes later some friends of Josh walked up and we started to chitchat, until one of them became the fourth volunteer as he asked if he could pray for me. I felt another small rush of energy as he put his hand on my shoulder, and he prayed for pretty generic encouragement and spiritual success on my behalf. It was short but left me with a very positive, optimistic feeling about the night.
We stayed and talked for a while and I noticed that Josh's family had already left for home. We accompanied a group of church members to a nearby Thai restaurant. It was excellent; I had never eaten Thai before, and I was impressed with whatever you call the little pasty red sauce that is extremely spicy. All in all, it was a relaxing to end the eventful evening. On a side note, I noticed that several church members ordered what appeared to be frozen daiquiris, which actually reassured me slightly about their open-mindedness (the pastor was at the same table and didn't seem to care in the least).
Nothing notable happened on Sunday; Josh worked quite a bit and I sat around and stewed over what had happened. Late that night I filled him in on what all had happened the night before from my perspective.
We really didn't do very much on Monday other than one mission. He had a guy at work that was depressed and asking him for advice, and Josh invited him to do something. While we waited for him to call, we prayed for God to tell us what to do. In the meantime we went to the mall and killed time. While we waited for his family to show up with the ride home, I prayed hard for God to show me what we should do. I felt led to walk towards the nearby golf and tennis shop, so we putt-putted on their sample green for a while. As I prayed asking for leading, I saw fish swimming around. I mentioned it to Josh, and we kept praying. Next I saw doors. I took this to mean that we should walk outside and continue. Outside, I saw a very large number of sparklies reflecting off of the concrete sidewalk. I suddenly felt it was pointing me towards the stars, so I looked up at the sky, but I couldn't see any stars. I somehow knew that if we could find the only visible star, it would be in the direction we should walk. I mentioned this to Josh, and he spotted the only visible star (there was exactly one, as I hoped/expected). We walked that way, and it took us to the remains of a very eery former forest. The trees were sickly and mostly destroyed. Oddly enough, a large number of them had been warped years ago in the exact same way, causing their trunks to all point in one direction. It was pointing at a bar/pool hall. We both mentioned wanting to play pool, but we wanted to follow God's leading. A few minutes later it hit us that the trees were actually pointing at the bar/pool hall, and the fish swimming in water could signify being "fishers of men" as well as the reference to water (bit of a stretch, but just go with it). We went inside, but it felt pretty wrong to both of us, so we left. Nothing else notable happened, and we were both somewhat discouraged at the seeming lack of results. Then something rather cool happened: Josh got the anticipated call from his coworker, who wanted us to go play pool with him that night! I was encouraged by this, and Josh seemed pleased as well. In the end, we had fun at the pool hall, and Josh got to know his coworker better. It was a good end to the trip.
This was a profound trip for me, and I am still going over the events in my mind. I am sure more revelations are on their way, so check in at adamia to see the progress!