first of all — when i say things like “bad church idea of the month” or “blog recommendation of the month”, don’t take me literally. don’t confine me to your literal interpretation of the calendar, man!
i just reconnected with an old friend, and she sent me the link to her blog. and it’s just freakin’ great reading.
here’s my short version of her story — as i remember it (but, i could have some pieces wrong). it’s an amazing story of god’s grace — and she knows it (grace, that is).
ok, so – years ago at lake avenue church in pasadena, i had a secretary for a short bit of time who has one of the wildest stories of a christ-follower I have EVER heard. raised in a psycho blue collar family in pittsburgh, she went bad: topless dancer, drugs, crime. had a boyfriend (now her husband) who was basically her common-law husband, who wanted to be a rock star. they moved to hollywood in search of fame. he’s also an artist, and was making a modest living with his sculpting work, while gigging on the side in various bands. she went deeper off the deep end, got way into lesbianism (though they never separated during this time!), witchcraft, and all manner of other stuff. then, through a four spiritual laws tract, she had a massive and complete come-to-jesus conversion in her apartment one day. her “husband” soon followed (and he soon became her real husband). somewhere along the line, they ended up at lake ave, started a christian punk group (called fire engine red — they had more stage presence than any band i’ve ever seen in my life), and had a promising future in that world. ‘til they became absolute fundamentalists. they left lake ave because they thought we were too soft, and starting attending a hyper-conservative mennonite church. last time i saw her she was wearing the menno outfit, little head gear and all. they decided they needed to learn what it really meant to be a man and a woman, and moved back to pennsylvania and became full-on amish (i’m not kidding). they lived there a couple years, had a couple kids with amish names. they finally reached their goal of becoming rock stars (in a sense), as they were the celebrities of the amish world – never had the amish had a couple like them in their midst, and their testimonies were copied on tapes and circulated, and amish girls would ask my friend for her autograph. they felt the pull to move back to cali, and their amish group of churches decided this was from god, and it was time to bring “plain people” to the west coast (there had never been amish in california until this couple moved back). they moved to a mountain community north of LA, along with a few other families who were sent by the church to start an amish presence there. then, my friend had a terrifying encounter with a deranged man who killed some of their animals, broke into their house (when she was alone) and threatened to rape and kill her. somehow, she was able to talk him out of it (if i’m remembering the story correctly). her husband was wracked with guilt over his anger at this man, and didn’t know how to justify it with the amish teaching that he should have done nothing even if he had been present during the break-in. he met with the elders, and they basically told him that they wouldn’t have held to the teaching if it were them. that was the crack in their belief system that unraveled the whole thing, and led to them leaving the amish, and slowly emerging back to some sense of normalcy. her husband teaches art at a christian school, and she raises their kids and various barnyard animals. their band, fire engine red, continues to exist in one form or another. add a few life-threatening health issues in there for extra fun along the way, and you have the amazing story.
what a beautiful and wild ride. they could not escape the smothering, persistant, relentless grace of god.