Sunday, April 05, 2009


Well. I've now met the man about whom so much has been written and so many have have been warned. I didn't just meet him, I had a meal [along with a dozen other of my family members] with him and I watched him interact with the waiters and waitresses which in my book says more about a person than any other thing except perhaps his interaction with his own wife and children.

I heard him speak several times and watched as his time and attention were requested by hundreds of people anxious to get a book signed or speak a word with him over the course of a couple of services. I watched him look at them as they spoke to him. I watched him give undivided attention which is so unusual for so many speakers who are often seen moving away or looking around obviously communicating their desire to end and lack of interest in the conversation being participated in at present.

I watched him as he met and conversed with three of the four of Mary and my children, their spouses, and some friends. [Only one of my daughters could not attend as she and her husband were caring for twin grandsons for a couple of days.] I watched as my granddaughter, a highschool student who isn't particularly in-to meeting new preachers, was captivated by the simple and real interest showed her though there were plenty of adults present at the time.

I watched. I confess to being a watcher of people. I'm also something of a cynic when it comes to popular preachers who are obviously making a lot of money or getting a lot of accolades for what they are doing in ministry. My trust level of professional Christians is at an all time low. I've spent some time now recovering from the pain of pretense that has been ripped away to show a darker side to many men in ministry whom I have admired. The thing that has saved me from perpetual cynicism is the honesty which has forced me to see my battles with my own "Shack." [Baggage or flesh] But I AM a watcher as a result and that is where things are with me. You can tell I'm as concerned with a man's character as I am his doctrine. BOTH are significant but I wouldn't give you the time of day for one without the other. So I did watch. What did I see? That is my report to you.

I saw a man.

He's not really much of a man in size at all. I like being around him because he's one of the few that has to look up to me physically. I'm 5'9" and he's 5'7". I'll stand next to him any day. But the great thing is he doesn't think he's anything special. He really views himself as being an ordinary kind of guy who is an "accidental author" as opposed to an "on purpose author." [Remember he wrote 'The Shack' as a Christmas gift to his six children two years ago all of whom are in their late teens early twenties.]

Now remember I watch. I watched as he really did think of himself as ordinary. Some I've watched proclaim themselves to be ordinary but when treated that way are quickly offended that they aren't treated as special. We had an ordinary hilarious time with ordinary jokes and stories with ordinary people genuinely enjoying each other around a large table in and extraordinary fashion.

I saw a message.

I use this funny sounding phrase because it describes what I mean completely. I heard him speak the gospel. Perhaps the clearest I ever hear except when I hear Wade preach or when I hear someone one on one simply tell of the Father loving so much that He sent His Son who did the work sufficient for the Father to be justified in lavishing Grace on people who don't deserve it and the Holy Spirit creating life and sight in dead and blind people so they can respond and see that reality.

I heard him articulate the biblical concept of the Trinity as I see it in scriptures in a fashion that has convinced me that the knowledge of the Trinity is one of his strongest points of biblical theology.

[Notwithstanding his fictional and metaphorical creativity that enabled him to get across aspects of the character of God in 'The Shack' in such a way that people who have been turned off by all false religion including a false christianity or have been wounded by religious people are being opened to God's love and justice combined in the Person of Christ and the Cross event in ways I've not seen in years.]

But my wife said it best when she told me she felt she had SEEN love as she watched [she's a bit of a watcher herself] that accidental author relate to people. How odd!! That's what was said of those early Christ followers was it not?

I saw a miracle.

There is no explaining what has happened with this somewhat ordinary man with a somewhat ordinary desire to leave a written record of his own spiritual journey through pain most of which was caused by others and some of which was caused by self.

To me, it is a miracle he can be so honest. To me it is a miracle he can take the unjust criticism. To me it is a miracle that a book which is, as one of his daughter's friends said, " Way beyond your dad," could be propelled into closed nations, closed prisons, closed minds and closed peoples to the place where seven million could be produced when it all started with fifteen copies printed at Office Depot for a few family members.

I guess the greatest miracle of all is that an Extraordinary God can take a ordinary person and do unbelievable things. Maybe that's exactly what being a Christian is all about. You think?

Paul B.


Bob Cleveland said...


This time, please hear my amen.

I'd say more but I need to go hook up my computer to the TV so I can see this evening's service on the Big Screen.

Ramesh said...


Bob Cleveland said...


I watched the evening service. Please hear it again.


Paul Burleson said...


You and Thy Peace are saying what Mary and I have been saying for about thirty hours now.

traveller said...

It has been amazing to me the response to The Shack. While I can understand some people do not accept some of the theology in The Shack I do not understand the strong claims of heresy. Nor the personal attacks on William Paul Young.

His use of story and metaphor to present God is profound and moving. Reminds me of another person who did the same thing.....Jesus.

Chris Ryan said...

I did not get to listen today (this day of rest required 8 hours of church work), but I will be listening throughout the week.

But I know that if his character and doctrine gets such a hearty amen from you and Bob, I will probably be giving him one or two amens myself.

As to your last question, I think. And I think you nailed it.

Aussie John said...

What an encouragement you are:

1. When you spoke about the why's and wherefores of becoming a "watcher",
2. As you spoke about your "watching" and conclusions of your time with W.P.Young.
3. You obviously hold to the unchanging nature of our great God.

I have been a lifelong despiser of cynicism,and struggled to avoid becoming a cynic, but find your fourth paragraph mirrors my own reluctant experience of becoming a dyed-in-wool cynic in the same areas as yourself.

Besides, you're the same age and the same height! What more could I want:)?

I join with Bob with his "Amen"!

Paul Burleson said...


You are becoming like family to me and that's a little weird seeing that with the exception of Bob we've never met.

I said this on Debbie Kaufman's blog and wish to repeat it here. It says it for me personally.

"I believe a profound work was begun in some and furthered in others like myself because of what your fellowship was willing to host this weekend. It is a work of renewing and revival and healing that goes beyond any theological discussion or parsing of words or ideas."

Anonymous said...

So portraying God the Father or the Holy Spirit as women is biblical? Have the Father with scars is biblical?

J. Guy Muse said...

As a "people watcher" too, when I went to DFW for a Sept/08 house church conference where Paul Young spoke, I was blown away that during his presentations he left his cell phone on and continuously received a call from a desperate woman wanting to commit suicide. He would excuse himself from the platform, talk to the woman, and then resume his talk. Several times we were asked to pray for the woman. What came through to me was someone who genuinely loves people, not the spotlight or media attention. Here we were hundreds of people who had paid hundreds of dollars to attend the meeting, and the main speaker kept interrupting his time to talk to a solitary woman somewhere in Michigan! To me that spoke volumes.

Dave Samples said...


I just wanted to stop in and cast my "Amen" with the rest of God's saints.

traveller said...

Anon, my thoughts on your comments reflect perhaps our differences of views on God. But in my thinking the book shows Father as a woman because Mack had such a poor relationship with his physical father that God went to the necessary length of showing himself to Mack so that they could relate. This is my conception of Father. It is that he does all he can to rescue and redeem us because of his great compassion and love. Further, it is important to remember that God has not gender but that the humans who bear his image are both men and women. In other words, the image of God could not be solely expressed in humans in only a male. Throughout the Bible there are images of God that have female overtones.

As to the scars, I find it hard to believe that the Father does not bear "scars" from our sin. They may not be physical but they are real nonetheless. This imagery is powerful in demonstrating how much Father loves us even though we are fallen.

Anonymous said...

traveller, no biblical author calls the first person of Trinity mother or any feminine noun or pronoun. God is spirit (John 4:24) and the Father has never revealed himself in a bodily form (John 1:18; 5:37; 6:46). If God the Father were to appear in a human form, I am sure it would be what we think a father would look like, not a womanly, mother figure. Every New Testament author calls the first person of the Trinity—Father. God as Father is used over 200 times in the New Testament. Jesus prayed to the Father. Jesus said he had a glory with the Father before the world began (Jn 17:5). God (first person of the Blessed Trinity) is eternally the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Father would not have scars from the cross, only the Son took upon a human nature and was nailed to the cross.

Paul Burleson said...


I don't think the scriptures assign genitalia to God at all whether God the Father, God the Son, or God the Spirit. Jesus as the Son of man would rightly be seen as possessing such.

Metaphorically, God the Father, Son, or Spirit could be portrayed as masculine and feminine [or even as possessing wings as we are under the shelter of His] in order to portray something of who He is relationally since creatively He [Father/Son/Spirit] brought into existence both male and female.


Interestingly, Wade ask Paul to share some of the more miraculous things he's seen as a result of the book at supper Saturday night and he told that story. Now to realize you were there is REALLY special.


I'm living with an "amen" in my soul today as you can imagine. I will admit it really is rather disassociated from Paul Young the man and is more connected to the work of God's Grace in him. It was obvious to me that was Paul Young's desire all the while anyway.

Thanks for stopping by all of you.

Paul Burleson said...


I was speaking long distance with Wade about the meeting and missed your exchange with Anon. I would have simply differed had I read it in time. You said what I tried to say only more and better.

Anon., I would simply caution you that you don't wind up with three gods in eternity in your theology. Thanks for participating in this comment section.

Paul Burleson said...


Make that "deferred" if you would please. Thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

Paul, you said, Anon, I would simply caution you that you don't wind up with three gods in eternity in your theology.

Could you please show how you got that from what I said?

Thank you

Paul Burleson said...


We are only taught a subordination of one person in the Trinity to another person as a "persons" thing incarnately. Nothing indicates it is as one to another as God or one God-head to another. It is only as the Son of man to the Father not God the Son to God the Father. It's an incarnation thing.

There are not in God three intelligencies, three wills, three essences. That's why the scriptures are seen to declare that the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son and where the Father is, the Son and the Spirit are. So that what one does the others do.

So your statement didn't make real sense to me when you said.."If God the Father were to appear in a human form, I am sure it would be what we think a father would look like, not a womanly, mother figure." God the Father WAS in human form in Christ as Christ was not less than God while here. Since God is Spirit as you say, He could be seen as masculine OR feminine much like Paul said he suffered in "birth pains" over those new believers.

Then to try to make the same kind of CLEAR distinction in eternity, as some do, is to read too much into the mystery of the Trinity in my opinion. It was a caution of that to which I was refering and it was more a thing of nuances than statements. It's the teacher coming out in me I guess.

Some of this is probably born out of my concern when I read where one theologian makes a distinction about who we could and could not pray to based on the "Persons" thing of the Trinity. "We can and do pray to each of the "Persons" separately and we do pray to God as a Person for the three persons are one God not only in essence but in knowledge, will, and power." So said Charles Hodge in his Sys. Theo. vol 1 pp 461-462. I agree. Sorry Anon. I may have gone beyond you statement. Thanks for your comments.

Paul Burleson said...


I just read what I wrote to Anon and I thought "What did I say?"

Sorry. But I'm really concerned that we sometimes wind up with Jesus either less than God or God nothing more than man. This Trinity thing IS a bit of a mystwery and will probably remain so until one day when we get home. :)

Gem said...

Is there a link to hear Young's messages?

Paul Burleson said...


Here's the link.

Bryan Riley said...

Paul, I'll be a a part of that "family" too. Excellent tribute and report on what sounds like an incredible weekend. I'm sorry i missed it!

Paul Burleson said...


You would have absolutely loved the meeting. It's one of those times of refreshing that is a God-thing. It wasn't about a man or a book. It was about the power of true Grace to heal.

It was an honest look at a 'not too pretty picture' of a man [so like us all] who dared to face the pain of the worst others can do to wound a young life as well as his own sin and discover the Love of God in Christ that beings joy unspeakable.

We walked away with a renewed picture that Jesus doesn't just bring a better way to put a broken life together but is Himself our very life.

It's sad that so many people will miss a clear work of God because of a need to use words that systematize doctrine that they see as "Truth" and miss the One who said of Himself "I am the Truth."

Unfortunately, it reminds me of those who did that very same thing when He was here in the incarnation.

Thanks for coming by to comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a clear review of what Kelly and I both experienced (not speaking FOR her, just repeating what we both spoke about after the service). It was one of those life changing moments for both for us. Fun to keep "attempting" to just sit in His grace and freeing to give up "control" or at what I thought was control and now realize it was motivated out of fear (which I now know is the opposite of my heavenly Father - who IS love).


Love you,


Paul Burleson said...


Whoever said a man's greatest treasure is his kids knew exactly what he was talking about. I do too.

Your wife wrote a MARVELOUS post on your family blog about your encounter with "James." After reading what Kelly wrote I can see that last Sunday really was only the cherry on top of the strawberry shortcake for you guys.

Use to be you had to sit and listen to me on Sundays. It was fun to sit together this time. But for us both to be able to, as you so aptly put it, sit in His Grace, is beyond words isn't it!!

Bob Cleveland said...

And, just for a fun-to-speculate off-the-(left field)-wall thought: I wonder how many of the folks so violently and vehemently objecting to "The Shack" might list "Field of Dreams" as one of their more favorite films.

Lin said...

I have not read the Shack but did listen to both services. I was impressed because he is not a 'professional' Christian (smile) and I think that fact bothers a lot of people. But, I am with Paul that I have seen too many professional Christians and seeing the pretense up close and personal. And in many places. Even to the point where one of them is known widely as the most humble mega pastor (former) who is most definitly not!

He said he had no secrets and did lay out his life for all to see. I can understand why he would not go into gritty details that are unnecessary. He seems to take this mission quite seriously but not himself seriously.

I will admit to not reading the Shack because of a concern about the dialogue with God. I am not real concerned about the presentation of the Trinity except for how Holy God is and my concern for humanizing The Trinity. I am going to read it now and remember it is not a treatise on Theology.

Can you imagine what the Body of Christ would be like if we laid ourselves open to each other like he does?

Paul Burleson said...


That would be interesting to know.

I admit that after hearing Paul I'm going to have to go back and read the book again myself. Knowing the context of his life and struggles after hearing him speak, I think it will mean even more to me than before.


The truth is I had some of the same concerns when I first went through the book. On top of that I'm NOT into allegory that much.

But what I did see was an author fictionalizing characteristics of God that had been hidden from him because of seeing the face of the people who had hurt him deeply on the face of God.

I had a lot of that myself early on in my walk with the Lord and for the longest time could NOT see God as anything but Sovereign. Certainly not Father and FORGET Papa. While being Sovereign certainly, Jesus came to reveal God as so much more relationally as you well know.

Not all people will LIKE the style of writing that is done perhaps, but it is NOT a book of theology. That said, one will find in it some Truth of God that is buried so deeply in the systematic theological approach that much of the emotional, relational realities of the Christian's walk with the Lord are lost.\

It is a journey out of pain AND performance into a path of Grace. How good is that!!

Thanks for coming by you guys.

Kendall said...

Paul--could you delete my last post...a few typos

Paul, you said,

"God the Father WAS in human form in Christ as Christ was not less than God while here. Since God is Spirit as you say, He could be seen as masculine OR feminine much like Paul said he suffered in "birth pains" over those new believers."

Paul, first, God the Father did not become incarnate, only the Son did.
Second, the Father is eternally the Father and to appear as feminine makes no sense whatsoever. Personal pronouns for God are always masculine.

If you don't have a problem of having the Father appear in feminine form, do you have a problem of people praying to "Mother God" or singing hymns to "Mother God"? Paul Young doesn't.

Lydia said...

"Paul, first, God the Father did not become incarnate, only the Son did.
Second, the Father is eternally the Father and to appear as feminine makes no sense whatsoever. Personal pronouns for God are always masculine."

Kendall, check out this famous verse and then think about what you wrote above.

Isaiah 9

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Everlasting Father? Counselor? These are terms for God the Father and the Holy Spirit!

What are the references to God as Father in the OT?

Kendall said...

Lydia, help me out...

What is your point? I missed it...

Paul Burleson said...


What Lydia said.

Also, while it is true that God did not manifest Himself in the person of Father but as that of the person of the Son in the humanity of the body of Jesus, it is also true that the Father was present as was the Spirit since Jesus was God.

The nature or essense of God is Eternal, Infinite, Immutable [among a ton of other things] as you well know. But that essense or nature is NOT separate or possessed individually by the Father, Son or Spirit as you would have three gods. That essense is present and undivided in any manifestation of the persons of the God-head.

The humanity of Jesus was manifesting the Son. But the Divinity of Jesus was in reality the Father, Son and Spirit. That's why Isa. 9 could be inspired with such language.

So...Jesus DID fully reveal the Father and when you saw Him you HAD seen the father. Oh the mystery of it all.

Paul Burleson said...


I would want to pray to God as simply God or Father or Son or Holy Spirit.

Goodness Paul Young wasn't saying God IS a large African American woman. He was saying someone had impacted him with real love and let him see that God had more her face than the face of those who wounded and abused him. [Which he had unfortunately seen God as like them.]

It isn't a book OF theology but of a personal testimony using metaphorical language to show his journey to finally seeing God as He's truly revealed in Christ and His Cross event. But the full appreciation of that reality took the form of relationships and people along the way that helped.

I hope one day when I get to heaven I'll be able to hear someone say "Father I came to believe, trust and rest in you when I hurt partly because along the way a guy helped me and for a long time I assumed you, Father, looked a lot like a short, thick, bald headed white guy who lived in Norman."

How cool would that be!!!

Kendall said...

Here are some good articles on the whole Isaiah 9:6 issue:

*See foot note #5 for below link

Paul Burleson said...


I appreciate all the information much of which I've read as I'm pretty sure Lydia has.

But my blog is a discussion forum where we are free to give our ideas even if we disagree as long as we do it agreeably.

It is not a debate forum. It is not an information forum. It is not someone else's blog. This would generally rule out lengthy responses, [which you haven't done] angry demands to check out or to state what someone believes ought to be checked out or stated, [which you haven't done either] or even the posting of other sites for information. [You did do that but no problem as it's given me opportunity to say this.]

I WOULD love to hear what you think about Isa. 9 however.

Anonymous said...

Loved the post. All in my family that got to meet Paul Young were deeply touched. I agree with Brett that this weekend was life-changing for us. I've told several people that I have never met anyone who exudes the love of God like he does. And then I began to ask myself what it would look like for me to live like that. Each day this week I have been more aware of the people God brings into my the store, at the restaurant, at my work, etc., and have asked God what He wants me to do to share His LOVE with them. It's already been a FUN adventure....a different perspective for me. Love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know!!


Paul Burleson said...

Hey babe, [Melody]

I said this when Brett wote earlier and I say it again..."Whoever said a man's greatest treasure is his kids knew exactly what he was talking about. I do too."

It was a VERY special week-end part of which is because Mom and I got to hang out with you, Tony and Nat.

The only thing that would have added to what went on, which we both know was a work of God, would have been for you to sing before each message and for Cherri and Mike to have been able to be there.

Mom and I stopped by on the way home and fill them in on it all while holding our two twin great grandsons. How cool is that!!!!

Aussie John said...


My conviction developed during fifty years of pastoring, preaching and teaching, is that very few Christians, including most church leaders,DO NOT understand the Fatherhood of our great God.

I was preaching on the subject about 25 years ago. In the congregation was a man known locally as a rather tough individual. Suddenly, the room was filled with loud sobs as this tough guy, tears streaming down his face, broke down in a most amazing way. I ceased speaking and went to him and sought to minister to him. Between his sobs he said, "I haven't known a Father like that".

I knew that man personally, and knew that, like myself his father had abused him rather cruelly.

I read Young's book and wept, as I remembered that man, and how, although using different human images to those Young used, I was able to present to that man the kind of Father whose characteristics and qualities we see in our Lord Jesus,who said, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."

I wept, too, because of gratitude, that I know from experience, the heavely Father who sent His Son to save the likes of me, was not represented by my earthly father.

I am able to stand up before my Father's face, and not prostrate myself in the dirt, because I am an earthly son who is dressed in the righteousness of His only begotten.

And, at this moment I feel deep sorrow for those whose clinical, cold, intellectual grasp of right doctrine and theology prevents what they know from touching their hearts.

Believe you me, I have experienced that as well.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

What a wonderful story. You're describing the atmosphere of every service this past weekend with Paul Young. Most of it was private and away from the official crowd as ministry went on well before and long after each message. People were broken in the presence of God's unbelievable LOVE so wonderfully described by Paul in message AND life.

It is sad that many will never connect the truth of our heart relationship with the Father with the doctrinal systematic theology that they know in their head.

I think the difference is in "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free."

For some..unfortunately.. that says "you shall know the truth of doctrine and that knowledge of the truth will set you free. "

For others..thank the says "You shall KNOW [have a deep intimate relationship with] the TRUTH [Jesus Himself who is the truth about the Father] and that TRUTH [who God really is] shall set you free." [To live your life enjoying Who He really is for all time and eternity.]

This the correct interpretation of the text, by the way, as you well know.

What a difference.

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Just wondering out loud (in a rhetorical sort of way....)

Does right theology lead to right relationship or does a right relationship lead to right theology?

When I became a believer at 8 years old I am pretty sure some of my theology was wacked! Obviously I responded to God's revelation of Himself in Jesus through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. But I did not have really good theology (I did not even know the word!)

My sister who is two years older than I am who has cerebral palsy and is mentally slow does not know a whole lot of theology but she knows Jesus. What she believes is based on what she has learned from knowing Jesus. Her faith is much stronger than mine!

Come to think of it many folks in the Bible and in Christian History did not always have good theology...but in the context of a relationship with a living God...they continued to learn and mature.

However,I am absolutely sure that no one got it all right all of the time. Yet amazingly...God still worked in them and through them!

Why are we so hard headed in this area? What we know about God does not feed our souls. KNOWING God does.

Paul Burleson said...


Good question and good answer.

I do think 11 Peter 1 has some information helpful in answering it. Notice it says "Add to your FAITH... [This is saving faith I'm sure which in itself necessitates knowing the Truth, except the Truth is a person and comprehending Him and trusting Him are both a work of God's Grace in a person though there is certainly the human side to it all]... VIRTUE... [This is the power of life lived in fellowship with Him] and to virtue KNOWLEDGE."... [So it appears to me that knowledge of doctrine is down the line somewhat.

Kendall said...

For those of you who like the book, why did you like?

Paul Burleson said...


Fair question. I will be speaking ONLY for myself obviously.

I liked it because it was an easy read. I don't mean it was simple. Quite the contrary, it was complex. But I do like my fiction to be easy to read language wise. This one was.

I liked it because it identified with my own christian life where pain has been experienced. I've gotten mad at God in the past and I found out He could handle my anger and didn't get mad at me because I got mad at Him.

It was also a good reminder to me of my own shack I have built in the past to keep secrets and hide because of my struggle with pain, albeit, Paul said it in a metaphorical fictional way.

I liked it because it was a rather simple yet profound way to communicate God to children and occasionally I need to be reminded that I, while not a child, occasionally act and feel like one where God is concerned and it's OK with the Father.

I liked it because Paul was able to show how people along his journey when he messed up were able and willing to show God's love and acceptance to him and how that put a new face on the Father's Grace and mercy and unfailing love when he [Paul] needed it. [The large African-American woman called papa.]

My hope is that someday when I get to heaven I will be able to hear someone say to the Father, "I met a short, stocky, bald-headed white guy in Norman Oklahoma that reminded me of You Father and I came back to you because he [That short guy] loved me when I had screwed up pretty badly and it reminded me that you do also. It caused me to rethink who you are to me." [I know everyone will understand he/she will not be saying he/she thought God WAS a short, stocky, bald-headed white guy.]

Well, Kendale, I could go on but the only other reason I'll give for liking the book is because the author was giving a journal of his own failure and how his God did not love and be there for him. I know both of those things are true of us all as believers. It was just good to be reminded in a fictional, personal, yet true to the real God of the Bible kind of way put into a new form for our generation. I think that's kinda cool.

Kendall said...

Paul, you said, " I heard him speak the gospel. Perhaps the clearest I ever hear except when I hear Wade preach or when I hear someone one on one simply tell of the Father loving so much that He sent His Son who did the work sufficient for the Father to be justified in lavishing Grace on people who don't deserve it and the Holy Spirit creating life and sight in dead and blind people so they can respond and see that reality."

I purchased all of the messages? Could you tell me where I can find Paul Young speak in a clear way the Gospel? Where did he talk about in your words "the Holy Spirit creating life and sight in dead and blind people so they can respond and see that reality"? Did I miss all of that?

Thanks Paul

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks for asking. I'll answer with two or three things. caught me. :) I DID overspeak a little bit. [I have had that weakness for years unfortunately.] It didn't approach Wade. :) It was a very clear presentation of the gospel if you follow and appreciate the use of metaphor. That's a big "if." Millions do. Millions don't.

Two...As Paul was sharing [I haven't gone back to hear the tapes] I heard him describing the human condition of independence and the chaos of sin that has resulted. [Such as his conversations with Papa on page 190.]

The Holy Spirit is seen as bringing life [her garden] and able to give what is needed for a human being to understand life. [The green herbs.]

Jesus continuing to be human in eternity as part of His human sacrifice. [Remember His resurrected glorified Body with the scars presented to Thomas.] Also remember His ascension and saying He will come again that way.]

The Father's hands. [The scars that only show He was involved froom the beginning in redemption.]

Finally...I also admit to speaking of "presenting the gospel" with more of the [didasko] teaching for inspiration with understanding of the aspects of the gospel rather than the "presenting the gospel" with more of an [Kerruso] announcing the message of the Kingdom and the Savior events that brings it in.

Jesus did both but much of His teaching was the first kind as seen in Matthew 13 and other places which used parabolic form.

Paul Young used the metaphorical form quite well, as I said, to inspire the true understanding of the condition of man, the heart of the Father and the reality of the Christ events.

Kendall, I realize we will disagree on this until Jesus comes. So, rather than participating in a debate, which I don't do at all and I'll bet you are good at, let's agree to disagree in the love of Christ. OK?

[All my debating winds up "empty and meaningless" so I would SURE violate the scriptures to do that.] :) I promise I've smiled the last time here.