Thursday, September 29, 2011

Changing Winds Deeply Spiritual and Interesting Read

Changing Winds Deeply Spiritual and Interesting Read Take an intensely spiritual journey though the experiences of a handful of lives in a small Midwestern community with The Changing Winds: Of Blindness, Visions, And Spiritual Redemption, by The Apprentice.

This was a work like none I've ever read. I do a lot of reading and can't say that about most books. At first you're not sure what The Apprentice is doing, or why he's setting the stage using metaphorical pseudo names for people and places. But it later becomes clear.
In the first part of the story, we meet a highly educated Clinical Psychologist who expounds on a number of profound spiritual experiences he and his wife ("Angel") have been through. At such high levels of encounters does he boast (humbly) of, I could not help but wonder just how many Christians have come even close to the same sort of experiences-even those of a more charismatic or Pentecostal persuasion. The Apprentice appears to be a magnet of supernatural activity.
As we go along, we find that the gist of this story is about the quite ugly behavior of a handful of church ("Village") leaders and what they did to the author and his wife. So deplorable were their actions, there were moments I wanted to put the book down and not read anymore. This type of thing appeals to some as a way of entertainment-it does not to me. In fact, my carnal nature would rear its head and I found myself envisioning rather ungodly ways that I might response, were it myself in this situation.
But I pressed on for a couple reasons. First, I could see straight away that The Apprentice is an individual with more patience than I--I wanted to learn from him. Although understandably angry and frustrated at times, he keeps his cool and leaves any revenge that may occur to God. He continually seeks to forgive and reconcile, even after two full years of rejection, slander, and abuse.
Secondly, both The Apprentice and his wife offer the reader great wisdom and understanding about why people behave the way they do. I myself have a Bachelor's in Psychology, and I left the degree with more questions than answers. But The Apprentice not only became certified in Clinical Psychology (and a few other things), but he himself underwent years of both giving and receiving counseling. He combines his education, knowledge, and experience, with a deep love for God, his Son Jesus Christ, and Biblical lore. This makes for some fascinating psychological breakdown of the individuals involved and the reasons-nature, nurture, and spiritual-behind their appalling behavior.
Thirdly, there's a bigger picture here I wanted to see. God has always used suffering, and both The Apprentice and his wife have suffered much-physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A certain amount of pain appears to be needed to bring us, in our fleshly state, to those high levels of faith where we're closer to God. The Lord told The Apprentice to endure to the end, and I wanted to see how this turned out, and whether or not the pain they suffered at the hands of others would come to any positive fruition.
As we continue, we read also some very interesting facts about the kind of people who judge others in regards to spiritual experiences, whether or not they're real or the result of mental dysfunction. Not to spoil it for the potential reader of this work, but you'll be surprised at the statistics regarding who judges who and how.
This book is also a sad commentary on the American church today in general. It goes in depth about how a lot of Americans pray and believe in Jesus, but those same individuals don't go to church because of the hurtful, controlling, and judgmental people in them. It also discusses truths about American wealth and how we use it wrongly.
You may also be delighted though, as I was, to find not only amazing testimonies of God's grace and healing, but gold nuggets of wisdom speckled throughout this writing. This comes in the form of not just quotes from well-known individuals, but thoughts that came from the author as he went long. Here are just a few of many examples:
  • "To face a Bully, a person must stand outside of the belief in attack."
  • "The Bullying of the meek is as destructive as the physical abusing of children."
  • On fear: "The Devil you know is easier to cope with than the Devil you don't know."
  • "In my soul I believe the only good we humans are capable of, when confronted with evil, is love."
  • "Powerlessness and surrender are the true path of the way taught by Jehoshua (Jesus)."
  • "We sadly have a tremendous faith in evil."
  • "Position and power mean nothing, and God is not a respecter of these things but appreciates service."
One little bit of criticism that I will add here is that there are many quotes from Scripture in this work, usually from expounded translations. But rarely was there the actual verse reference. For those familiar with the Bible, this isn't such an issue. But for those seeking and searching, I would think that would be a boon.
Does this story end positively? Yes and no. No, because when people are given chance after chance to repent and obey God (in this case repentance, forgiveness, and love) and still refuse to comply, there are terrible consequences-we see some of that begin to happen. But Yes, because others did start to acknowledge what went on and did at least start down a road of what could be reconciliation. Also Yes, because it offers an amazing conclusion on what exactly Love is. How The Apprentice and his wife could respond with such love and compassion after everything they went through cannot be explained in human terms.
The Changing Winds is a work that will make you think on a number of subjects. Some of it is controversial, none of it is boring. And ultimately, all of it points to the "greatest commandment" taught by Christ.
Kelly Libatique, author of Divine Knowledge Transfer
Kelly Libatique is a professional speaker, technical trainer, and author. He has a Master's in Education and a Bachelor's in Psychology. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and Anne and two sons.
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