Reflections over the past year...
It seems that I have been writing here on HubPages for one whole year, which surprised me, especially as I cannot even remember how I started here or who told me about it.
So what started out as a personal account of my early life, which I never realised could or would be read by so many folk, has progressed into a rough hotchpotch of articles (118 at the last count, not including this one) which mainly have spiritual themes, and which have been read by over 20,000 people I never knew a year ago.
My religious writing started out as a way to express the things I would preach if anybody allowed me to do so... but most churches I have frequented always refrained form lending me their congregation, assessing that I just may stir things up with my quirky (but scriptural) opinions, and the fact that once I start preaching I relinquish control to the Holy Spirit, and then who knows what will come out!
No matter that I spent hours compiling notes and researching verses to use in the message, it all goes out the window when the preach starts, and that's a fact.
So welcome to my pulpit!
During this year I have made some good cyber friends and a few enemies, been banned from the forums twice, for perfectly good reasons and to my own benefit, and learned a whole lot of things from following other hubbers and being exposed to diverse thinking and explanation.
I like it here!
One thing I have not been is commercial, and I can see the difference in reads and income from the one hub I have that regularly gets searched for and read, so maybe I should start putting some commercial hubs up, but then I have been thinking of that for a while and frankly the concept of writing only to be read by morons in order to get a few bucks is just not for me.
I have also picked up some followers (readers) and as I write I am one body short of the 300 followers needed to get another 'gong'.
I almost topped it a couple of days ago, but somebody stopped following me and my score dropped, guess I upset someone in the forums.
Hopefully this hub may tip me over the top, so if you are not following me get to it now, I need YOUR vote.
On the other hand if you want to frustrate me, quit me!
Overall I have been amazed at the power that the Internet, and writing on HubPages gives one, and would never have believed that people would read, comment and interact with me in such large numbers.
Over the year a small 'band of brothers' have entered my life, as I found and was found by like minded believers, and commended, corrected, edified and exalted by those new friends.
I'm not going to start making a list, because I will surely forget someone and then others will be offended.
But having said that, there are some writers that I follow avidly, not just as a friend but as a true follower who wants to see what they produce next.
It seems that about one in six followers actually read me, this may differ for other hubbers, but on an average I can reckon on about 50 reads before I start, and then it seems to depend on whether what I write is controversial or not.
Definitely more comments leads to more readers, as the Feed seems to function as a magnet for passer by to pick up on your hubs.
Equally the forums will normally add readers to me, if they agree with my comments, and this is a one way street normally, as my opponents will not join my ranks, whereas those who read the forums but do not post to them tend to follow those they like.
Do I have tips for hubbers?
Well, yes, but then they are already out there in my hubs so why repeat them!
One thing that has become apparent is the growing move amongst believers to openly challenge the tenets of Churchianity.
It seems that there is a widespread moving away from 'organised ' religion towards a desire to have a closer, more personal relationship with Christ.
Another aspect of the Internet has been the explosion of networking, global communications and spread of thoughts and knowledge.
Of course one of the marks of the end times will be an increase in knowledge, but a lack of understanding.... so at times it is difficult to see where the line between Gods remnant speaking out...... is separated from the apostasy that we are told will happen at this time, and indeed is clearly taking place.
When does one cross the line from a serious Berean searching for the true scriptures of Christ into a heretic chasing a new (or old) heresy?
My 'line' is drawn against pantheism, which is a classic new age, old Satanic trick to herald in the Universal Church that both the bible and Alice Bailey tell us must come about.
Most of current churchianity will fall in line with this under the flimsy description of ecumenism, which they all want, rather than unity of belief, which they cannot achieve.
I do not see that ALL roads lead to God, but equally I do not see that anyone need comply with every aspect of what our church fathers set out as official doctrine in order to be acceptable to God.
But I am sure that Christ is an essential element in being made acceptable to God.
Fifty years ago such thinking out load would have been frowned upon, five hundred years ago I could have expected to have a lingering slow death after a fast but public trial.
Fortunately our eternal future depends more on what happened two thousand years ago, and how our hearts stand today, than upon what has taken place between times.
God has always hidden His remnant inside man's churches, and for good reason they have mostly stayed hidden, carrying the torch of the testimony from one generation to the next, and being martyred whenever they spoke out against the errors and excesses of the traditional church.
Again the Internet has changed that, and nowadays it would be impossible to silence the voices of open debate and challenge that rise against churchianity.
This too seems to be part of Gods plan, that in these dark end times, when secular humanity and false religion are both heading for the inevitable showdown depicted in scripture, God has empowered His people to speak freely and cause others to think for themselves, to be able to break free from the blind acceptance of religiosity to find a way for themselves, that will bring them to hear the words "Well done my true and faithful servant".... rather than "recant or die".
No, we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater, any more than we must unthinkingly sit at the feet of our 'leaders ' and accept whatever version of the scriptures they seek to impart to us.
The day of the priest being the sole mediator between God and ourselves has long past, for we are a holy priesthood of believers, but with that freedom has also come the responsibility to study to be approved, to pick up our cross daily, to obey our Lord and Master, to show that we love Him.
So my first year on the Hub has taught me to look more closely at my beliefs, and examine the beliefs of others.... to be more certain of what I do believe, and more prepared to challenge what I see as error, be it from a brother or sister or from a pastor or cleric, and most of all to be prepared to be corrected where I am in the wrong.
Transparency is paramount in not being deceived, and I have no doubt about my sinfulness, for the evidence is shown me daily.
I sin less than I did before I came to faith, but like Paul, I still do what I do not wish to do, and fail to do what I do wish to do.
My guideline for acceptable practise has long been to examine whether whatever I am feeling convicted about would be acceptable behaviour or conduct if I did it in front of the congregation one Sunday.
That may not be totally scriptural, but it's a sure fire way to see for yourself where you are drifting towards, if you can ignore the inner doubts about how they would react!
So gentle reader, thank you if you have stayed with me this far, I hope to produce some interesting hubs that you can enjoy or take something away from in the next year, God willing.
And thank you for your inspiration, education, edification and conviction as I have read your hubs, long may we continue fellowshipping together, in unity and truth.