Sunday, June 29, 2008

In The Light

First off I want to apologize for being late. Our internet went down when I was supposed to make the post. Second I want to notify the readers that I will be gone the 6th-12th of July and thus I won't make any posts that week. (Unless I get back early enough on the 12th and decide I really want to, or have something pressing on me.) Third, I'm deviating a bit from what I promised to talk about.

Last time I shared the purpose of this blog, encouraging you(and myself really) to be open with one another. Unfortunately due to time constraints (and the size of the post), I wasn't able to go into the scriptural background for it.

Today I can. I first heard this teaching (which I'll shortly be borrowing and butchering(parts of)) while at a conference in California. It was one of many God had been using to try to bring me to openness, among other things. The teaching was actually about legalism, but he went on a little bit about this.

Using 1 John 1:5-10: "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

God is light, in him there is no darkness. The first thing we need to do is confront the idea that light might perhaps be holiness. If it is, then I'd be better off turning to James 5. But look closely. It says that if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, or make him out to be a liar. But they were just talking about being in the light. If we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. So while we are in the light, there is sin. It seems to follow us a lot.

Looking at the rest of the passage and the nature of light reveals what John is speaking of. If we walk in the light we have fellowship. What hinders us from fellowship, but hiding ourselves in secrets. And think about light. Light illuminates, reveals. The darkness hides things, covers them up, while the light shows them as they are.

And God does not hide himself. In him there is no darkness He has no secrets of his character, only things we haven't learned or understood. It's not like he can't stand us knowing how loving he is.

If we claim to have fellowship with him, but walk in darkness... Things get serious here. When we walk in darkness it says the truth is not in us. If we claim to be without sin, the truth and his word are not in us. If there was any part of you that was hoping that there was a loophole allowing you to avoid sharing struggles, crucify it now.

But there's hope in this passage. If we confess our sins, he'll forgive us, and cleanse us. From what? From the lesser unrighteousness; you know, that white lie yesterday. He'll cleanse us from most unrighteousness, but you better get to work, or you'll be spending quite a few years in purgatory. All unrighteousness. All. A-L-L.

I don't know about you, but considering how much unrighteous stuff I get/have gotten into that's a relief. I need it. I'm willing to admit right now, I don't make it.

I've been struggling for years on this walk. As a teacher put it, "You're either checked out of life, or you're struggling with the Christian walk." Cause Satan won't let you rest, not if he can make you miserable.

But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with each other, with him, and purification.

Fellowship and purification. Now where's that in our churches today?

God's Blessings,


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shattering Stained Glass

It’s been one week since my first post on this blog. It was about me (selfish bugger, ain’t I?), an introduction if you will, to myself. Today I give you an introduction to the blog itself.

The short answer is found in the song from which this blog gets its name, Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns. If you’ve never heard it, or you just want to watch it again you can see it here. Really, I suggest you watch it even if you’ve heard it a thousand times. It’s an amazing video by the youth at 4:12.

The longer answer… Consider for a moment the words of that song. Look at the person they describe. It’s your neighbor in the pew, your worship leader, your family. It’s you.

Have you failed? Have you fallen? Do you struggle daily against a temptation that no one even knows you have?

And what of Sunday? We tuck it away, hoping that no one will ever discover ‘the truth behind the person you imagine me to be.’ The alter becomes a stage, and we hide every struggle behind fake smiles.

“How are you doing, Sean?”

“Pretty good, Bill.” Bill isn’t even listening anymore. It was just a greeting, like a basic ‘hello.’ But if he were, he wouldn’t here the truth. This morning I was having the same struggle I’ve fought for six years. And dare I tell a soul?

When I take a look around, everyone else has it under control. The few who don’t, look at me as a leader. I’ve been ‘the Christian’ since I was 6. How can I tell them that I’m really just human?

Taylor Swift, a country singer(yeah, I know, I listen to a bit of non-Christian music), puts it like this in Tied Together With A Smile: “you cry, but you don't tell anyone that you might not be the golden one. And your tied together with a smile
but your coming undone.”

I’ve heard it said “secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.” These secrets always hurt someone, and it’s always you.

God knows we can’t stand on our own. He’s won every victory for us. He has the power for us to withstand, to overcome but the strength of will... He can’t give us that. It’d be taking away our choice. Alone our will is so easy to wear away, like sand.

But we can’t really have fellowship with each other, can’t share that strength, when we don’t have problems, when we’re just happy plastic people, with towering walls of stained glass hiding every fault. When we don’t even know the other person, how can we possibly have real fellowship with them?

I have a number of friends. Some are in my youth group; some are in some other Bible studies I go to. A number of the friends from youth group have spent more than one night at my house, with my sister and I. We’ve spent nights talking about our lives, our pasts, our troubles, our struggles. In the wee hours of the morning it is slightly easier to share, possibly because the rational part of your mind is getting sleepy. I don’t know, but off topic.

But bible study on Friday nights, our ‘home fellowship’ group... we’re friends. Just friends. One of my friends there, I’ve known longer than all but one of the members of my youth group. And, through no fault of his own, I am, in a way, so much closer to them, than him. Why?

Because of openness. With him I always have a part of me that I hide, and to avoid that part, I have to avoid others. One secret and I’ve suddenly hidden so much of me, that I must become something to fill the missing parts. So I become ‘the Christian.’ Who knows, if they believe it enough, I might too.

But there’s a better way. A way to true fellowship. A way that God himself calls us to*. A way that while it requires us to ‘Do Hard Things,’** like sharing our failures, is the only way to a life that’s free, and a life that’s ready for the amazing things God has prepared for us, as we work together with our fellow believers, in fellowship with them.

Sure it’s scary. Shame, fear of rejection, anger, regret, wounds, worry that we’ve already missed it, all the things on the shirts in those videos… they hinder us; they hold us up. They’re the way Satan tries to keep us from that life.

But I’ve seen a life without it. And I remember being a child, before I started carrying my own secrets. If it’s the hardest thing you ever do, it’s worth it. There may be those who shrink away from you for your openness, or for your sin, but others will embrace you for your courage and your humility. And as you strip away secrets together, you become an army, standing together, firm against whatever comes your way.

Cause temptations will come. And we cannot face them alone.

God’s Blessings,


* This was supposed to just be a brief overview of the purpose of this blog, it got quite a bit longer. I’ll (Lord willing) be looking at the scriptural background for this life next time, which may or may not be in a week.

** Do Hard Things is an awesome and amazing book, by Alex and Brett Harris. It, along with the song Stained Glass Masquerade and about 200 lessons on being open, provided me with most of the motivation and encouragement to start this blog. Well, my life, and the 200 lessons prompted the desire for openness. The book and the song prompted the motivation and encouragement to share it like this. Thanks to both of you.

PS: For some reason my first entry was at 1:00 in the morning Central time. For an even odder reason I feel compelled to keep to that time. So here it is at 1:00 though I finished it about 11:15(automatic delayed postage is excellent). If I start doing it on other days I might possibly go to a more reasonable hour of the day, or at least midnight, so it's got some logic to it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Well, I figured I'd start with a bit about myself before going into everything. Really a lot of this can be seen in the profile, but it just seems best to get off on the right foot with an introduction.

My name is Sean R. Bunger. I really don't tell my middle name. I am 18, born on the 27th of December, and homeschooled in SD. Despite my age I plan to take an extra year in school, as I haven't been able to do all I've wished previously, and more importantly I really believe God said so.

I am a rather churchy sort, with church, a youth group, and Truth Project(well, just finished that, so just church and youth group) on Sundays, and youth group Tues, Middle Schoolers Wed, and Bible Study Friday. So the question is, am I a rather Christian sort?

Mother, father, older brother, younger sister. Pretty good family. I wouldn't call it the role model for Earth, but certainly not bad. Mom takes care of administration for the school, though she doesn't do much for actual teaching. Dad works. Unfortunately when he doesn't we don't always spend good time together anyway. Older brother left for the marines, and sister's also finishing up school.

I'm sure with the information provided someone could hunt me down, but I've got several weapons, a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, and friends and family in the military and security, plus my dad's a postal worker. ;) I'm not too scared. Well about that anyway. My next post will be when it starts getting harder.

It looks like I won't be going into hobbies, or really superficial stuff, like what my favorite color, or ice cream is. The world must weep. Yes I am a bit sarcastic. But it's late and the blog's getting long. Next post will be a general overview of the purpose then I'll be getting into the scriptural backgrounds. And then how I'm working with it? Just have to figure out how to say it all. And we'll see where it goes, Lord willing.

God's Blessings,