Interview with Keith Giles, Subversive Christian Author and Pacifist Fight Club Founder

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Around six years ago I found myself grow­ing more and more dis­il­lu­sioned with my child­hood reli­gion. Even­tu­al­ly I was forced out by the lead­er­ship, when I  men­tal­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the unbreak­ing dog­ma and the rigid struc­ture.  On the out­side, I real­ized that I wasn’t a unique case, and that so many more were leav­ing their church­es in droves.  What impressed me were those that held their Chris­tian­i­ty and tried to work out­side the sys­tem, to chase after some­thing more pure, and per­haps clos­er to the genet­ic source mate­r­i­al of the Chris­t­ian faith.  That is how I first ran across Orange County’s Kei­th Giles. Though I per­son­al­ly have mixed feel­ings about Chris­tian­i­ty, I absolute­ly respect Kei­th and his gen­uine approach to his faith.  Hon­est­ly, when I see ani­mos­i­ty or indif­fer­ence toward Chris­tian­i­ty for its faults and abus­es, I wish more non-believ­ers could be exposed to some­one like him.  It was my absolute priv­i­lege to inter­view Kei­th and I sin­cere­ly hope that no mat­ter what your per­son­al beliefs are, you’ll hear him out.

* * * *

You’ve been self-pub­lish­ing books for a while and mak­ing them avail­able for free.  This is some­thing that I’ve always admired.  What are your rea­sons for choos­ing this approach?

I think it’s par­tial­ly the Holy Spir­it and par­tial­ly my own reluc­tance to charge peo­ple mon­ey to read the truth. First of all, I start­ed out writ­ing my blog as a way to use my gift of writ­ing for the King­dom back in 2005. Over time the con­tent on the blog sort of blos­somed into sev­er­al themes which became my first three books (Nobody Fol­lows Jesus (So Why Should You?); The Top 10 Things Every Chris­t­ian Should Know (But Prob­a­bly Doesn’t) and The Gospel:For Here or to Go?), so when I self-pub­lished those through Lulu.com I had the option to set prices for the PDF ver­sions of each book. I think I saw those PDF’s as oppor­tu­ni­ties to share what God had taught me with every­one with­out charg­ing them for it.

See? This is prob­a­bly why I will nev­er be a full-time author, because I just can’t get com­fort­able with the idea that the Gospel has to be pur­chased. Of course, I have a day job (as a copy­writer for an in-house mar­ket­ing agency), so I don’t need to sell books to sup­port my fam­i­ly. I guess because of this I have the lux­u­ry of such con­vic­tions, but if I can share what God has giv­en me with every­one I’d rather do that and make noth­ing than only share it with a few and make some­thing.

Now, ear­li­er this year I start­ed pub­lish­ing eBooks on Amazon.com. After a friend of mine con­vinced me this might be some­thing worth explor­ing I self-pub­lished War Is Not Chris­t­ian, How To Start A Min­istry To The Poor In Your Com­mu­ni­ty and The Pow­er of Weak­ness as Kin­dle-exclu­sive eBooks. Those are not free, and with the excep­tion of The Pow­er of Weak­ness the first two are  sim­ply com­pi­la­tions of my arti­cles of the same title over at my blog. So, tech­ni­cal­ly you can still read those two for free, minus the Jon Zens fore­word to War Is Not Chris­t­ian that is.

The Pow­er of Weak­ness is a book that I’ve had on the back burn­er for about four years or so. It’s about how God loves to do extra­or­di­nary things through ordi­nary peo­ple. The eBook option gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to release it after all this time and based on the tes­ti­monies I’ve received from peo­ple so far, I’m very glad I was able to share that one with every­one.

Going for­ward I plan to pub­lish two or three more Kin­dle exclu­sive eBooks like this, (Sub­ver­sive Inter­views Vol­ume 2, How Many Chris­tians Does It Take To Unscrew The Church? and Rag­ing Against Your Own Machine), but my next major book project will be avail­able as a free Ebook down­load.

You’ve held Paci­fist Fight Club  events in Cal­i­for­nia.  If it’s not against the rules, can you talk about it?

This start­ed off as a joke, actu­al­ly. It was about the time that a cer­tain infa­mous pas­tor from Seat­tle made anoth­er sad com­ment about (I think) wor­ship lead­ers being too girly or some­thing. This spawned a brief Twit­ter flur­ry of com­ments and I think I tweet­ed some­thing like, “For the record, I could total­ly take Brandt Rus­so and Chase Andre in a cage match.” Then Chase respond­ed by say­ing, “We could call it Paci­fist Fight Club” and then I start­ed cre­at­ing the rules of PFC like, “Rule #1: You do not talk about PFC” and then when I got to the sec­ond one “Rule #2: You do not talk about PFC but must move from talk to action” I real­ized that we were on to some­thing real.

So, I start­ed brain­storm­ing this as an actu­al event called “Paci­fist Fight Club” where we would gath­er oth­er Chris­tians who would fight for jus­tice but do no vio­lence. I think I pur­chased PacifistFightClub.com next day and start­ed putting togeth­er a loca­tion about a week lat­er.

What it turned into was a series of quar­ter­ly gath­er­ings in Orange Coun­ty where like-mind­ed believ­ers who fol­low Jesus into a lifestyle of non-vio­lence could gath­er and share ideas and sup­port one anoth­er in this direc­tion. We’ve tack­led top­ics like “Nation­al­ism”, “Pover­ty”, “Injus­tice”, “War”, and sim­i­lar top­ics so far.

Our sec­ond gath­er­ing was called “This Time It’s War” and any­one inter­est­ed can watch the videos pre­sen­ta­tions by Brandt Rus­so, Chase Andre and myself from that day over at PacifistFightClub.com.

Our next event is com­ing up on Sep­tem­ber 15th and it’s at Bio­la. Our theme is “The Least of These” and we’ll hear from a most­ly female team on issues like Home­less­ness, Immi­gra­tion, Tor­ture and the Pris­on­er. The cool thing is that this thing has a life of its own now. I mean, I’m not even speak­ing at this third event. It’s awe­some! All I have to do is to show up and engage in the dia­log.

The for­mat for each event is a short twen­ty minute pre­sen­ta­tion fol­lowed by dia­log and inter­ac­tion on the top­ic. It’s very con­ver­sa­tion­al.

I think the best thing that has come out of these events so far has been pro­vid­ing a voice and a sense of com­mu­ni­ty for those Chris­tians who feel pas­sion­ate about these issues. The most often repeat­ed state­ment in our first gath­er­ing of PFC was, “I’m the only Chris­t­ian in my Church who thinks like this.” So, we knew right away that there was a seri­ous need for PFC.

Now that we see more Nation­al­ism and Pro-War rhetoric in our Church­es today, not to men­tion the overt Polit­i­cal nature of most Chris­t­ian dia­log, the need for Paci­fist Fight Club is more evi­dent than ever.

Could you give an overview of your church his­to­ry and reli­gious back­ground?

Wow. That’s a long one. I’ll try to short­en it if I can: I’m a fol­low­er of Jesus. There. How’s that?

Ok, seri­ous­ly now. I was always spir­i­tu­al­ly aware, I guess. Prob­a­bly went to church once (that I can remem­ber) before I was nine years old, but I still always thought about God and talked to Him. One of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries was from around kinder­garten or first grade when I asked my Mom about Heav­en and how we know if we’re going to go there after we die. When she con­fessed that she didn’t know the answer I broke down in tears and sobbed, “But we have to find out!”

So, even­tu­al­ly my fam­i­ly end­ed up at the Light­house Free Will Bap­tist Church in Eagle Pass, Texas. Before that we vis­it­ed a Methodist church for a while, and even almost became Mor­mons — but my Dad kicked those guys out of our liv­ing room one night after he sud­den­ly real­ized that they weren’t talk­ing about the same Jesus he was raised to believe in.

Any­way, to fast for­ward a bit, after I sur­ren­dered my life to Christ at age 9, I was raised South­ern Bap­tist, met my wife in col­lege at the Bap­tist Stu­dent Union min­istry and was licensed and ordained to the Min­istry of the Gospel in a Bap­tist Church in El Paso, Texas.

Fast for­ward anoth­er 25 years or so and I’ve since walked away from my paid, on-staff posi­tion as a pas­tor in order to serve in full-time min­istry every day of my life as an unpaid mem­ber of the Body of Christ.

Essen­tial­ly what hap­pened was that God called my wife and I to step away from tra­di­tion­al church in order to plant a church where 100 per­cent of the offer­ings could go to help the poor in our com­mu­ni­ty. The only way to make that hap­pen was to meet in homes and for me to take a real job in the real work­force. That was six years ago. I still say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done with the word “Church” on it.

So, with this small group of about twen­ty or so peo­ple we’ve been able to give away thou­sands of dol­lars every year to help buy gro­ceries and pay rent for actu­al peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty or in need here in our com­mu­ni­ty — and some­times even in our own church fam­i­ly. No one takes a salary. Every pen­ny goes to help peo­ple. We don’t even use the mon­ey in the bas­ket for paper plates or cof­fee. All of it goes to help actu­al peo­ple in need.

Just before this call­ing to step out and plant a house church (which was pret­ty far out­side my com­fort zone, by the way), I had my world rocked pret­ty hard when I heard the Gospel of the King­dom.

Yes, after being licensed and ordained over 20 years and serv­ing as a full-time pas­tor I was sud­den­ly blown away when I heard the Gospel that Jesus preached for the first time. That Gospel was not the Gospel I heard at the age of nine. It wasn’t the Gospel preached at any church I had ever been to or served at. It wasn’t the Gospel I myself was preach­ing. It was the Gospel that Jesus preached which was “Repent! The King­dom of God is at hand.”

After real­iz­ing that I had been try­ing to fol­low Jesus with­out tak­ing up my cross dai­ly (which is the only way any­one can ever fol­low Jesus, accord­ing to him), I had to fall on my knees and sur­ren­der every­thing. I lit­er­al­ly had to “think dif­fer­ent” (which is what the word “Repent” actu­al­ly means — “Metanoia” in the Greek) in order to re-imag­ine what it meant to be a Chris­t­ian.

Sud­den­ly every­thing I thought I knew was wrong. I had to re-read the New Tes­ta­ment with new eyes. Hon­est­ly, I am still recov­er­ing from that ini­tial King­dom shock today. It changed every­thing for me. The way I under­stood being a dis­ci­ple, and mak­ing dis­ci­ples, and lead­er­ship, ser­vice, com­pas­sion, pover­ty, suf­fer­ing, com­mu­ni­ty, church — every­thing changed for the bet­ter. I’ll nev­er go back.

In your book This Is My Body: Ekkle­sia as God Intend­ed you write, “I believe it’s time the Church went out of busi­ness.”  I’m sor­ry, but I’ve got to ask, what do you have against the Church?

You’re not the first one to ask me that ques­tion, Antho­ny. Hope­ful­ly those who actu­al­ly read this book will not ask me that by the time the reach the last page. It took me 3 years to write that book and that’s most­ly because my wife, Wendy, was hon­est enough to admit to me that I had a bet­ter book inside of me than the one I had first writ­ten. That first draft would have charged up those who already agreed with my premise, but it would have alien­at­ed every­one I real­ly hoped to com­mu­ni­cate to. So as painful as it was to do so, I trashed that draft and start­ed over from scratch. That first intro­duc­tion (which is in the cur­rent ver­sion of the book) explains that I love the Church and because of that what I can­not do is to stand aside while She eats from the dump­ster when I can see the beau­ti­ful ban­quet Her Lord Jesus has pre­pared for her to feast upon. That’s why I wrote the book.

So, by the time I get to the chap­ter in the book where I say, “I believe it’s time the Church went out of busi­ness” I’ve already laid a whole lot of run­way in advance to lift that idea into the air and keep it soar­ing in everyone’s mind. At least, I hope so. The feed­back I’ve received so far has been very pos­i­tive and it seems that my strat­e­gy to bring peo­ple along with me on a jour­ney was suc­cess­ful.

Even if the read­er doesn’t agree with me by the time they reach the end of my book, I hope they can see my heart for the Body of Christ and my sin­cere love for the Ecclessia of God.

To answer your ques­tion, I sim­ply don’t see any­where in the Scrip­tures where the Church is referred to as a Busi­ness. It’s a Body, a Bride, a Fam­i­ly, an Army, a Priest­hood, etc., but it’s not a Busi­ness.  Now, the rea­son that mat­ters is that if you think of the Church as a busi­ness it will change how you treat your broth­ers and sis­ters, as opposed to how you would treat them if you think of the Church as a Fam­i­ly, or as a Priest­hood, or as a Body.

Sim­ply put, if the Church doesn’t oper­ate the way Paul describes in 1 Corinthi­ans 12 and 14, then it’s not a Body, it’s some­thing else. We can only accu­rate­ly call the Church a Body if Christ is actu­al­ly, func­tion­al­ly the Head of every­one, and if all of us are work­ing togeth­er to serve one anoth­er and encour­age one anoth­er as Paul’s metaphor describes. To be a Body there have to be a vari­ety of gifts work­ing through every­one in the assem­bly for the strength­en­ing of the Church. That’s how a Body oper­ates, but sad­ly it’s not how most Church­es oper­ate today.

In This Is My Body you write against the idea of a paid cler­gy.  How dif­fi­cult was it for you to tran­si­tion from a paid posi­tion in the church insti­tu­tion?

It took me about a year to find a full-time job that would sup­port our fam­i­ly after walk­ing away from paid staff at our pre­vi­ous church. That was a tough year, and our entire church fam­i­ly got to see us endure that sea­son as a fam­i­ly. We depend­ed on God for our dai­ly bread and He pro­vid­ed faith­ful­ly. I think it was some­thing God want­ed us to go through as a church fam­i­ly too.

Hon­est­ly, this is prob­a­bly one of the hard­est things for most pas­tors to fig­ure out. I know a few who have done it, but frankly I know more that have not. At least, not yet.

In my case I was lucky in that my Bachelor’s degree was from a sec­u­lar col­lege in cre­ative writ­ing, and I had exten­sive free-lance writ­ing expe­ri­ence in my back­ground, and I had worked for Soul Sur­vivor USA as their Mar­ket­ing Coor­di­na­tor for about 3 years so that helped me cre­ate a pret­ty exten­sive port­fo­lio, which I used to get the copy­writ­ing job I have right now. Most pas­tors aren’t that lucky. They have an MDiv degree and their resume is noth­ing but church staff posi­tions so it’s very hard to find work out­side the Church.

You know I feel, per­son­al­ly, that no one should ever be paid to serve their broth­ers and sis­ters in the Body of Christ, so I’d say that it’s worth it to leave that posi­tion and ask the Lord to lead you to that job in the reg­u­lar work­force, but that’s just me.

The great thing for me, now, is that I’m learn­ing to be just anoth­er func­tion­al mem­ber of the Body of Christ. I’m not the leader in our house church fam­i­ly. No one is except Jesus. They don’t need me or my fam­i­ly around to meet togeth­er or to hear from the Lord. In fact, some­times we’re not even there because we’re teach­ing at the motel church.

I have real­ly loved learn­ing how to “be the church” over the last six years with these dear peo­ple. God is still teach­ing us how to seek Him and how to allow Jesus to be our Head every time we gath­er. It’s exhil­a­rat­ing!

Can you walk me through one your home church gath­er­ings?

Actu­al­ly, I’ve been mean­ing to write this out any­way, so thanks for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do this.Essentially, what we try to do is to come togeth­er and “take hold of Christ” as a Body. In oth­er words, try to imag­ine that your church was sit­ting togeth­er in someone’s liv­ing room and sud­den­ly Jesus walks in the door and stands in the cen­ter of the room.

Would you guys keep talk­ing to one anoth­er about the weath­er, or sports, or even Bible vers­es? Hope­ful­ly you’d all sit qui­et­ly and lean for­ward to hear what Jesus want­ed to say to you. You’d talk to Him, not to each oth­er. You’d meet with Him, not have a meet­ing about Him while He watched. That’s basi­cal­ly what we’re try­ing to do every time we meet.

Now, it might look dif­fer­ent each time. And some­times, hon­est­ly, we’re bet­ter at it than at oth­er times. But, usu­al­ly our times togeth­er go some­thing like this:

Some of us meet about thir­ty min­utes ear­ly for prayer before the meet­ing starts. A broth­er once not­ed that an open meet­ing requires more prayer togeth­er, not less. Because an open meet­ing is lead by the Spir­it, not by any one per­son or per­sons.  Every­one is invit­ed to this prayer time, but no one has to come if they don’t want to.

After prayer every­one else shows up for a shared, potluck meal togeth­er. Eat­ing is an essen­tial ingre­di­ent, I believe. It helps us to get to know one anoth­er and to be togeth­er with­out being pre­ten­tious. It’s also how we build com­mu­ni­ty and find out what peo­ple are like, what they’re going through, etc. Real min­istry can take place dur­ing the meal times, or we can just laugh togeth­er and eat some great food. Either way it’s worth the invest­ment of time.

Even­tu­al­ly we’ll gath­er around the sofas and set out the com­mu­nion ele­ments and wait qui­et­ly for a while to pray togeth­er before we start singing songs. The singing is always sug­gest­ed by the mem­bers of the Body, or any­one in the room. We have a set of wor­ship songs put togeth­er in a song­book for­mat, and we also have a set of old Bap­tist Hym­nals. Or some­one can bring a CD with a song to share, or they can just start singing a song that they love a cap­pel­la and either teach it to all of us, or let those who know it join in.

There’s lots of flex­i­bil­i­ty, as you’ll notice. We’re very con­scious of the fact that we’re not putting on a show. We’re not try­ing to shush the chil­dren or keep to a pro­gram. We just try to allow the Holy Spir­it to move how­ev­er He likes and get out of His way.

Dur­ing the singing time some­one might feel led to read a scrip­ture out loud, or to pray for some­one else in the group, or to call out to God in thanks­giv­ing and praise. We nev­er know how that might work, but we’re open to what­ev­er hap­pens.

I think this can only work if you’re with a group of peo­ple, a fam­i­ly of believ­ers, that you can trust. You have to know that every­one in that meet­ing cares for you and loves you. They’re not try­ing to con­trol you or to manip­u­late you. Over the last six years we’ve been devel­op­ing that lev­el of trust togeth­er and it’s great, real­ly.

Even­tu­al­ly we’ll move from the singing and prayer time to “open share time” where every­one (young, old, male, female, vis­i­tor, reg­u­lar, etc.) is free to share with every­one else what God has been teach­ing them dur­ing the week, or to share some­thing that the Lord spoke to them dur­ing wor­ship, etc. But not every­one has to share. It’s ok to be qui­et and lis­ten, too.

Tran­si­tion from the singing to the open share time is very flu­id and some­times we’ll drift back into singing songs again, or spend the whole time pray­ing for one anoth­er, or maybe share with one anoth­er over a sin­gle pas­sage of scrip­ture, or a vari­ety of scrip­tures if there are a lot of peo­ple who have some­thing to share. It varies week to week.

What I real­ly love is when the seem­ing­ly ran­dom vers­es and tes­ti­monies that each per­son brings sud­den­ly begin to emerge as a com­plete teach­ing on a sin­gle top­ic. Some­times some­one will say, “What is Jesus try­ing to teach us this morn­ing?” and we’ll real­ize “Oh, it’s about let­ting go and trust­ing Him” or “It’s about for­give­ness”, and then we’ll try to respond to Him and thank Him for teach­ing us this les­son as a Body.

Our meet­ings usu­al­ly run from about 9am for morn­ing prayer to around 1pm or so. Some­times it goes to 2pm but usu­al­ly 12:30pm to 1pm. We usu­al­ly end with Com­mu­nion togeth­er and sing a song before we depart.

Do you iden­ti­fy with the so-called “house church move­ment” and what do you see as its strengths and weak­ness­es?

Yes, I sup­pose I do. I’m not like some oth­ers who want to draw hard lines in the sand between “Organ­ic” and “House Church” or “Sim­ple Church” or “New Tes­ta­ment Church” or what have you. The labels mean less to me than the prac­tice.

What I can say I most believe in when it comes to the House Church Move­ment is that it’s a gen­uine move­ment of the Holy Spir­it. It’s what God is doing and as long as it’s some­thing that God is doing it’s a move­ment. When men and women try to put their hands on it and own it or mar­ket it or charge admis­sion for it, then to me it ceas­es to be a Move­ment and it becomes anoth­er denom­i­na­tion. I’m not inter­est­ed in that.

I’ve writ­ten about this before on my blog and shared my con­cerns about ele­vat­ing lead­ers with­in the House Church/Organic Church move­ment to become our own ver­sions of “Pas­tors” and “Bish­ops”. If we do that we’ve now become as guilty as the rest of the tra­di­tion­al church we left behind in order to pur­sue Christ as our only Head.

This is a two way street, by the way. It can be the Leader who seeks the fame and the name, or it can be the peo­ple who seek after a guru who will tell them what to believe and how to behave. Or, it can be a lit­tle of both.

As some­one whose per­son­al sin is pride, I have to admit that I’m very aware of this ten­den­cy in myself and I work very hard to sit in the back­ground of our own church fam­i­ly and not take the Lord’s place in the Body. I used to lim­it myself to only two “soap box moments” every meet­ing. Then my goal was to try not to share a com­ment on what every per­son shared dur­ing the meet­ing. Now my goal is to keep silent unless the Lord real­ly prompts me to share some­thing. Oth­er­wise, I sit qui­et­ly and I lis­ten.

I know that some­times peo­ple who read my blog or my books will vis­it our house church and they’ll expect that I’ll have some cool teach­ing to share every time. But that’s not what hap­pens. If any­thing, I’ll rarely talk at all unless the Lord has giv­en me some­thing to teach or to share.

My goal is real­ly to encour­age every­one else to share. I real­ly want to hear what my two teenage boys have to say. I want to hear from those qui­et wives who nev­er speak out. I want hear what that five year old boy has to say about Jesus. Those are always the most pro­found things, real­ly. I’ve learned so much from the most unlike­ly sources. It’s amaz­ing, real­ly.

This kind of thing is a move­ment of God. No man can take cred­it for this. When I hear from peo­ple all over the nation, and even the world, that God is lead­ing them in this same New Tes­ta­ment mod­el of “being Church” it excites me. Because we’re not mov­ing in this direc­tion because we read a blog or a book or attend­ed a con­fer­ence. Every one I’ve spo­ken to shares their sto­ry about how God did this to them. God called them to step out­side the tra­di­tion­al mod­el of Church and they obeyed Him and fol­lowed His lead­ing, even at a great cost — usu­al­ly friend­ships, or salaries, or the respect of oth­ers, etc. But when I hear those tes­ti­monies I rejoice because I know that God is puri­fy­ing His Bride and He’s doing some­thing mar­velous that no man can dare take cred­it for.

You have also been active in a motel min­istry in Orange Coun­ty.  What exact­ly do you there?

Well, about six­teen years ago my wife and I were on staff at this lit­tle church plant in Tustin, Cal­i­for­nia. I was the Com­pas­sion Min­istries and Children’s pas­tor. We were try­ing to reach the poor in our com­mu­ni­ty and we got con­nect­ed to the Orange Coun­ty Res­cue Mis­sion. Their chap­lain at the time, my dear broth­er Ray Green, helped me to see the poor fam­i­lies that were liv­ing in motels all around us.

At first we vol­un­teered and helped out as they took Laun­dry Bas­kets to pass out to needy fam­i­lies there in this one motel in San­ta Ana called “The Cal­i­for­nia Stu­dio Inn”.  I’ll nev­er for­get knock­ing on doors and see­ing wel­come mats in front of these lit­tle motel rooms, and kids toys and shoes in the door­way, and wind chimes hang­ing out­side the doors. There were peo­ple liv­ing here. Like, all the time. This was their home. It real­ly blew me away.

I can remem­ber the moment exact­ly when God spoke to me about this place. I was stand­ing on the sec­ond floor bal­cony wait­ing for some­one from our team to come back with more laun­dry bas­kets of good­ies to pass out. There were lit­tle kids play­ing in the hall­ways out­side. I was just stand­ing there, tak­ing it all in when I heard the Lord say, “If you want this place I’ll give it you.”

It real­ly shocked me, actu­al­ly. And I always say if I had any idea what I was say­ing “yes” to I might not have done it, but in that moment I said “Ok, Lord. I’ll take it if you’ll give it to me.”

So, what I thought this meant at first was that God was going to give me this huge motel min­istry that would end up get­ting every­one saved and turn that place upside down and we’d have this amaz­ing min­istry every­one would talk about. But that’s not what God did.

Once we got per­mis­sion to serve there, and that was a mir­a­cle in itself, the first thing the Lord did was to shine a spot­light on this one fam­i­ly and He said, “Love this fam­i­ly.” So, for the first few years we did that. We shared in their suf­fer­ings, we had them over to our house for din­ner and lunch. We let their kids play with our kids. We drove them around look­ing for afford­able hous­ing. We prayed for them. We cried with them when loved ones died sud­den­ly. We coun­seled them about bad deci­sions they were mak­ing. We just loved them.

Sure, we still con­tin­ued to serve all the peo­ple at the motel — we brought a bounce house for the kids and we played games with them and we shared cloth­ing and food as the Lord pro­vid­ed, but essen­tial­ly our first phase was just to love that one fam­i­ly.

Now, every­one always asks me what God did to change that fam­i­ly. The truth is, that fam­i­ly is still liv­ing in a motel (they’ve moved to anoth­er motel far­ther away) and they’re still strug­gling with the same chal­lenges. But God did change a fam­i­ly — He changed my fam­i­ly.

See, that’s the beau­ty of this kind of min­istry. You start off think­ing that it’s all about chang­ing them, and then you real­ize that God is using them to change your heart and your per­spec­tive. We’re the one’s who need them, just as much, maybe more, than they need bread and friend­ship. We all need the same Jesus, and by shar­ing in the suf­fer­ings of oth­ers we learn what it real­ly means to love Jesus as He loved us. Because Jesus said what­ev­er we did for the least of these we did it unto Him.

So, after six­teen years we’ve seen sev­er­al turn their hearts to Christ, and be bap­tized, and start liv­ing for Christ dai­ly. We’ve start­ed plant­i­ng a church there on Sun­day morn­ings in part­ner­ship with Sad­dle­back and a few oth­er church­es too. The sto­ry con­tin­ues.

Who are your heroes?

Quick list: Jesus (of course); my wife Wendy; Jack­ie Pullinger; David Ruis; A.W. Toz­er; W.C. Ketch­er­side; Fenelon; Gand­hi; Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.; Crissy Brooks (the founder of MIKA); and a few oth­er peo­ple you wouldn’t know but who inspire me dai­ly to be more like Jesus.

What do you feel is a person’s pur­pose on this plan­et?

I sup­pose I’d say a person’s pur­pose on this plan­et is to know God and His Son by dai­ly sur­ren­der of our will to His per­fect will.

* * * *

Kei­th Giles reg­u­lar­ly write on his subversive1 blog. His books can be found on LuLu and Ama­zon.  For Paci­fist Fight Club site infor­ma­tion and upcom­ing events, check out the offi­cial blog.

¶ Despatched on Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 6:04 pm and sorted in Interviews. ¶ { ReTweet }

One Response

ValAugust 30th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

This is my first time to your site Antho­ny. Great inter­view! I can attest to Keith’s per­spec­tive on the state of the Church and it’s long time depen­dence on run­ning things like a busi­ness instead of func­tion­ing as a fam­i­ly and the Bride of Christ. I have also vis­it­ed Kei­th and Wendy’s home for one of their church gath­er­ings. The love and open­ness dis­played by those there was just won­der­ful. 🙂

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