I used to have another blog, one that focused on how I felt and where I could share what I see. After fighting within myself on keeping that side away from this name I feel that, that side of me helps my writing and focus so I am bringing in a new series, I will still do my poetry and fictional stories when I get time but for now this crazy world we are living in needs to be broken down and analysed. Welcome to Stephen Blyse Talks.
Fall from Church
The night was young; I sat at the long table, my wife to my right, a friend opposite me with his wife. Our kids, well, one of mine, played in the play area behind us as we waited for our buzzers to go off. Hunger creeping up on me, I waited impatiently. After all, it was my birthday dinner; technically, my date of birth was the following day, but I would be driving down the south coast of New South Wales to my parent’s place. We were spending my day of getting old traveling to go and pick up my daughter from where she had stayed for a week, sleeping in her dad’s old bedroom, listening to the waves crash at night, and not hearing any cars on the road. Yes, I grew up in a small picturesque town that keeps getting noted on travel sites. Yes, it is beautiful. Now fuck off and leave it alone.
My eyes glanced down at the buzzer, then over to my beer, then back to the buzzer, and back to the beer. I am not a beer drinker, I can drink it, but to me, beer is a kid’s drink for those who can’t afford a real drink, like whiskey. I was driving and, well, I accepted the glass on behalf of my birthday.
My mate wound up his chat about his work and mentions a church pastor that I once was a regular attendant and guitarist in one of the smaller branches. I wasn’t as hungry after he finished talking. Since then, I have done some digging around.
I was raised by a Christian mother and a God of Moses’ father. What does that mean? Well, he believes something created earth and not sure about this whole Jesus thing. I attended church every week unless someone was sick as a kid, I was noisy, and it was the best time to pick a fight with my younger brother. The only time I was quiet was when the small church bought out the guitar to sing songs that are now engraved in my head like a bad Billie Eilish song. I loved the guitar and still do. But starting fights with my brother in the church was just as good. As time rolled on, we moved out of the bustling Sydney western suburb and headed for the coastal town where my mother’s family were from. Unfortunately for my mother, surfing had its claws on me; I wasn’t going to be wasting a Sunday morning sitting on another hard pew when there were waves to catch.
I went from a God-fearing child to not believing He existed. My journey took many turns before I came back to Christ. But I have always remained cautious; I have been in the same room with some influential pastors. With their presence creating awe over the room, I still had my doubts. I could never shake the feeling that the church was nothing more than a business. I knew the way worship music these days are aimed at the female market. Get the wife in the door. Eventually, the husband will come if only here or there.
Whether Christian or Catholic, the Church seems to be breaking down like the walls of Hollywood, only Hollywood is massive, or it feels monumental. Over the years, we have had Leaders collapsing in the limelight, Brian Houston’s father, William or better known as Frank Houston, was busted for sexual assault on children. Joining the ranks of many of the Catholic clergy. Frank was the founder of the Christian Life Centre Church, the church my then-girlfriend now-wife started to attend. The church changed names a few years later, and the CEO of the church led the congregation through many seasons. Anyone could have asked me about that man, and I would have told you he is a good man, a decent man—one to aspire to become like. Through the years, church leaders have come and gone, not just in ours but also in many big pentecostal churches. Last year a Hillsong pastor was found out to be cheating, others suffering from addictions from porn to gambling. But it always seemed that the Catholic church was the leader in pedophilia and sexual assaults.
The words stood in the air, “What?” was my response. The pastor has been charged with sexual assault on a nineteen-year-old girl from eight years ago. My mind flooded with questions.
Is it real?
In this day and age, why did they wait eight years to bring it to an arrest?
He always preached on doing the right thing. How could he do that?
Did his wife know? She had to have known. Is she now playing dumb?
If he did this, what else did he do?
“….His son is taking over the church.”
“That isn’t right, is it?”
“I don’t know.”
So let’s go back to the beginning, shall we, the AOG, or better known as the Assemblies of God has held Frank Houston, his son, and this pastor, two of the three have done something shocking and criminal, It was enough for many I know to jump the bandwagon, others have earlier and due to other undisclosed reasons. So why is it that the sons are the ones to take over from their fallen fathers? Sure we can say they are not like their father, but how often do we say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Wouldn’t it be better to wipe the family out from the reign altogether? That was the issue here, wasn’t it? The power to control situations, take advantage of another person, and keep it hidden for a decent amount of time.
So I’m back to my own beginning, how far does this corruption go, Hollywood, politics, and the supposed houses of God, where can we find room to trust anyone? Where every step reveals another fallen soul, another lost victim to a vicious cycle of pass the reign along. In the end, I guess the question we beg is. How long until all the big shots of pentecostal churches collapse under their own lies.