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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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African Church Leader Warns of `Disease' of Pentecostalism (RNS)

It's one thing to want to be on God's side, quite another to assume that God
is on my side.

Prayer can be dangerous.

In 1954 as a freshman at Baylor studying for the Baptist ministry, the
air-conditioning and the stillness drew me often to the prayer chapel in the
Tidwell Bible Building.  Few came there, perhaps because they even had
kneelers, if memory serves me well, and those would certainly have been
considered too 'catholic' or Episcopal.   Yet one other guy, named 'Don,'
was there every time I went, and he often prostrated himself on the floor
and moaned a lot.  He'd be there when I arrived; he'd be there when I left
and hour or so later.

To help with his education expenses, Don worked in the student cafeteria.
One day we saw him with what could no longer be taken as a few days extra
growth, but clearly a new beard,  a very ugly new beard.  In 1954, in
Baptist country, no one grew beards. Don's was splotchy, with patches of no
growth at all, and patches of heavy growth, all very visible with his raven
black hair. One of the 'co-eds' (as women were known in those days) ahead of
me in the line for dinner asked Don why he was growing it.  "God told me
to," he replied.

That set a buzz all over campus, as Don apparently made the same point to
many.  The next day I decided to stay next to the chapel after I had
finished my own prayers, and wait for Don to finish.  I knew he had to pass
by me on his way to work at the cafeteria.  When he did, I asked him  "How
did God tell you?"

"Well, I made a special deal with God," Don replied, clearly pleased to
share his discovery with someone who had spent many hours praying in the
same room with him.   He continued,  "Until recently, every time I asked God
to take sin out of my life, I found myself continuing to sin, especially
with evil thoughts and desires.  So I told God that I was giving Him my
mind, as a complete surrender.  I can't tell you the relief I felt.  No
longer were my thoughts and actions mine.  I let God put his thoughts there,
and tell me what to do.  I promised to be absolutely obedient."

"But how did God tell you to grow a beard?" I asked.

"I had never even thought of growing a beard," Don replied, "but one day
after giving God my mind, I was walking to work and an image of myself with
a beard came into my head.  'Where did this image come from?' I wondered.
And then I realized God had put it there.  And although I never wanted a
beard and don't even like the way mine looks, I am growing one to be totally
obedient to God."

Of course God has never promised to any of us to take responsibility for our
minds, or for our actions.  They're our responsibility, not God's.

Some psychology majors soon mentioned Don in some of their classes, and the
Head of the Psychology Department had Don sent to a mental hospital for
evaluation.   The last I heard of him, ten years later, he was still in a
mental hospital, diagnosed as schizophrenic.

All the time I knew Don, I never prostrated myself in the chapel, but I
confess I did so when I was alone in my room.  I would love to have given my
mind to God.  I'm glad God does not want to take it.

Prayer is so dangerous that often I feel the most faithful way that I can
practice it is to shut up and listen, and I must discipline myself to hear
the silence, not to assume that God put into my head whatever fills the

The Book of Common Prayer helps me focus not just on myself and God's love
for me, but on God's love for the whole world, including those whom I find
it difficult to love.

Jesus' formal prayer typically jerks me off my knees and into action, not
about heaven above, but working to make it happen here, not about
forgiveness for my sin, but about my forgiving those who sin against me.
Forever and ever.  Amen.

Newark deputy

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068

-----Original Message-----

African Church Leader Warns of `Disease' of Pentecostalism
     (RNS) The president of the All Africa Council of Churches, a
fellowship of mainline Protestant, Orthodox and indigenous Christians,
said Pentecostalism is a "disease" spreading across Africa, according to
an AACC news release.
     Speaking at the Ecumenical Platform of the World Social Forum in
Nairobi, Kenya, the Rev. Nyansako-ni-Nku seemed to direct his remarks at
a type of Pentecostal prosperity preacher who "gets richer and the
congregation gets poorer."
     The AACC news release also said that Nyansako, who is moderator of
the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, exhorted "mainline churches (to)
wake up to the challenge and provide direction; otherwise many people
will follow these Pentecostal churches."
     Pentecostalism has become an increasingly prominent force in
life, according to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public
Life. The movement's growth has been dramatic since decolonization in
the 1950s and 1960s, according to Pew, rising from 5 percent of the
population in 1970 to 12 percent in 2005.
     Pentecostals play a large role in politics, particularly in Kenya
and Nigeria, and control numerous radio and television stations,
according to Pew.
     Nyansako said mainline pastors at the pulpit are "becoming bashful
and instead of naming the demon which harasses people by name, they are
willing to socialize with the mighty and the powerful to the detriment
of the people who have placed their trust in them."
     The AACC is a fellowship of 169 churches and Christian councils in
39 African nations.
-- Daniel Burke

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