Fragments of a life
Challenging Church

Looking back 20-years (from 2002)

  Back to Spaniard in the Works ( Part One)
Challenges for the Church (Soul Searching tract 1983-90)


"...receive with meekness the engrafted (planted) word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers (performers or specifically poets) of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving  yourselves.  For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer (performer or poet), they are like unto a person looking at themselves in a mirror who go away, and immediately forgets what they look like."      - James 1:21-24

More quotes


  Just in Time for the End of the World
  So Which Truth Sets You Free?
  Beyond Urban Myths
  The Tyranny of Religion
  The Kingdom of Here & Now
  Creating My Own Heresies
  Beyond the Club Mentality
  A Smorgasbord to Chose From

Just in Time for the End of the World

Making that decision to reach out to Christ for guidance and direction had somehow put me on the other side of an invisible dividing line. I felt like an alien in a strange land - the people were unlike those I had been used to associating with and their language certainly  seemed to be from another time.

Nevertheless I  was hungry for personal growth and eager to learn and understand the implications of being a Christian. 

I read and re-read the Bible and attended every church service and seminar, every ‘home group’ and gathering that was on offering. I sold my extensive music collection and used the money to buy teaching tapes and books.

In the early 80s there was a lot of fear propagated by ‘end time’ doomsayers who would come through town making the fulfillment of Bible prophecy seem as close as tomorrow’s headlines. 

Many people were literally scared into the 'Kingdom'. I already had a propensity for conspiracy theories and eagerly borrowed or purchased everything I could on the subject of Bible prophecy as it supposedly related to world events. It was as if I had discovered Christianity just in time for the end of the world.

Many of these fears had apparently been around since the time of Christ himself and at difficult times in history there were always doomsayers talking about the return of the Lord in judgment. 

But the planets were aligning, the computer in Brussels was ready to appropriate a special number for everyone on the planet, Henry Kissinger was being groomed to head the new global government and the Pope the world church. The gullible were ready to believe every new theory.

So Which Truth Sets You Free?

As I confronted  and probed teachers and preachers for corroborating facts, often suggesting there may be other interpretations, my genuine journalistic inquiries were often dismissed. 

It seemed I was either trying to intellectualise, spiritualise or undermine these teachers who were having such an impact on the congregation.

Rather than getting on with the art of being Christ-like, so many people were entranced by end-time teaching, fearful of challenging the pulpit. There was an increasing concern about the rise of antichrist and whether credit cards and barcodes were the forerunner of the "mark of the beast" and the 'imminent’ end of the world. 

I caught myself falling into the trap and began exploring these themes in my own poetry, writings and radio programmes as I tried to discern between fact and fiction. I challenged all my friends and acquaintances with my newfound faith and theories about the future of the world. Pretty soon I had scared most of them off.

Beyond Urban Myths

I was helping create an atmosphere of fear with fanciful stories that tickled the ears. However this angle on Christianity popular in the early 80s did little to challenge the inner person. I began to reassess. I looked deeper into the Bible with concordance and reference books at hand and saw that many of the more subtle and inspirational insights were being overshadowed by misguided interpretation.  

Rather than regurgitating the standard evangelical methods (you must repent and be saved!’) I began looking at ways to convey Biblical  truths in a more accessible way to people who wouldn’t normally set foot in a church. The religious language being used in most churches was one of the first barriers I grappled with.

Referencing the Greek and Hebrew language the scriptures were written in, I began to understand the hidden meanings behind certain words. Confidence in my ability to discern the difference between eternal spiritual truths and urban myths began to return.

Much of the Bible is riddled with visions and dreams, symbolism, poetry and imagery to provoke personal revelation. It's not meant to be translated into 20th century news speak or give us precise instructions for exiting the planet as God destroys his creation in a cosmic tantrum. 

God is not waiting like some angry father with a big stick for us to screw up so he can get heavy. Rather than waiting to rain down fire and brimstone on us he wants shower us with an amazing outpouring of love, forgiveness and healing. 

The Book of Revelation, for example not only a warning to the churches and the world it is about the apocalypse (apokalupsis) or unveiling of (the character and presence of ) Jesus Christ.

The Tyranny of Religion

The Gospel stories and parables - the  'good news' - contains the keys to unlocking us from the tyranny of religion and legalism. Jesus the Christ (the anointed saviour or healer) came to set us free from man-made traditions, restore ancient truths, and explain the universal spiritual principals which govern the planet and our lives.

It is an amazing privilege to be guided and led by the Holy Spirit (the breath or essence of God) along the pathway shown by the son of God, 'the Word become flesh' . Instead of accepting the wonderful gift of liberty, love and grace offered as 'Christ is revealed in us' many so-called believers remain trapped in crushing legalism under the law .

Many church hierarchies are too concerned that new converts dress the same as them, avoid devilish rock music, and turn up like a sanitised herd on time for Sunday morning services. 

Rather than encouraging people to heal and grow as individuals and use their gifts in the church and in the marketplace, the focus seemed to be on telling the congregation they're unworthy, worthless worms who should unquestioningly pay their tithes and take everything the pastor says as gospel truth.

The Kingdom of Here & Now

I couldn’t understand why so many people - even successful businessmen and women who wouldn't stand for this kind of dumbing down in the marketplace - would become so meek in a church situation. 

There's still today a strong belief that as soon as things get too heavy 'down here' Christians will be whisked away to heaven or  "raptured" (a misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:51,52, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) to be with Jesus. 

So why would God raise up a people of faith who’re supposed to make a difference in the world if they were all going to disappear to some other heavenly dimension when times get tough? I could never understand that one.

Behind the original premise though is a great mystery, again about spiritual transformation. Increasingly it seemed to me the Kingdom of God starts right here and is not "pie in the sky in the sweet by and by" as one friend so aptly puts it.

The preachers and pastors I approached with my questions and interpretations did not appreciate being challenged in these areas. So I began to study long and hard and produced a series of tracts and radio programmes including the Soul Searching series, which was played on several stations over a number of years.

  Creating My Own Heresies

Among my tracts and unpublished books was a study on Bible Numerics produced after friends began asking me: ‘How do you know the Bible is true?’. Another took a fresh look at the mark of the beast and the ominous number 666. As I had come from a background where there was strong interest in the occult and astrology I soon discovered even this area was covered off in the Bible and it wasn’t all condemning of anyone who read the astrology columns in the local newspaper. There seemed to be a much deeper origin that fascinated me. Could it be the Gospel was written in the Stars?


  Beyond the Club Mentality

My experience of churches is not all negative. During my journey I have experienced wonderful teaching, healing and encouragement and gained a deeper understanding of the world changing truths that are Christ’s legacy.

My most enjoyable times continue to be meeting in small groups with likeminded people who support each other and explore biblical and life truths in an intimate non-threatening environment. 

However, I remain frustrated at the "club" mentality that pervades our churches and suggests we should be there every Sunday morning and evening even if we’re bored to tears.

I believe God has allowed a smorgasbord of different kinds of churches and intimate groups to spring up so that everyone is catered to. We’re not all going to be happy sitting in a stuffy environment where everyone wears suits and dares not sneeze, or where the pastor acts like a dictator rather than the shepherd (spiritual guide and mentor)  they are meant to be.

Some people may not be comfortable in a church where there’s a loud rock band leading worship or where the preacher encourages participation or the operation of the gifts of prophesy, healing and words of knowledge (all of which were present in the original church). 

There are many places between and outside of those extreme descriptions. If you are interested go check it out and don’t settle until you have found a place where you are being inspired and made to feel welcome and part of what is going on.

  A Smorgasbord to Chose From

During the 20-something years I have been a Christian I have slipped in and out of ‘sin’ (an ancient archery term meaning missing the mark). I have associated with many so-called sinners, drunk too much alcohol, smoked too much dope and accepted too many guilt trips. 

I have blown it badly. I became so involved in my work that my family and relationships suffered. I was made redundant twice, ripped off for thousands of dollars and faced many personal crises including separation and divorce.  I became depressed, shut myself away from friends including Christians thinking I could deal with everything myself. But I couldn't. I needed a family of friends to support me in my difficult times and to get back to my spiritual roots rather than languishing in isolation communicating only via computer.

This CD Cleaning out the Garage has been cathartic  as I underwent massive changes in my life, literally dumping years of unwanted stuff in the inorganic waste bin and re-evaluating my spiritual, mental and physical life.

I never was perfect but each time I fell I found grace and guidance. As I sought God and read the Bible I found renewal, hope and a reason to keep moving and growing. It’s been a rugged road but most of the diversions down side roads and swampy areas have been the result of my own bad decisions, or because I needed to learn another lesson. 

I never lost faith, God always came through. Sometimes it’s in answer to prayers, as the old saying goes, that have ‘more groans in them than words’ – Keith Newman 2002

    See Heart Restoration Clues?
  So You Think This Is It?
Chapel Perilous    Get Up 'N Gone    Prodigal
Zeros & ones in love
  Whodunit?   Back to Garage Door   Keith Who?
"Do not be conformed to this world (this age) and its superficial customs, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God," - Romans 12:2 
Backgrounder Garage CD(lyrics & music )
   Poetry Book
(The new electronic book 2001)