Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 140: Rye, Texas--85 miles from Port Arthur

I was sitting on an olive-colored couch, in the lobby of an extravagantly-furnished church, surrounded by three preachers.

I'd come to the church, as I often do, to ask for a patch of grass to set up my tent. The youth minister I first spoke with said I could, and that I should feel free to charge up my electronics in the lobby until they had to lock down the church after their Wednesday night service. He asked why I was hiking the pipeline. I sensed that he was one of those open-minded progressive-thinking churchmen, so I said, "Well, I guess I'm one of those whacko environmentalists."

Noting that we were in conservative oil country, he said, "Just don't tell our church members that. Say you're just going on a walk or something."

His partner, Pastor James -- a middle-aged, lean-bodied preacher looking dapper in his pastel dress shirt, tie, and trousers -- came up to me, introduced himself, and asked, "Has anyone on your journey talked to you about Jesus?"

"Of course," I said, surprised with my aplomb and with how fluidly the lie exited my mouth.

While I've interacted with countless preachers and practitioners over the past five months, no one, on this trip, up until this point, had attempted to indoctrinate me. In my life before the trip, though, I'd been preached to many times, and because I did not want to be preached to again, I thought I'd try to out-maneuver the pastor and dodge having to listen to what would most certainly be an agonizing monologue. But when he asked, "What do you think it takes to get into heaven?" I knew there was no way out.

"Well, I don't have a denomination," I said. "But I believe in the church of caring for our fellow man and Mother Earth."

"But have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?" he asked.

"No, but I have a Gideon Bible," I said, pulling out the tiny Bible, given to me in Kansas, as if it was a magical amulet that would stun him into silence.

"And have you read it?" he asked.

"No," I said, feeling the snare tighten around my ankle. "But my mother's Catholic. And I was baptized Catholic."

"But you don't go to church?"

"No... I guess I don't." Short of lying -- and boasting that I was in fact in the Country Club of the Saved -- I had no other way out.

Pastor James stared more than he looked. He pointed his gaze toward my eyes, but not into them; he looked at my eyes as if they were a pair of elbows. He was more machine than man, more dry doctrine than deliberate thought, more steel than soul. He had the sort of half-dead stare that brings to mind a prisoner in solitary confinement or a POW camp survivor: He had the look of a man who'd lost his humanity.

"Haven't read the Bible. Doesn't go to church," he muttered, listing my sins. His suspicions confirmed, he was clearly becoming excited. He looked like he was ready to snap the elastic of his underwear and stick something inside of me. He leant his head back, puffed out his chest, and rubbed his chin with two fingers before blitzkrieging me with the Word. He explained that we're all sinners, that Jesus died for our sins, and that I needed to accept Jesus as my personal savior to get into heaven.

I was slightly embarrassed for him. Two other preachers were standing around me, and I thought they might be thinking, "Oh boy, here goes crazy Pastor James again." But I could see that they -- nodding their heads in assent and chiming in with "Amens" -- were getting just as much enjoyment as Pastor James.

The whole idea of someone dying for my sins, I thought, does absolutely nothing for me. If I killed or committed adultery or did something undeniably bad, what difference does it make if someone else died for these sins? How does dying for my sin and my future sins, make my sins any more forgivable? Why does this crazy story work for so many people? And what's all this obsession with sinning? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't sin. I drink to be merry, I lie for the sake of social harmony, and I lust because I'm stuck with a 29-year-old male's body. I don't feel guilty for any of the above, as they aren't wrong, and when I do something wrong, my conscience catches it and I do my best to not do it again.

I didn't get the sense that Pastor James was preaching to me out of a sense of compassion, or that he truly cared about the fate of my soul. Rather, converting me was only a sort of game for him to play. In his church, sitting on his couch, in my dusty clothes, he did not see me as his equal, but as someone he could wield power over. I was little more than sport to him.

I sat there quietly, politely listening, while thinking to myself, "I'm smarter than all you fools." I knew that Pastor James, so blinded by his faith, would never have an intellectual discussion for the rest of his life.

I should point out, though, that I've been quite touched by the help I've received from Christians all along my path. And I find that almost all of them are moved to help, not because they wish to convert me, but because they find joy in helping. I was once a person who would scoff at the idea of becoming Christian, and while I will never become a "believer," because of the countless kindnesses I've received, I've started to think it might be possible, one day -- if I ever settled down -- to join a progressive, gays-allowed, we-interpret-the-Bible-metaphorically, let's-not-rape-the-earth church, if just to embrace the sense of community and heighten my sense of charity that these churches so admirably do.

"Well, I have lots of time to think on my walk," I said to Pastor James, hoping that that would end the conversation, as he could then rest assured that he'd planted a seed of thought in my head, and that I'd be mulling over his holy words of wisdom on my long walk. But all he heard was "I have lots of time."

"But you don't have lots of time!" he said. "None of us know God's plan." Service was about to start, so he plucked a pamphlet from a shelf titled "Do you know for certain that you have ETERNAL LIFE?" handing it to me with a look on his face that seemed to say, "If I didn't get through to him, this will."


Storms and I continued our southward walk across Texas. We slept in church parsonages, on church lawns, and when we couldn't find any churches, we knocked on doors asking for advice about where to camp, hoping that a homeowner would offer his or her lawn.

The weather had turned moist and sticky. The pine forest turned into a viny jungle, full of chirping birdsong and the choral hum of insect kingdoms. Salamanders kept warm atop guardrails and the grassy roadsides were strewn with the carcasses of wild pigs, rat-tailed opossums, and the brittle shells of armadillos. Turkey vultures, in great flocks, hovered over the road, seeking their next mangled feast.

We knocked on the door of a small home and asked a guy named Barney if there was a church nearby. Before we could explain who we were, what we were doing, and where we were going, he offered his guest house to us.

Barney was a guitarist in a gospel band who had some rather progressive views on immigration, perhaps because he'd raised two Mexican-born boys who were taken away from him when they were in their 40's. But that was the end of his progressivism. After he'd invited us into his home for milk and chocolate cake, he went on an unprovoked rant about how the United States was becoming the Soviet Union, calling Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein "road whores," and how it was only a matter of time before we'd, like all other countries with strong gun control laws, become a dictatorial state. Having had such conversations with old cranky white guys 100 times on this trip already, I made an excuse to leave, abandoning poor Storms and leaving him alone with Barney.

Barney would tell us later that he was in support of the pipeline. "Anything that can give a man a job is good to me," he said.

Jobs, Jobs, JOBS!

This is all I hear wherever I go. Everything that creates jobs must be good!

First of all, few realize the pipeline won't create that many jobs. As I've reported before, according to an independent study by Cornell University, there will probably be less than 4,000 jobs created, and almost all of those jobs will be temporary. The State Department estimates that there will be as few as 20 permanent jobs!

Apart from aiding and abetting the destruction of the earth and its climate, the requirements of working on the pipeline and in the oil fields bring into question just how "good" these jobs really are. While the pipeliners are reputedly paid well, they have to live in motels or trailer parks for months on end, far from their families. And from what I saw, Fort McMurray, Alberta -- where the oilmen of the Tar Sands live -- is no Norman Rockwell painting. There, men aren't walking to work in hard hats each morning carrying lunch boxes and coming home to hugs and kisses from their children each night. Most all of the workers in Fort McMurray have left their families, and between the long hours, the morally-ambiguous nature of their job, and the utter absence of spirituality and civic engagement in their lives, many turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, and prostitution. And it's obvious that many of them aren't putting their hard-earned dollars in cookie jars for rainy days, but toward the abovementioned fleeting enjoyments, or in brand new fuel-inefficient trucks set atop obscenely giant wheels.

I've begun to think that man will not morally object to any job -- whether the job requires that he kill puppies, make land mines, or poison his neighbor's water -- if it means he'll get a paycheck to feed and shelter his family. And I say this half-demoralized and half-full of pride. The North American conscience seems designed to very admirably care for self and family, but rare is he whose conscience is piqued by the sufferings of dwindling species, of a warming planet, and of the fate of generations to come. Unburdened by such abstract thoughts, we wish for little more than a fridge full of food, a big truck, and a warm home, and we think it nonsensical -- if we think of it at all -- to worry about a future we can never really predict, and certainly will never see. And while this seems all very shortsighted, it is not without sense.


But I never say anything like this to Barney or any of them. They're all older than me, and because they're old and I'm young, they assume they know more. And because I talk little, they think I know little, but because they talk much, I know they don't know much. Each speaks to me as if they are doing me some great service, as if they are imparting sagely wisdom from ancient texts. But more often than not, I see that they are propagandized, only regurgitating rumors they heard at the local cafe or half-remembered falsehoods they saw on the TV. They talk in absolutes, speak expertly on every issue, and rarely if ever will you hear one say, "Well, I guess I don't know much about that." They aren't free-thinking men, but stone tablets onto which dogma has etched its wicked creed.

When I started this trip, I wondered if I, perhaps, had been living too much in a bubble. Perhaps I'd been reading to many New York Times articles, perhaps I'd put too much faith in peer-reviewed science, and perhaps -- surrounded by open-minded, well-educated, progressives -- I might somehow be missing out on the bigger picture. Perhaps if I went out to The Heartland, I'd tap into the wisdom of the prairie and the farmers who work it. Maybe they knew the land and skies and environment in ways we suburbanites and city-dwellers don't. Maybe, I'd find, that they had good reason to deny manmade climate change.

But not one person has said anything even halfway intelligible when denying global warming. None have read books or articles on the issue, and they can't even begin to understand how peer-reviewed science works. They fashion themselves as forward-thinking skeptics; they see themselves as too free-willed and too independent of spirit to be duped into accepting something that someone else says to be true, regardless if that "someone else" is an accomplished and well-trained scientist part of an astonishing 97 percent consensus that has conclusively linked greenhouse gas emissions to climate change. But these skeptics are only selectively skeptical. They think themselves enlightened for resisting all this new proof and for remaining steadfast in not believing or trusting in anything someone else says. But it is a false enlightenment to only accept ideas that align with one's worldview while rejecting those that don't.

I'd found myself, on this trip, reading a number of Civil War biographies. I read Horwitz's Midnight Rising, about John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry; Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, about Lincoln and his cabinet; and Jean Edward Smith's biography on Ulysses S. Grant. It didn't occur to me until recently that I might have been drawn to the history of the Civil War because of its similarities with our current climate change crisis.

Like the pre-Civil War era, we have one half of the country who's supportive of a cruel and unjust institution -- or, in our case, a clearly destructive and unsustainable way of life -- and the other half (though abolitionists weren't quite "half" the country) who find something morally reprehensible in our fossil fuel free-for-alls and their larger environmental implications. And just as we, today, view the supporters of slavery as backwards, simple-minded -- even quaint -- future generations may look upon these deniers with a mix of disbelief, scorn, and amusement. But perhaps it's not so simple. Most deniers are old, and as one forward-thinking pastor explained to me, people just have a hard time believing something they haven't experienced in their lives. Lincoln, in one of those moments of great magnanimity that he was known for, said,

[The Southerners] are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up... I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself.

Having lived in a world run on coal, gas, and oil that, up until recently, has caused little perceivable damage, perhaps we should sympathize with the deniers to some degree. As a young person who is unsettled in life, it's easy for me to accept the idea of "change"--even bold change. But for them, their whole lives are built around the consumption of fossil fuels, and, in a way, it seems almost natural to resist change and insist that climate change is untrue and our use of fossil fuels, harmless. If I was in their shoes, perhaps I'd act similarly.


Storms and I made it to the town of Wells. He was planning on heading back home to his wife and kid in Austin the next day, so he was eager to talk with more landowners who had something to say about the XL, since he was thinking about writing an article about the pipe and our hike. Reverend David at the Methodist Church, who very kindly let us spend the night at his home, told us he knew a guy (fake name "Bobby") who had a lot to say on the XL, and that this guy had special knowledge of protestors being paid.

Bobby was a bulky guy, gray haired, probably in his early 50's, who was wearing a camo jacket and blue jeans. Reverend David introduced me as a writer gathering stories on the pipeline, who's sort of against it. Bobby, looking at my beard and slightly ragged clothing, saw in me the very protestors who staged demonstrations near his land. Storms asked about how he knew they were paid. Bobby said he asked the protestors how they paid for their food and housing, and because they couldn't offer any clear answers, he automatically presumed they were "paid protestors" who some nebulous environmental network hires to send to the environmental catastrophe du jour. Unsurprisingly, that was the extent of Bobby's "evidence," and he didn't seem capable of distinguishing being supported as a protestor and being paid as one.

"Now let me ask you this!" he exclaimed, scowling, pointing his finger at my face. "Do you know how much a gallon of gasoline costs in Saudi Arabia?"

"No," I said.

"You don't!" he hurrumphed. "That's interesting."

"Do you know what a liter is?" he asked.

Never before had someone spoken to me so condescendingly. I was tired of avoiding conflict, avoiding the topic of climate change, avoiding telling the truth to these fools. My only thought: Bring it on, bitch! I'm taking this conversation all the way to climate change.

"Yeah, I know what a liter is," I said.

"Well a liter of gasoline in Saudi Arabia costs 16 cents."

"Yeah, but we don't get this oil," I said. "Or at least we don't get all of it. Valero, the refining company, which gets 20 percent of the Keystone XL oil, has stated that they're going to export it to nations overseas."

"Valero is one of the few refiners in the country," he said, "that gets its oil from America and sells its oil to Americans."

"Well, I can't tell you the history of Valero, but I can tell you they aren't selling that oil to America. The pipe won't do anything to lower gas prices."

Reverend David, seeing that things were heating up, interrupted to say that we had to head back to his house because dinner was ready. Storms, who also seemed to want to avoid conflict, tried to steer the conversation down a more peaceful path.

But Bobby jumped in, pointing at my face again. "What do these protestors care about whether this pipe goes through this or that person's land?!"

"Well, for them, it's not a local issue. It's a global one."

I was about to bring up global warming, which I knew would have enraged Bobby, but Reverend David got up and began to nudge us out of Bobby's house.

The next day, as we began our walk south again, I thought about all the things I could have said to Bobby, and how much more persuasive I could have been. I supposed it didn't matter, though: Bobby wasn't going to change his mind no matter how much evidence was put under his nose, as he'll never be convinced of something he doesn't wish to believe. The battle over climate change, I thought, like the battle over civil rights, will not be won by out-facting or out-moraling the other side, but by passing the torch of reason down to the generations to come, who will replace and laugh at us all.

Pastor Shane and family in the town of Providence fed me supper and let me set up my tent behind their church.
View from Rainbow Baptist Church in Rye, TX.



Anonymous said...

"He looked like he was ready to snap the elastic of his underwear and stick something inside of me."

Wow, you summed up so much in that description of the Pastor.

Anonymous said...

Peabody Pete says :

I cannot resist. Thank you Ken for suffering the fools along this road you chose to walk and reporting the same, both good and bad. There are many of us reading your blog, who witness the same insanity coming from our fellow human beings all day and every day of the world. All we can do is shake our collective head and know that someday...we WILL ALL be saved from the craziness of other human beings, when the ultimate source of our existence, the Natural World, will bring us all to our knees, whether we BELIEVE it or not. Mother Nature is bigger than any of us.

In the end, the land will remain. The rocks and water will be here forever. My house might be gone, but the flowing creek and the rolling hills around my place will exist just as they have been for the last 10,000 years and as long as the Earth continues to spin on its axis. Maybe the biosphere will survive in some form...maybe a few humans will survive...but, in general, the good and the bad will go down together. Some will know where our end came from but many will not.

I stopped carrying the world on my back many years ago. We need the exuberance of youth to try to carry the day. Thank you for sticking your neck out there to get the real story.

Milton said...

Hey Ken,

I just wanted to say that I have been following your blog. Very insightful reflections on your life on the road. Hope you continue to have more exciting adventures and conversations with different folks. It will be interesting to see what journeys you might have in the future.

Love & Peace,


Michael said...

Hi Ken,

I just got back from a weekend Catholic retreat in Farmington, CT called the Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center. It was generously offered to me and all other takers for free instead of the $275 per person.

I think the Catholic Church is becoming the progressive church you mention. They had many different progressive speakers. A talk by 90 year old Father John Pesci about Vatican 2 which stressed not a hierarchical church but one of change based on carefully considered and peer reviewed individual conscious.

They also showed the movie "I Am" by Tom Shadyack which promotes everything you say about over-consumption, the environment and much more. The movie explains in a scientific way how the timing of your encounter with Pastor James and my comment might be connected. Of course, the next morning I overheard one of the retreatants say he walked out the movie because it was communist.

This is my kind of place!!

Anonymous said...


You should be a carpenter, you can definitely hit the nail on the head. I applaud your actions, efforts and thoughts. I know these folks you speak of metaphorically, I live in Oklahoma.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
I've been following your blog since about day 14 or so and have a great deal of admiration for your purpose in taking this walk.

I've been absolutely amazed and fascinated with your posts. I've also been sending a little positive energy out to The Universe in hopes that you make it to Port Arthur healthy and in one piece as I've read along.

This post kinda got to me. The "pointing his finger at me" of the preacher and "do you have a personal relationship with Jesus" fear mongering angers me.

I consider myself a person of faith. I have a concept of God similar to many of the founders of this country (the U.S. for international readers is what I'm referring to) as a Deist. My practice is based on Buddhist teachings and my spiritual community is at a local Unitarian Universalist Church.

I would be remiss if I didn't recommend to you that perhaps a UU Church might be a good fit for you or perhaps the UCC (United Church of Christ) Church should you decide spiritual community is something from which you would benefit.

May Providence shine on you the rest of your walk.

Unknown said...


If you are open to criticism from a reader, please consider this. Lighten up with the ultra liberal rants. There is a time and place for those, like, perhaps, in a blog that discusses politics, religion, or liberalism as a whole. Or like your friends blog that that discusses whatever happen to be going on at the Abbey.

Go on a used car lot and someone will try to sell you a car. Go onto Best Buy and someone will try to sell you electronics. Go into a church lobby and get the message.

This appears to be a blog dealing with a topic of importance to all our earths inhabitants. Don't cloud your message by touching on things that offend roughly half of the population. Referring to religious believers as fools will do just that.

I know your feelings about expressing truth and honesty in your writing. Do so, but remember to guard your message when trying to effect change on more singular topics of importance. Ask yourself, do I need to be right, or do I need to be effective?

What you are trying to do with your effort here is good and right and true. You need to be all inclusive of your target audience or you will fail in the end. Think Romney and his 47% comment.

I am a conservative Christian for the record, and not in the traditional sense. I want to see you succeed here. Please take my advice for what it is.

Las Vegas.

Anonymous said...

"And I find that almost all of them are moved to help, not because they wish to convert me, but because they find joy in helping..."

I loved this entire paragraph so much. To me, that joy is something worth believing in. (But then, I guess you're preaching to my already open-minded choir.)

Keep up the good work! Seems a new journey is just beginning for you.

Ken said...

Steve H—This blog, for better or worse, has no central message. If it’s anything, it’s an examination of myself, my impressions, my thoughts, etc., and if that takes me on “ultra-liberal rants” then so be it. (What was so ultra-liberal about this entry anyway? It’s not ultra-liberal to question and criticize grown men who were trying to force some ludicrous belief of a sandaled afterlife on me; that’s actually the opposite of ideology because that sort of skepticism is rooted in rational thought.) I am not a politician or policy maker and don’t wish to waste my time mincing words, censoring myself, and pulling punches. That’s no fun, it would make having a blog a bore, and, anyway, it’s honesty and openness that make writing readable, so if I tried to appease half my audience, I’d probably lose the other half. In any case, I gather that you’ve offered your advice with my wellbeing in mind, so I appreciate that, even if I disagree.

WRC05 Blog said...

I discovered your tale (I'm sure like many others) in the recent NY Times abridged version of your book. What I have to say to you: I've never seen someone who so well lived and practiced my own personal tenets. I do what I can, but are walking the line!
Your most recent journey began in my first home--born and raised in Denver-- and ended in my second--went to undergrad in Houston--so I got roped into reading your blog of the journey both out of interest in the XL pipeline and its relation to the places I've been.
Anyway, I'm sure you now have your share of groupie fans, and I am cautious in handing out my laurels, but you can safely add one more to your count!
Did you find Texans organized against the pipeline as much as other states?
Keep up the journey!

Anonymous said...


It appears I have misread your intent. The "Pipe Dreams" portion of your blog, whether you realize it or not, does seem to have a central message. It seems to center around environmental awareness and how the Keystone effects the lives of people on a personal and very real level. You have great style and voice to your writing. You convey your unintended non-central message very powerfully. Your anecdotal observations along the way made it a great read. You have a talent that can motivate a lot of people to get up off the couch and act on topics like this. It is a gift that I hope you understand and are aware of. I for one was truly touched by your observations of the tar sands.

I was wrong to conclude that you were trying to accomplish something here. If I am to understand that this journey was really all about you and your impressions and thoughts, you're right, I shouldn't give a flying crap about what you put out there. You're just a guy meandering around the U.S. recording your musings. You're entitled to your thoughts after all.

On that note, "ultra-liberal rant" was maybe the wrong term. Being that I thought you were trying to contribute to the dialogue and awareness with regard to the environment and the Keystone, I thought I would give some unsolicited criticism from a 50 something to a 20 something. If you weren't trying to effect change with your writing, there was really no sense in trying to be all-inclusive in your target audience and thus no need for thoughtful restraint. Again, my bad.

Good luck in your wandering. I'll keep an eye out for your new book. Congratulations on that.

Steve H.

jesse g said...

Well written stuff! In particular, I love your van episodes. I was a little saddened by this article though. It sounds like these "fools" are the people who you always go to first for a place to stay. Bottom line is that you came to them. Why? Because, even if they are not perfect people, you know they believe they are suppose to share with and help strangers. I have some weird people help me that I strongly disagree with but bottom line is they, for right or wrong reasons, showed me beauty in their own way when i was in need. I can't imagine publicly mocking them behind their backs afterward. How does this make you a better person then them? Perhaps a corporate motel would be better suited for you. At least you don't have to worry about hypocrisy and foolishness of being helped.

Ken said...

Jesse: You say, “It sounds like these "fools" are the people who you always go to first for a place to stay.”

That’s inaccurate. I interacted with a lot of churches, religious leaders, and Christians on my hike. None were “fools” except these guys. Just because I’m mocking these Christians, doesn’t mean I mock all Christians. A more careful reading of my journey, and this post in particular, would make that clear to you.

You say, “I can't imagine publicly mocking them behind their backs afterward.”

I don’t publicly mock them, as I’ve changed their names. This encounter doesn’t even take place in Texas; it happened in Oklahoma at a church I won’t name. So no individual’s feelings have been hurt.

Besides, the whole point of writing, blogging, whatever, is to share one’s experiences in a truthful, honest, open manner. No one – writer and reader alike – gains anything from censored, sanitized, Disney-ified writing in which our darker, more unpleasant thoughts are filtered out, in which reality is skewed and distorted into something make-believe. What you get from me is honesty and openness, and if that comes in the form of me expressing a sense of superiority over someone else – whether physically, morally, or mentally – so be it. Feeling a sense of superiority over someone else, or mocking them (whether inwardly or outwardly), for that matter, is something that pretty much everybody experiences on a daily basis. It’s just something we hide and don’t admit. The only difference between me and the next guy is, I’m honest about it. I think it’s fair to disagree with my thoughts and conclusions, but the act of expressing such thoughts should go un-criticized.

Casey White said...


You touched briefly on a subject that is quite an issue in today's society.

"The North American conscience seems designed to very admirably care for self and family, but rare is he whose conscience is piqued by the sufferings of dwindling species, of a warming planet, and of the fate of generations to come. Unburdened by such abstract thoughts, we wish for little more than a fridge full of food, a big truck, and a warm home, and we think it nonsensical -- if we think of it at all -- to worry about a future we can never really predict, and certainly will never see. And while this seems all very shortsighted, it is not without sense."

We, as Americans, need to redefine the word "family."

"Family" needs to mean more than blood, more than people in a house or relatives you see on the holidays. "Family" must mean us. Humans. In addition to this worldly view of family, it must go a step further. You speak of belonging to a faith in Man and Mother Earth. "Family," I believe, must pertain to all that is living. It should be a compassion for the land, the sea, and all who inhabit it. If we strive to protect and care for a worldly view of "family" as much as we do our conventional families, I can only imagine what that world would look like.


Casey White

Marianna said...

I suggest the writtings of Soren Kierkegaard, he was a Danish theologian. Because of your love of books, I really think you will enjoy his writing style and ideas.
Some of my favorite by him; "Either/Or" and "The sickness unto death". The latter I believe can be found free to read online.

Marianna said...

As I opened the Bible this morning, I was reminded of you.
This is what Jesus said concerning sin and salvation;

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him may not perish, but have life everlasting.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him may be saved.
The one believing into Him is not condemned, but the one not believing is condemned already, because he has not believed into the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved more the darkness than the light; because their deeds were evil.
For everyone practicing evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that does truth, comes to the light, that his deeds be made manifest, that they are wrought in God". -John 3:16-21)

Concerning the man preaching to you, Jesus commanded His disciples to "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
"And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come". - Jesus (Mathew 24:14)

And concerning sin,
You said that you do not believe that you sin. Scripture says; "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"
And; "If we say we are without sin, we DECEIVE OURSELVES, and the truth is not in us".
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." ( 1 John 1:8-10)

And "God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom He has appointed, and given assurance to all men, by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-32)

"I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through Me" -Jesus (John 14:6)

"Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him. And they also which pierced Him, and all the nations of the earth shall wait because of Him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7)