What's an Eclectic? The dictionary defines me as "a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources." An evangelical? A Christian. That's me! Arlene Bridges Samuels
       How did ECLECTIC grow into my life theme? I've enjoyed membership in a tapestry of churches as well as humanitarian outreach in a variety of venues. My book choices range from political, to devotional, to theological, to spy novels, World War I and II history.  I enjoy music from Gregorian chants to jazz to folk to rock & roll. On the mission field, in a cabin on Mercy Ships, also in Switzerland, and in Romania, plus moving  around the United States has ripened my faith with fruit from many good trees. 
   I invite you to walk with me through my articles, anecdotes, commentary, & devotionals during a lifetime of adventures. Woven into a faith- and activist- tapestry, I hope it will enhance your journey to discover the extraordinary beauty and limitless fulfillment of your Christian faith.
     My eclectic journey began as a child. My parents owned one of the few professional float businesses in the USA.  While "Universal Decorators" didn't circle the world furnishing floats for festival parades, the float themes colored my world, for example, with candy houses, little trains, a chariot pulled by swans with festooning reins , American flags, reindeer & Santa's sled. 
     Growing up Southern Baptist gave me a strong foundation teaching me how to sing the great hymns of the church, where to locate books of the Bible, and scripture memory. Presbyterians fed me at a buffet of Protestant theologians and introduced me to  my favorite theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer recognized by Israel as a Righteous Gentile. 
     In The Episcopal Church, I waded into two different streams, one liturgical and the other charismatic. In the "high" Episcopal church, I feasted at the Eucharist each week and navigated the ups and downs of kneeling. In the charismatic Episcopal church, I connected more deeply with the Holy Spirit and experienced joyful worship. My membership in an African American church lifted me up listening to the poetic cadence of prayers,  inspiring sermons, and songs that gave me a glimpse of heaven. 
     During our eight years with Mercy Ships, the world's largest Christian hospital ship, we sailed the seas with a crew from 35 nations-like South Sea Islanders-who introduced us to their lovely, worshipful dances. On the mission field in Romania, my senses delighted in the Romanian Orthodox Church replete with incense and gilded, intricate altars.
     In a non-denominational church with contemporary music, I engaged with believers from varied church backgrounds and joined a small group. In the Church of God, I experienced a Pentecostal setting in a distinctly pro-Israel denomination that displayed both the American and Israeli flags. Now, I belong to a small Anglican church with a strong sense of family and includes liturgy, weekly Eucharist, missions outreach, and acoustic guitars.
     And the ancient bow on my Christian faith: Jewish friends, colleagues, and Hebraic teachers in synagogues, churches, and books have opened an elegant door for me deepening my understanding that Judaism nurtured Christianity in a sacred cradle rich with commandments, festivals, wisdom, poetry, patriarchs, prophets, and Old and New Testaments. Learning more about Jewish culture and Christianity's Jewish roots has given me a more personal  perspective of my Savior, a Jewish Rabbi. I've received an extraordinary gift as a non-Jewish branch grafted into the ancient Jewish olive tree. 

In Essentials Unity. In Non-Essentials Liberty. In All Things Charity.

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