As Skip was a dreamer, dared to dream about many things, and
inspired that in me, so I now dream while reflecting deeply on the past.
Some former COBU'ers say I need to forget about it all and just go for
all the success I could achieve with all the opportunities for success in
this world while continuing as a Christian of course.  I received that
"take" strongly when meeting with the Allentown old-old timers at a small
reception at Skip's son Zach's house after the buriel.  Many of them have
achieved their college degrees and some multiple degrees.  Some were
great business success stories.   Something however was very sad about
them.  "These men who have turned the world upside down..."  At one time
these brothers and myself turned the world upside down with our zealous
proclaimation of the gospel!  We had 120 fellowships and 720 had gotten
saved in a single week.  Even though these brothers had managed to
survive the COBU carnage and to get their lives humanly together, when
you speak to them there is no longer the great excitement over Jesus, his
love, his power, and his truth that there once was.  When they were there
in the presence of backslidden brethren from that time who were there to
say goodbye to Skip, they were not grieved  to the heart and reaching out
with the opportunity to restore them.  One exception to this, John
Griffith, I must say, was reaching out to Rem Lederer, and there were
other exceptions as well. Many of those exceptions are like dimly burning
wicks, but Jesus keeps them.  They don't call the fellowship, "the group"
derisively and brag about how far they are from that "nonsense".  They
long for the good things God gave us, many of which they have not been
able to find in the churches the've faithfully attended.  There are
really 2 groups among them;  those who have forgotten the fellowship but
now done much  better with their lives, and those who remember, are
grieved to the heart at the ruin of the fellowship, but have resigned
themselves to whatever benefits they could find in the established
church.  Both groups belong to Jesus and both I am sure will be with him.
I am not writing this to condemn any one, but I seek fellowship with
those who weep over the ruin of Joseph.  I seek fellowship with those who
spent years as I did knocking on the door of different churches and
ministries only to be over and over dissappointed because of what I once
had and their view of me that I was only a cult person.  I seek
fellowship with those who have at least somewhat  kept their cultural
identity and their spiritual nationality.  God did tell us many times in
prophecies through Dave Coleman down in Baltimore that he was making us a
nation.  There are nations of the earth and nations of the world. A
nation has a language, a progenator, and a culture.  Maybe we were like
Lichtenstein compared to the larger more powerful nations, but
Lichtenstein is a nation!  Jesus said he would gather all the nations
There are various nations in the Christian world and God has faithful
servants in all of them.  We were becoming a nation and then terrible
things happened and our nation began to die.  Individually, we began to
suffer and for the sake of our lives, God had to call us out, heal us,
and plant us elsewhere.   And I ask, what now is to be done?   Perhaps
you have read the scripture "fatlings and kids shall feed among the
ruins."  Just regard me as one of those fatlings!  The A-town success
club regards me as a nut who refuses to subit myself to true church
authority, won't just forget that messed up "group", and who won't get
about the business of making something humanly successful out of my life.
You must each make your judgments about me and the truth of what I am

Like Skip, my mentor, I dare to dream great things  in God for me and the
motly crew who now fellowship regularly with me.  Yes, there are others.
I meet regularly with former COBU members for prayer and fellowship and
have for the past 11 years.  You know, I do not feel guilty about it!  I
look forward to it and the true strenthening God gives me through it.  I
am not a Bible educated pastor as some have become, but Jesus still lives
in me.  My testimony is that God loves COBU people in the way of Ezekiel
34 and has demonstrated that kind of love richly to us.  He even has a
place where the "COBU stalwarts" who can't be planted elsewhere in the
church can find pasture, healing, and encouragement.  There are some of
them around who need that help.  And I say, "where is the Lord the God of
Skip O'neill?" What do I mean?  Will God again work  mightily through us
in the way he once did when his Spirit was poured out upon us in the
1970's. Remember the story about Elijah's departure and Elisha's request
for Elijah's mantle.  Once the mantle had fallen on him, he went over to
the river, rolled up the mantle, and said, "where is the Lord the God of
Elijah.", and he struck the water with the mantle, and the waters parted
as they had earlier for Elijah and so began the ministry of Elisha which
was in the same power and even same miracles as Elijah.  Is it
presumptuous to believe God will again do great and wonderful things
through us who were from COBU and want to remain together?  Like Skip, I
am a dreamer!  I actually believe God is going to do something wonderful
through us.  He has already been doing something wonderful in us by
healing the multiplicty of wounds and hurts that we received in the house
of our friends, some of which go very deep.  If it is only to see every
last "COBU stalwart" healed and restored, I believe it is worth it
because there are still many in pain and anguish.  Jesus said," I came to
bind up the broken hearted."  May the many broken hearted ones from COBU
who have not yet had their wounds bound and softened with oil know that
their God longs to restore them to full spiritual health.  If God can
heal and restore two of the biggest basket cases in Debbie and Chris
Blaise, he can heal and restore you in every way to what you were in
Christ.  You needn't forget what you once were and bury all the good
things along with the bad.  God will sort them all out for you and
instead of confusion there will be peace.  This is what he has done for

As to the significance of Skip's death, there is some special
significance, and I am not sure of all of what it is at this time.
Somehow Skip laying there in his casket for all of us to see represents
the death of a dream that he probably best embodied of all of us.  The
dream of the Forever Family being used by God is over for good and his
death seals it.  There remains only for God to bring it all to naught and
to redeem every living stone left over.  "He makes nations great, and
brings them to naught." God saved Skip from his unstable life as a brand
plucked from the fire because he was greatly beloved.  The issue, now,
isn't Skip personally,  but what he represents to us.  There was
something very "heavy" about speaking to him as I and others did at that
funeral.  God's Spirit was strongly there and the electricity was
evident.  Will Skip live on in some of us who dare to dream that God will
use us as a family?  I believe like Elisha receiving the mantle, some of
us will receive Skip's mantle and spirit, and the waters will part for
us.  Am I a dreamer? Am I taking this too far?  You must each judge for
yourselves.  But know for certain, that I remain a radical for Jesus is
the way of Skip, and I will fellowship, commune, weep, and pray with the
precious COBU brethren as my church until my final breath!  Will the
waters part for us?  Will God truly bless this work? Are we as the A-town
brethren just wasting our time?  You must judge.