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In my spiritual (human) journey, there has been much shifting and changing in my beliefs, and what I then come to know and experience as “truth.” In trajectory, this has looked like a lot of unlearning and deconstruction, followed by a re-ordering of new understanding. So much of what I used to believe has been replaced. Paradoxically, this has caused me to know, or have certainty in very, very little – and yet, the God that I “find” on the other side of each shift is bigger, more loving, more inclusive, merciful, non-violent and patient. Beautifully, I feel myself becoming these too – toward myself – as well as my approach to all of humanity.
In the last six years, I have travelled a winding Path that, looking back, has been (and is) leading me Somewhere. A quick summary…
For thirty years, it was almost as if I was asleep, or sleep-walking, apathetically moving through life’s stages, building an identity and forging a sense of self-worth or self-belonging – but not paying much mind to “God” (other than being a good kid, dealing with God on a transactional basis of what I could get from Him, or having proper fire insurance), and therefore to anyone else.
Then, personal failure met Grace and kick started a new birth and a zealous march of “getting as much of” and “as close to God” as I could – righteousness on display – a period of equal parts religious fundamentalism, charismania and yet also, tremendous healing in learning submission to Something Else.
But when the continual pursuit and deeper journey rendered the norm of Sunday morning gathering/singing/praying and “ministry” activities and events feel flat and ultimately deeply unsatisfying… I left. I was compelled out. Called away.
Church became different, smaller – yet, strangely more profound as well. Relationships were shifted, yet rooted more deeply in the most meaningful and fruitful of cases.
As I experienced, lived, sought and thought, I was compelled to write and share. This was the genesis behind my first blog, Zōē Perissos.
With so many of the frameworks and paradigms that surrounded the things of God in my upbringing no longer in place, shifting and deconstruction seemed to accelerate. Stripping down. The thrust of my first book, The Path of Freedom, was birthed in this stage, where my convictions had lead me to see that Freedom and Life and, in fact, “all things” were summed up in a Person, and in His Life within.
While not quite feeling like I had all the answers, I nevertheless at that point, felt like I had been graced to unearth something few do (as the subtitle of the book implied). Yet, I would soon begin to wrestle with even more, perhaps deeper musings. Heaven and Hell. Salvation. How to reconcile the picture of a violent God with the mercy and peaceful message of Jesus. I began to become more and more disenchanted with the usual narrative and practices of Western Protestant Christendom, especially the lack of congruity with the life and message of Jesus. I began to acknowledge that the Bible is, in fact, with error, and that there is indeed a Word of God, but it is not a book.
I began to allow myself to resonate with the hopeful longing that is deep within, that Jesus really was successful, and that all were included, and would come to this realization. The Scriptures took on new meaning (and became so much more beautiful and helpful) as I learned that they are multi-vocal, and that the voice of the victim, of inclusion, mercy, grace, forgiveness and non-violence is the one that points toward Truth.
I began to trust that I could follow the fruit. If something was causing me to know a more loving God, more merciful, bigger (mysterious, yes), more inclusive – then I could trust that was fruit to follow. If this allowed me to love myself more, to know that I was loved, and to love deeply from that place – then I could continue in that path of understanding and experience. If I began to see more and more people as less than others, and more as us – as God and as myself, too – and love them and include them – then I could remain in it.
I am so much less sure, now. While remaining a seeker, I am increasingly ok with uncertainty. Yet, in the stripping down, amidst all the deconstruction, in the continual Resurrection after many deaths, there remains a knowing of a Life (Zōē) that is within. Divine, uncreated, superlative. Source.
Trusting and following this Life is leading me to Love.
We are given very few axiomatic names or descriptions for God. “God is Love” is one of them, and I think the ultimate. God is Love. The Incarnation by itself, and certainly along with the Life that Jesus Himself trusted in, was Love in Divine Fellowship being demonstrated in a human body. Love found expression in humanity. Divinity and humanity were de-mystified, united, and put on display. Jesus was God’s self-revelation to the universe that God is Love.
Gloriously, this same revelation showed humanity who we are, too. We are made in God’s image and likeness, of the same seed. We are like God. We are Love, too. Love is our True Self. It is human, and it is good. It is Divine, and it is good. Love is our Source, and Love is our Reality.
Life and Love are from where we all originate, and Life and Love are where we are all headed. Every created thing has its Source in Life and Love, and all of creation is on a glorious trajectory back to a full realization of Life and Love as our Home. Alpha and Omega, beginning and end – Life|Love.
I mentioned at the start of this that my Path is leading me Somewhere. Life|Love is both the Path, and the Destination. I believe we are all on this same trajectory and Path – in our own ways, and on different timeframes. But, ultimately, we will all end up back where we started, and when this happens, it will really just be a glorious beginning in a powerful way. The River is flowing, and cannot stop. We are being moved, together, toward the Oneness and Union that is already ours in the Love Affair of Life. To me, now, it is that simple and yet that transcendently profound.
So, my goal in writing and sharing, here, is not to be right, to convince, or even necassarily to teach. I’m not trying to be a “Christian writer,” (I don’t even really know what that means anymore), or have all the answers. Really, I just want to practice being fully human, and experience all that this has to offer. I want to do that with others, together.
I trust Life and Love. I believe these to be who God is, and I believe that was best revealed in Jesus, especially as the forgiving victim. I believe that we all have the same Source, a Life within, and this Life is forever nudging us toward Love, which is the full human experience, in union with Divinity. I believe that ultimately, only these remain, and are universal. They are unreachable in their depths, unsearchable in their riches, yet they are accessible, now. They are in fact, True Reality…
…and my pursuit and passion in this place.
God is Life and Love. I am Life and Love. We are Life and Love. All are Life and Love.
Love deeply, wherever you are, with whom you are. Start with yourself, because that is where God is, and has always been. Then, you will begin to see God in all others too, and love them the same way.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you’ll stay awhile, and return often. I am looking forward to Living and Loving with you.
Check out the podcast companion to this space, Real Life Radio, on iTunes.
My Top 10 Posts, as measured by total views, are:
- What the…Hell?
- Changing my mind about Easter
- Beginning Again (starting over with God, myself and humanity)
- Kingdom Forgiver: looking for the Other Way in an American Sniper world
- Real Life Radio Ep: 002 – Understanding the Bible and exposing the greatest lie about the Cross
- The Path of Freedom – This was the book release post. If you haven’t read the book, you can read about it here, and subscribe to get your free copy.
- I’m Not Going to Church Anymore
- Fear is not real. Fear is a choice.
- When our “Vision” has become blurred
- Ferguson: The Bigger Story
- A Plea to Christians: Shut up about Gay Marriage
- Maybe the Gospel isn’t what I thought it was
- To all the Ladies: Forgive Us
- What if following Jesus is about NOT tithing?
- What is my Theology?
- A Plea to Christians: Shut up about gay marriage and abortion
- 7 Prayers You Should Pray for “Suspect 2”
- I’m Not Going to Church Anymore
- A Duck DyNASTY War
- When Jesus took Halloween away
- Suicide, mental illness and the Christian response…
- An Open Letter to Gays
- Being on mission with Jesus… is SO worth it!
- To all of our atheist friends:
- A follow up to “A Plea to Christians: Shut up about gay marriage and abortion”
I can be seen elsewhere:
- I am grateful to blogger friends for graciously allowing Guest Posts on their sites:Ed Underwood
Micah J. Murray
- Contributor to Junia Project
- I am delighted to have been a frequent contributor at House2House Magazine. Update: H2H shut down in 2015.
Some of my personal favorite posts to write, that were not in the Top 10 above were:
- American Idol
- Is the Bible “Holy”?
- Question Everything, Especially Your Faith
- Separation from God: Don’t believe the lie
- You are God’s Presence
- The Word of God: Incarnate Today
- The Spiritual Ghetto
- A Father’s Dream for Daughters in His Church
- A Father’s Day Scattershooting: 15 Treasures of being a Daddy
- Sacraments, Ceremony and Seven-Year-Olds
- Hating God: An open letter to someone I love, maybe someone you love, and maybe even you
- Words and Wine
- Are you fighting for victory… or resting Victoriously?
- What is the point of Christianity?
- I wrote a series on “Idol’s” in the church – specifically things that are good, but can often be set above Jesus. I started this series with The Idol of Salvation, and continued it with Could your Pastor be your god?, Could your church be your god? and Could the Bible be your god?
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