Through You Is Where I See I.
This is how Christ lives in me.
It is the reflection of Christ that mirrors the reflection called I.
There is a misnomer in the Christian world that says those who are not Christian,
and on a journey of spiritual seeking are self seeking, or that they are focused on themselves.
This is not it. This misunderstood concept is divided by language.
They are seeking the same principle a Christian seeks.
They are seeking their higher self, which is essentially Christ in them.
When a Christian says, “Christ In Me,”
they are also saying they are focused on the self.
It is not different.
They are suggesting they choose to embody the Spirit of Christ as their identity.
This is not a far departure from those who go within to hear their inner voice.
They also find their experience of the Divine in others. It is reflected back to them in this way.
We need mirrors to see ourselves.
We need to see ourselves reflected back at us.
It also gives us contrast.
Seeing God in and through others, and reflected back to us,
eliminates our critical voice and our ego. It catches it off guard, and we see the truth.
Religions are belief systems.
Spirituality is truth.
Religions are words compiled by human beings.
God is the essence of all that is.
Religions are history and stories of those who came before us.
To know these stories and connect ourselves to this past is powerful.
To allow Spirit to join us, and find our own truth in theirs is powerful.
To open ourselves to the spirit that lies behind the words, hidden in plain sight, is where the real power is in scriptures and what’s been passed down through time.
This is where the authenticity of the past is seen. But only in it’s original form. In it’s original intent.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit in a Harlem revival tent at 17 will never leave me.
At this point in my life, it’s doubtful anything will convince me it was anything other than that -
The Holy Spirit.
Leaving the Christian church for so many years was difficult for me,
yet it was easy.
It’s much harder to be around people who you feel shamed or judged by.
This hurts more.
So, in the end, Christ’s spirit has lived in me,
showing me how amazing I am and how completely not amazing I am
all at the same time.
I’ve seen God in old drunk cowboys,
and abusive husbands.
In gay-bashing, bathroom flirting senators,
and those who lied about me,
in my jealous rants,
and in my horses eyes.
I’ve met Jesus in
the homeless guy who lived in our parking lot,
and the man who tried to steal my purse,
The question this poses is, Which inner voice are we hearing?
This is the point of true discernment that begs paying attention to.
Is it the voice that runs in our head all the time?
The one who is reading this right now and saying the words within you,
or is it that deeper voice - the one where knowing lives.
Knowing is the center of your soul, where it meets the Spirit.
It’s the place you ‘hear’ from God, and your answers live.
You know the place.
If you don’t know the place, take a moment to travel to it.
It’s a windy path within that you know, but may not listen to often.
It’s the place that listens. And speaks from truth. It’s not as noisy as your mind’s voice.
Now you got it.
This is the place that knows who you are.
Your fear cannot survive there (unless you are in real danger)
It lives in the deepest truth.
This is where Christ arrives when he lives in you.
Christ living in you does not mean that you no longer exist. Not literally.
It means you have given permission for the Spirit of Christ, the higher self which is God -
where all of life is one,
to take up residence.
Let’s look at it another way.
Think about a time you’ve fallen in love. Or a time in childhood when you allowed yourself to love fully and intimately. A time when your defenses were down, and you let your heart open completely to someone you loved.
Remember how it felt?
You could not believe how much you loved this person whose eyes you were staring into.
This was the best feeling you’ve ever known.
Because this person who you saw as wonderful or perfect in that moment was being reflected back to you.
You became one.
You saw yourself in it too. You felt that perfection. Even if only for a moment.
This is how we connect to the essence of God. How Christ lives in us.
It is also how we experience ourselves.
We experience oneness with the Divine through the reflection of another.
Some do it in an experience with another human being.
Some do it with a Guru.
Some do it with Christ’s Spirit living in them.
There is one thread, that without, one will not experience the full essence of what it is to know God.
Spirit is something we can all connect to, whether we call it by the same name or not.
It is the extent to which we can let go of our chatter, our tapes of the past, and our need to control
that determines our ability to surrender to Spirit,
which, in turn,
decides how deeply we experience Spirit.
It is there all along.
It simply needs to be uncovered.
This requires deep surrender.
This is the full experience of Faith.
Spirit can be felt on many levels.
It is always empowering and wonder-ful.
But it can also be ecstatic, beyond description, sacred, and holy.
It is here we begin entering into the places that take us beyond our current reality,
and take us to growing in God.
It’s not something we can make happen.
Nor it is something we can study for, like a body of knowledge.
It comes when we are ready.
In other words, we can prepare for it.
Preparation means doing what we know to do to deepen on our journey.
By making honest assessments of who we are, and identifying the aspects that need attention.
Or what keeps us from getting where we want to be - spiritually. We know our own hearts and our habits and our weaknesses. We know what they are...at least that inner voice does. And that inner voice is the real you.
Preparation happens through our willingness to change, and our desire to grow.
Stepping into this process is self purifying.
We prepare ourselves by peeling off layers of protection by the self/ego,
which draws us nearer to our higher self -
and Christ in us.
Each day we see more of ourselves looking like what is reflected by the other,
Christ who lives in us.
Each day, we will see more of Christ in us.
In our actions, emotions, thoughts...
in those whose paths we cross.
When we become more like Christ in that deep, authentic place over time,
others respond to us and feel it in themselves.
They reflect it back to us -
just as Christ has reflected it to us.
This is when the circle begins to be unbroken in our experiences.
This is oneness on the physical and spiritual realm.
This is oneness we see and feel.
Our ability to understand that language can keep us from oneness is key here.
Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
If the Christ spirit lives in you, no matter what name you give it,
and the Father is God -
and God is all that is.
Then it is through another whose spirit is pure that you can see your divine nature,
and come to all that is.
Do you see?
This is what it is to know God.
This is something that is destroyed by not allowing language to morph and be alive.
How we interpret words and put meaning to language changes in moments.
Each person’s beliefs will see each word differently. And communicate them differently.
This divides us.
The place in which we experience God is connected to all that is.
Think about it.
If you know it and have been there, do you or do you not experience oneness with all that is from that place?
Of course you do.
What has separated Christianity from those on a spiritual path are its people.
Not its truth.
Each of us arrives at the door to our spiritual journey differently.
We show up with very different experiences too.
Some learn to know God through a deep hurt, a crying out of surrender.
Some through an ongoing quest for knowledge.
Some through a sudden and overpowering ecstatic experience.
And some simply choose it because they do.
There’s no earth shaking event, no angel choirs, not even personal pain.
They simply feel it’s right for them.
These quiet choices are sometimes most powerful of all
because it is born from a place that is ripe with intent.
They make a decision.
No matter which door we walk through,
we are welcome.
One Sunday morning after the morning service, Wally and I were sitting in the sanctuary doing our weekly debriefing. We usually take a few minutes to discuss the service - what went right, what went wrong, what God showed us, how we screwed up, who needs prayer, who wasn’t there, who we’re concerned about, etc. The one thing I do not tell him is what I did not like about his sermon, or what i didn’t think reached people. This does not serve right after the service because he is still vulnerable, and it is too painful to hear at that moment. I wait until Wednesday or Thursday for that. If ever. One thing I’ve learned is not to say anything unless I think it will serve him or the congregation. If it will, no holds barred.
He had been emotional in his sermon this day when speaking of God’s love for us. He feels God’s love in the way we all want to - but don’t. I became deeply aware of how I feel this very same thing through people. He knows God vertically, and I can do the deep dive into that space of overwhelming love and gratitude when I feel others. It’s as if God comes through them into my heart. I can’t look at the sky for that.
It would also explain why he is so passionate about astronomy, and I am so passionate about photographing people.
There you have it.
He journeys into the mystery through space. I go there through hearts and eyes.
It’s interesting, isn’t it?
Think about who you know that is deeply spiritual, or even religious -
and find out how they relate to God.
Horizontally or Vertically?
iTunes was playing, and two John Denver songs played. I happened to love both of them, and my heart was open. As is the norm when I hear these songs, I sang along out loud. My eyes closed and I began to sense the hearts of people in that sanctuary moments before. The music touched me deep within, and the love or oneness that connects me to them enveloped my entire being. Tears began to stream uncontrollable down my cheeks as I continued to sing. It was as if the world was new inside me. The love was bigger than anything we can feel without the full expansion and surrender of the heart. This is God’s Spirit in full bloom for me. The tears kept coming, my heart kept opening, and I remembered who I am in God, in Christ, in others. It is this place that I touch through people - and he touches through God. These are our activators to draw near, to open fully to receive it.
It is semantics to suggest that one person experiences this from God, while another simply reaches within.
It is all one. These are words. When it gets right down to it, we are touching the same place, and connecting to it through a reflection of another shining back to us. This is us touching God. Whether it’s from our image of God, like Wally feels; or it’s through the love I see in others or feel for them; it is the same outcome as Spirit touching us.
At least that’s my experience. And what I know.
So, when it gets right down to it,
Christ is someone we choose to be reflected to us,
kind of like the ultimate example of oneness.
The closest one to God, as we understand God.
We can allow someone else to reflect back to us - from that inner place,
the inner sanctuary of our soul.
Why not go right to the source?
At least that’s how I see it.
Not only is it safer.
It’s also more powerful. In my experience.
But then, I’ve always liked short cuts.
The key to experiencing Christ in this way
is to let go of your negative tapes of others who follow him.
When you embody Christ,
these feelings will drop away,
and you will understand they can’t be what they don’t see-
But you can.
If you have a voice that says...
I don’t want to be one of them, and resist the idea of Christ
because of what you see in organized church or Christianity as a whole,
go back to center. And think again.
Think of the historical ramifications and outcomes of this one man’s life.
Think of his essence. His spirit.
Then think about how man, power, and control has sometimes screwed it up.
I think we owe it to him to get it right.
Each person who knew him,
experienced him differently.
And the same.
This is the beauty of life.
Our dynamic nature is alive and changing constantly.
Why wouldn’t we do the same spiritually?
Be alive in this journey, and allow your unique nature to grapple with the questions that arise.
And savor the lessons you learn. And the awareness you are given.
The mystery lies waiting to be discovered.
It lies inside you.
Actually, it lies inside...and outside you.
It’s a mystery.
God is all that is.
Inside and Out.
Past and Present.
Matter and Energy.
Soluble and Insoluble.
Thought and Action.
Life and Death.
Personal and Impersonal.
Mother and Father.
Spirit and Soul.
Earth and Moon.
All that is.
I am trying so hard to be true to God first, myself second, and this church - which includes my husband - third. This is a delicate balancing act of truth and fear. I am constantly watching what I say in fear that my words will be misconstrued to mean something they’re not.
The fear is not because I don’t think I believe the ‘correct’ way, but because my language is so different from theirs. Our view sees different things. Does it mean we believe different things? In some ways, yes. But do we experience it differently in our heart? I doubt it.
I slowly drifted from the church because it was impossible to resolve the idea that everyone I knew across this beautiful world of ours would be burning in hell for eternity. I’m serious. This was the reason.
How is that possible? SImply because a guy didn’t feel in the mood to accept Jesus into his heart in the subway station on a humid, NY afternoon by the weird man with the sign and a cup accepting donations, he would burn for eternity?
That’s what they said. If you’ve heard Jesus Saves, and not accepted him before you di, you will be condemned to hell.
This didn’t work for me very well when people I loved died. It was beyond painful. Eventually I simply had to let this belief die. It was that or go insane.
To believe that “God is Love” and God lets his son be sacrificed in blood for us, and most people I know would burn in hell for eternity - even most of the people I grew up with at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church for twenty years - was insane.
This was the one thing that could not be resolved, rewritten in my mind, reshaped, edited.
It has finally become clear this isn’t what it’s all about.
And if I’m wrong, and it is all about that - I’m out of here.
It’s about now.
Like many of us, when I left the church, I was hungry for spiritual food. I was also looking for adventure. Life was just beginning after all. My dream had been the Peace Corps, but I went in other directions. I still want to join the Peace Corps after all is said and done - well, maybe not done, but not likely. I suppose I did the same work in other ways - working in rural communities in the west was similar in some respects. Different, and the same.
Our beliefs are shaped by our experiences, the stories we’ve embedded in our consciousness, the images we’ve drawn from what we’ve experienced, and the culture that shapes us. Beliefs don’t stand alone. They are directed toward something. They are our way of making sense of life, of putting a frame around something in order to understand it.
Beliefs are a compilation of what shapes them. Faith is something else all together. Faith is a knowing, deeply embedded awareness about something - generally referring to another human being or God. It is a sacred understanding, something we hold above all other expressions or feelings about something. The word “believe” in the Bible is often translated from the Greek word, Credo. Credo means giving one’s heart. Although Credo is often translated as Believe in the Bible, it is closer to the meaning of the word, Faith. Credo is a statement of love, of belonging to something from one’s heart. When we hear Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, for example, it is actually saying - Give your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. I would even expand that to say - Give your whole heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in wholeheartedness that we experience the fullness of love.
Faith in something other than yourself.
What is the experience of faith? Whether it be faith in someone else, or faith in a power greater than yourself.
Particularly if this faith refers to something that takes you beyond anything that you can grasp.
For some of us, the ability to have faith that we are truly and deeply loved seems impossible, or even unlikely. We’re taught at a young age that God loves us like that, as does Jesus, but do we believe it? Can we actually grasp the concept of being loved by something that is beyond our understanding or ability to conceptualize? I don’t know.
What I do know is we can imagine it. We can hope for it. We can trust that someone else has experienced it because they say they have, which implies it may be possible for us. But we cannot know this love until we experience it, can we?
We can only hope it is true, and have faith it exists. Now, what if someone tells you they love you? Is it hard to grasp, or believe? I think it is for many of us. There is the love between friends, and the feeling of affection that we feel for someone who we strike up a special connection with. This feels like love, and is at the time. But what about the love that grows roots? The kind that lifts you up, and protects you? The kind that puts you before all others, and expands your experience of life itself? What about that love? Do you have faith in it?
Not until you experience it, until you see it. You can trust it is true. You can want to believe it. You can even choose to believe it. But you do not yet know it.
This is the kind of believe we long for in a spiritual journey.
It is also the kind of love we touch during the course of our life, some rarely, and some often.
Intimate, deep, unconditional love.
This is not reserved for romantic love. It is different.
It is universal love that flows out from every corner of our being, and beyond, and is reflected back to us.
It is the love that we long for.
When have you felt it?
It may have been as a child, or in a spiritual workshop, or in the subway, or when your child was born.
This is love that is mutual.
How do we know it is mutual?
This is where faith comes in.
When we experience this love that is beyond all understanding,
yet it is the most natural, organic experience we’ve ever known.
It’s not something that is felt, in the traditional sense, it is more like an enveloping.
You know you have fallen into this intense knowing where you are suddenly love.
Everything is love in that moment. It is flowing from you, you are sitting in it, and you are receiving it.
There is no doubt what it is, no need to ask what it is,
it fills every sense you have, and everything is love.
How do you know you are receiving it from the person you are with in that moment?
You have to trust it is so.
So, faith comes from that place where love is so understood and known that it does not even need to be said.
It is trusted to be so. It just knows.
That is faith.
This is the kind of faith we talk about when we talk about faith in God.
Faith grows into us to the point it needs not to be said.
We trust it that much.
But how do we get there?
We experience that place that belongs to something beyond our understanding.
We experience belonging to God.
This can be a meeting such as I described above, or in another experience that expands your heart, mind, and consciousness to the point of knowing that love. It is in touching it that we know.
When we touch it, we will always know it is there -
and we have faith that we belong to it.
It is in us and outside of us. It is part of our reality.
We trust it.
It is a knowing.
We experience it - or fall into it - in an encounter with another human being. We can also encouter it with God. Have you lsot yourself in nature, or another experience in which you expand that fully, and find yourself in a place in consciousness that is beyond this world? You know if you have. This is meeting God without another human being. It is as I did with the song after the church service, and tears rolled uncontrollably down my face because the love I felt was overwhelming and beyond any normal experience of love. It was an encounter with God, and the Holy Spirit - and my eyes were closed.
Brother Stendhl-Rast said it so well this way, “The you must be there for the I to find itself. Trust in you gives me trust in myself. In the encounter between the you and I, faith is born. I am so truly I because I have faith in you. Only the I that comes about through faith can have faith.”
Or the great poet, e.e. cummings, “i am through you so I”
I love that.
When we say, I have faith in God, we are saying:.
This is a dedication and complete trust in something greater than myself that I give my whole heart to.
Faith is something most religions share, faith in God is a shared spiritual path. It is our individual beliefs that set them apart. Faith is the over arching shared experience of God, no matter where our individual beliefs are directed.
To deny this in others is to deny God.
It would be no different than for an old friend to say to my current colleague, “Linda is a dear friend, and she is no more suited to be a pastor’s wife than Madonna. I wouldn’t believe that in a million years, nor would I want to see it happen.” (need help) My current colleague may think I’m wonderful at this, and perhaps I am (hypotehtically speaking here only). My old friend from partying days on Madison Ave. does not have the capacity to see me in this perspective. I will not fit in the frame he holds. But my current colleague can only see me there and her belief and experience is completely different.
My old friend denied my capacity or my ability to be more than his idea of me.
This is what we do to God when we say he can only be the God that I know about.
God is the same God. We are all part of that God.
There is not another God for someone else to connect to. So, why do we act like there is?
I recently heard someone say, “Can you believe that church?
They actually believe the Muslim God, Allah, is the same God we worship?”
How can it not be?
There is one God. One Oneness.
All that said, our stories differ.
And how do we manage that without division?
Beliefs are the intellectual ideas or images that we hold as true, usually ideas we’ve been taught.
Faith is the act of giving your heart with complete trust.
Faith is the outcome of our desire to belong to something and find meaning. It is in this releasing of ourselves to something greater than ourselves that we experience a freedom that takes us out of our self, and into God. This is the same place every other human being who gives themselves to God go. We are there together, without seeing.
Meaning is found in the contrast.
It is this releasing that provides a sense of freedom from ourselves, and creates contrast. Freedom in contrast. Our experience of having a trust in something and experiencing a love there greater than we can will with our own power is enough to generate faith that settles in for the long haul. This is where we learn to rest and are able to absorb the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” And this is all we know now. And it is called faith.
Note: This faith is known through the reflection we receive from another, such as Christ or a friend in such an experience. It is the contrast and the reflection we see returned that gives the experience life. Perhaps it is the exchange of energy that gives it life. When two or more are gathered. The love is born in the integration of the two traveling deeper - as in a staring contest in which they touch God, ie Stendhl Rast; or as in conception, or
Perhaps it is a divine law that the exchange of energy is required to create new life on all levels. Perhaps it is not done in isolation, even spiritually. Or is it?
Can Christ be the other when another living human in physical form is not available? Is this the other way to achieve this?
Our desire to deny the existence of God is universal right now. The desire to frame reality within our own understanding is rampant. It’s as if there is collective agreement that a spiritual path is good, and there is nothing spiritual that exists because it doesn’t make sense and we have no proof. Since when did that matter?
It doesn’t make sense that planes fly, and yet someone believed it was possible.
True, they had to see the possibility but isn’t that so with everything? We have to travel to the edge of something, and push the edges out as far as we can - and we may get to stretch a little further. Not unlike a yoga stretch. Stretch. Stop. Breathe. Stretch again. And we go so much further than we imagined was possible.
Nothing is served by not believing we are all connected in one God, a faith that is shared by all people. Our shared belief in God is a point of unity and celebration. A place where we have all given our whole hearts to something. Differing beliefs, or stories, about God should not be able to divide us. This is the place we should be able to rise higher and touch love. God couldn’t possibly expect us to not do that. How would that make God look?
Beliefs can and do separate us. Faith can unite us.
The word was made flesh, which tells me God has a body, and God is spirit.
Earth, Humans, Spirit, Energy, Matter. All that Is.
Where does God end?
MORE ON FAITH
Up until now. we’ve talked about faith on a grand scale. The kind of faith that gives us permission and freedom to belong to, or be deeply connected to something greater than ourselves. Something beyond us, and beyond all knowing as we understand that to mean.
This is the easy road to faith. It is so big that it requires no real definition. It doesn’t challenge our belief systems, nor does it ask much of us. It simply is. This kind of faith is a good starting point and an excellent uniter.
If it’s individual beliefs that get us mired in the weeds, why do we need them? And how do we find common ground with those who are attached to these beliefs as truth?
There remain specific ideas that shape faith in religion. If we were to rise above our beliefs to the over arching themes of universal religions, where would we be? What would these characteristics look like?
If we were to specificially pluck out the examples Jesus taught us from his teachings, his disciples, and his personal expression, what would they be? Do they differ from the universal ones, or do they match up?
The world is losing faith. Faith is the trust in something we cannot see. It is believing in something that is uncertain. If this is so, why are people of faith so certain they are right? This is a trick question. Of course, it’s because that is what faith is - to them. That said, is it? Does the possibility of not knowing, and admitting it, exist? Does the willingness to know you might be wrong have room to survive within this paradigm? How would it effect the experience of someone who’s faith is in a belief system?
This leads me to ask what is it that makes this belief system so dependent on this story being true? Why can some people hold on to their faith while knowing the story could change; while others believe wholeheartedly that the break down or change in one part of the story will cause the whole building to tumble down? Is this faith?
I don’t think so.
But here’s the rub.
My husband is that person.
When faced with the hypothetical question of Jesus’ DNA being found, and resulting in Jesus having Joseph’s DNA, he clammed up. He admitted he could not possibly be ok with that. “The whole story rests on that one thing. If she was not impregnated by the Holy Ghost, then what about the birth?” He cannot see past this. The reason this is so striking to me is - he is a beautifully open hearted man, he has a passion for science, and walks the walk. He is amazing. and honest. and good. And the story would shift his understanding of God? I don’t get it.
I had the exact opposite experience.
When I asked myself this question, I saw my faith to be deeply real and not dependent on the story. Is this because my dependence on scripture is weak? Perhaps. I am not the fan of the Bible that most Christians are. I do appreciate and revere so much about it, and I also experience it as a collection of historical experiences of people who love God with their whole hearts, and it is their version of their experience. This I believe with my whole heart. I also see them as human.
Do I think the Bible is inspired by God? Absolutely.
Do I think what I am writing right now is inspired by God? Absolutely.
I believe I am here because Jesus and God are calling for a new wineskin.
I believe they are preparing a revival and the ground is being prepared.
I believe I am the least likely person to write about God and Jesus, and here I am writing about it. There is only one good reason for that. And only God knows it.
If I were to take an uneducated guess, I’d say it’s because I’m too dumb to know better. I AM every person who has left the church, I am every woman who feels slighted, I am every man who doesn’t feel connected, I am every divorced person, every single mother, ever welfare recipient, every one who has been imperfect no matter how hard they tried to do it differently. I am every girl who went to Sunday School their entire lives and loved Jesus with all their heart.
I am them.
And they all want to know, “Where did Jesus go?” This is not where he was when I left.
So many of those who are leaving the church, or have left, believe in science. Why is it that science is riddled with uncertainty and the willingness to be wrong? The willingness to risk, and religion is not? How is it possible that religion must defend itself so strongly? What of the great mystics and healers? The Mother Theresa’s, Saint Francis? Where are they today?
Spirituality and Religion can co-exist. If we take away the stories and are left simply with our faith, without the details, can we still step into the holy and sacred places? If the story is different than we have been told, does it change the nature of God? I don’t think so. If we let go of the story of the virgin birth, for example, does it change that Jesus died on the cross? It doesn’t because it is historically true. Does it allow us to still call him the Son of God if we aren’t sure whether or not he resurrected? I think so. He clearly performed miracles. Maybe not all of them, and maybe he did. I want to think he did.
Was he an evolved being? No clue. Was he Son of God? Yes, he was. He gives me the ability to see the Son of God. He allows me to experience the Divine. He reflects back to me the holiness inside each of us. It is his story that brings God alive for me. I’m not as attached to what has been enriched in the story, as I am to what he represents. If he was not sent from the holy of holies, he has singlehandedly changed mankind. I’m good with that.
If he is not the Son of God sent to us to free us, then he has been an overwhelming spiritual influence on the world. This alone has allowed us to experience the Divine, connect to the reality of a Holy Spirit, taught us to pray, given us hope, showed us compassion, modeled courage in suffering, demonstrated humility, reminded us of our ancestors, transformed the world’s experience and understanding of God - from punishing to compassionate and loving.
These aspects alone allow me to surrender to his Spirit, and want him to take up residence in me. These are the characteristics that want him to be my mirror, the reflection that I see when I see myself or myself becoming, he is the contrast for my ego and my self. He silences my chatter. He takes me home to God, the Almighty Father.
This does not change my desire to have a personal relationship. If anything, it increases it!
Allowing the story to stay alive and changing liberated my faith. It put it in a frame I could understand again. It made sense to me. No longer did I worry about my instincts which felt oppressed in my desire and attempt to believe or fit in. Now I felt relaxed standing in my place loving him and thanking him. Suddenly he was alive again! There was life in it again.
The top down approach of the church has stifled our creativity and our imaginations, while suffocating them with rules and laws that oppose reason and love. This model will no longer stand in this world. It can no longer survive in an information age. But telling the stories, while exploring the sacred, entering into the holy, connecting to our lineage through communion and our ancestors, feeling the bonds that connect us to all it stood for - these things free us and allow us to touch him. It is these things that bring him alive for us today.
It is as a Savior...but not as in being chosen and picked out while other will die. Rather a savior who has transformed the world from pain, punishment, anger, violence, war. The world may still be playing out all it did then, but we have a new paradigm. One that holds love above hate, compassion above abandonment, forgiveness above punishment, healing above illness, the Spirit above Legalism, community above loneliness, intention above helplessness, conviction above apathy, the humble above the proud, the weak above the powerful, the honest above the theives, the humble above the self righteous, the sincere above the liars.
This is transformation of the world. His love for God, and understanding of truth - universal truth - makes him our Savior either way. It is in how we hold him in our hearts, how we receive his Spirit - which is alive - that makes his life come alive in me. So, I feel a new liberation and conviction about Jesus, simply because I don’t feel oppressed in the belief. I’m not sure I fully understand this yet, but I am now better able to fit it into my picture, or my frame. Is that what this is?
This line of thought gives me permission to think. It doesn’t feed me every answer from a scripted Study book, but gives me a voice in the creation and ongoing aliveness of Christ. Before, it felt dead and top down. There was an unspoken image that defined how we are to live, who we are to model after, what our voices should sound like, how women dress, how women act, etc. I could not love there anymore. I did not belong, and it stifled my expression. I couldn’t be real.
We need to be real again in the church. We need to be able to be authentic. If it calls us to be anything other than authentic, how can we possibly open our heart to a God of our understanding? How can we possibly be humble before Him if we don’t feel permission to be ourselves? How can we surrender our will to God if we do not experience being seen by those who love him? This is fundamental to faith and Christianity. To me.
I realize this might be hurtful to those already in churches, but it’s not meant to be. It’s simply that this is how some people feel. Its not to tear down people in the church, it’s to build the church back up. We have to create a culture that allows people to discover, create, explore, question, doubt.
How do we
In language, frameworks shape meaning. It is important to see how frameworks shape meaning in our current reality, but also in Biblical times.
Salvation in the bible is more often referring to deliverance and transformation on this side of death, than about the afterlife. It has taken on a life of its own these days, but it has another meaning in its original context. We have supercharged it.
Isaidh 35 vv 1,6 is a great image of salvation as transformation without saying it. This image of salvation as transformation is almost an archetype in scipture.
There is a place within where we all connect to God.
we cannot identify with Christians because we experience being told how to be, who to vote for, how to act.
bottom up environment is missing. top down - told what to believe, who to vote for, what to study
people want to be in a learning culture.
where they can discover and learn,
learning needs to be experienced as creative.
church is all top down in traditional and evangelical churches.
we want to explore. discover. tear down. build up. be part of creation.
words need to be alive. process needs to be alive.
It all needs to come alive again.
we need a resurrection of the church.
reflection of christ in us.
ask yourself why not christ
is it christ or is it christians
putting identity in christ
change the paradigm of christianity. just step to the side 6 inches.
discovery. seeking understanding. questioning.
acceptance. stepping out of denial.
hunger. thirst. longing.