This Post is in the process of being updated – 17th October.
I am now 86 and have been on a long journey into (as an adult), through and out of what I tend to refer to as CHRISTENDOM (the Christian RELIGION as opposed to Christian FAITH).
I have a bit of a reputation for asking some of the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers.
With hindsight, as a Brit I have been an outside observer from across the pond, of American Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism for over 20 years.
Just a few questions to start with:
Have you ever asked yourself:
- Do I really know what I believe?
- How did I come to believe in this God?
- To what extent have I been influenced by my own culture?
- How would I describe the purpose of life?
- Christian faith presupposes that we can talk to God, but what does that mean to you?
- What place prayer and worship?
I’m not looking for answers. I’m simply trying to encourage thoughts, discussions and conversations around what could be seen as some of the most basic and fundamental questions about LIFE.
It is said that there is a book in each of us.
Instead of writing a book I created a web site in 2000 that later became the blog that is still an on-going Work-In-Progress after more than 20 years.
In “My Story (from 1995 to 2012)” I have tried to give a picture of that part of my journey that forced me for a second time to reconsider just about everything I had ever been taught.
I now feel that I have been drawn away from all the divisive, denominational theology that has been part of my life for so long.
What do we understand by the word ‘God’? must be one of the most basic questions we can ask.
Over the last few years I’ve had the chance to explore something of the development of Spiral Dynamics and the Enneagram.
I love the way in which science and spirituality are being drawn together.
There are two mysteries in particular that I have now been drawn to:
The Origin of the Universe and The Origin of Consciousness.
Over the last 15 years I have been able to share something of the stories of over 2,000 people including several leaders and former leaders who have been drawn away from churches that they may have attended for many years.
It was 25 years ago that I was involved with a pilot project promoting Positive Mental Health in older people’s Sheltered Housing based on:
Since then the idea of a Safe Haven for open discussion has never been far away.
I have described something of my journey and have been able to support and encourage others who have been on somewhat similar journeys. Could it be that some of the people I have known (even vaguely) over the last 15 years might be interested in sharing some of their thoughts so that we could provide a Safe Haven where others who have been drawn away might be able to appreciate some of the many diverse ways in which people are being drawn away from churches that they may have attended for many years?
That’s my reason for contacting some of my old acquaintances.
What follows is a brief introduction to my blog.
There is also a message to all my old and new friends. See here
It was Richard Holloway the former leader of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, who suggested that the symbol ‘God’ is one of the most ambiguous of human inventions.
Richard had a big impact on my thinking – see “Broken Myths” that I wrote in 2010.
I was first introduced to the thoughts of Diana Butler Bass in 2012 when she wrote “Christianity After Religion” as a result of which I found myself with a faith that I could then hold on to ‘loosely’.
“Food for Thought” was a reflection of some of my thoughts at that time.
It was in 2013 when I was 78 that I joined the local branch of U3A – the University of the Third Age and attended classes in Philosophy, Psychology, Counselling, History of Christianity, History of Religion, Buddhism and Islam – just 2 or 3 hours a week for 4 years.
During that time I was introduced to Barbara Brown Taylor who suggested that she had a gift of Lunar Spirituality, in which the divine light available waxes and wanes in seasons. The moon never looks the same two nights running! She had a great curiosity – what would her life with God look like if she trusted this rhythm instead of opposing it. How much more would be available if she could learn to walk in the dark as well as in the light. She found her teacher in John of the Cross, who she says is no help to anyone seeking a better grip on God – he wants to convince those who grasp after things that God cannot be grasped – cannot be held on to – can only be encountered as that which eclipses the reality of all other things. Barbara went on to suggest that John is a teacher in a negative way – he doesn’t teach anything about God by saying what God is – John clears space by teaching what God is not – that images and ideas about God are really obstacles between them and the real thing – offering no handle on this elusive God who cannot be grasped.
Tom Wright, Wayne Jacobson, Paul Young and The Shack were major influences on my journey. I met Brian McLaren in 2004. Some of the other people who have influenced my thinking recently include Rob Bell, Richard Rohr, Bart Ehrman and Eckhart Tolle. I’m now appreciating my growing understanding of the Enneagram and the place of Spiral Dynamics.
It was in the Autumn of 2018 that I decided to step back from all of the divisive, denominational theology that had been so much part of my life for so long.
It was after listening to Barbara Brown Taylor talking about her new book, “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others” early in 2019 that I realised that I had reached a point where I simply wanted to encourage just a few more people to reconsider what they really understood about the place of God in their lives now.
“Let’s Talk about God” – is a collection of some thoughts from 2016.
I’d appreciate hearing from you with any thoughts you might have.
An important part of my blog over the years has been the links in the sidebar.
I do realise that many people now access WordPress sites on their phones.
I’d love to be able to change the format of my blog.
In the meantime there is a separate Page detailing the links in the sidebar – see here