What does the word ‘God’ mean to you now?

This is an update to the introduction to my blog that reflects a significant change of direction.

My real interest is in helping to provide support and encouragement for anyone going through any of the many stages of deconstruction or transformation where we know that we can’t unlearn what we are now beginning to understand.
Let’s get away from the idea that deconstruction should be followed by reconstruction – let’s see transformation – whether or not it leads to leaving an institution – as an on-going process!


My very introvert journey through Christendom (see sidebar) started as an adult in an Anglican Church in the UK when I was 22 but I walked away in 1971 after being treasurer of the local Parish Church for 8 years.
I had subsequently been involved with a Sabbath-keeping Christian Church for some 20 years when in 1995 there had been a ‘church split’ that destroyed our own family of 14 related by marriage.
I was already ‘retired’ and felt the need to reconsider just about everything I had ever been taught (for the second time in 25 years). I had never had any formal theological training but have no recollection of ever doubting the existence of God – although my understanding of the meaning of that word has changed dramatically over the years.
I have been using the internet since 1997 and created my first web site 20 years ago – the beginning of an on-going Work-In-Progress.

By 2002 I was very involved with the Emerging, Emergent and House Church scenes.
With hindsight this was when I became an outside observer of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and gradually began to recognise the amount of fear, guilt and shame that is generated by that theology especially in America.

Richard Holloway has been a major influence since 2010 (see Broken Myths) and Diana Butler Bass since 2012 (see Christianity After Religion).

To cut a very long story short I reached a point in the Autumn of 2018 where I felt it was time to step back from all the divisive, denominational theology that had been so much part of my life for so long. I had wanted to encourage people like myself, who had never had any formal theological training to consider the question, “Where is God?” based on a number of factors but especially some of the thoughts of Diana Butler Bass in 2015 (see sidebar) while talking about her then new book ‘Grounded’, where she suggested that a three tier universe with God in heaven had been a cornerstone of religious life that provided untold millions through the ages with meaningful comfort.
She went on to suggest that a logical response is that there is no such God and that a distant God in heaven is no longer acceptable to many who have left church, synagogue or other forms of conventional religion.

As a former Anglican I had been impressed by Barbara Brown Taylor’s earlier book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark” with its emphasis on Lunar Spirituality (see sidebar for a link).
I watched an interview in 2019 with Barbara (an Episcopalian Priest) about her new book, “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others” where she had been asked for her thoughts about, “What do you think when you use the word God?”.

It was in 2016 that I had listened to a series of discussions between Rob Bell and Pete Rollins entitled “Let’s Talk about God”.
I subsequently watched Rob’s nearly two hour presentation of “Everything is Spiritual” based on an understanding of the links between Spirituality and the Big Bang.

Since then I have been very influenced by the Enneagram, Spiral Dynamics and some of the thoughts of Richard Rohr.

Now instead of asking the question, “Where is God?” I would like to create a safe haven where we can get back to some of the basics by raising awareness of what people from different denominations and different faiths or none think about God.

Let’s begin with this:
“What do other people understand by the word ‘God’?”






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What Next?

It is said that there is a book in each of us waiting to get out. Instead of writing a book I created a web site 20 years ago when I was already retired.
I had absolutely no idea that web site would eventually become the foundation of what is now my current blog – that still contains some of the material – including the Mind Maps – that are now about 15 years old.

It was in 2008 when I was 72, that I was introduced to the likelihood of having lived with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism all my life. That was exciting. It helped to explain why I think and act the way I do – happily going round the circle looking at things from differing perspectives and updating my notes? This would have explained why I developed a bit of a reputation for asking some of the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers.

I have been using WordPress for about ten years. I’m still using my original template.
I’d like to be able to use the new version of WordPress and include several additional links to Facebook groups and blogs that I follow. Maybe now would be the time to do this, but at my age I sense I’d need someone to hold my hand a bit to get started.

My real interest is in helping to provide support and encouragement for anyone going through any of the many stages of deconstruction or transformation where we know that we can’t unlearn what we are now beginning to understand.
Let’s get away from the idea that deconstruction should be followed by reconstruction – let’s see transformation as an on-going process!

*****

It was in February 2020 before the pandemic that I reached a point where I felt comfortable with the idea of sharing my thoughts more openly. But then I found myself wondering what life will be like when this crisis is over and what we are going to have to offer to those people who are now questioning where was God in all of this. It was then that it occurred to me that what I have written could be a foundation (that others could add to) for those of us who have an appreciation of the spiritual side of life, whether or not we have ever been in leadership positions, to get a better understanding of where others are coming from on their journeys – something I have been particularly interested since being introduced to “Fowler’s Stages of Faith” many years ago.

*****

Additional Material
There are a number of Posts, Pages, Videos and other Blogs that I want to be able to share. Let me start with these:

The Invisible Church – Stages of Leaving

Everything is Spiritual – a 2 hour presentation by Rob Bell that brings together a potential link between Spirituality and the Big Bang.


Who or what is God? – a lengthy article written in 2001 by John Hick, a Brit who is said to be one of the most influential philosophers of religion of the second half of the twentieth century. The final paragraph reads:
So here is a large-scale hypothesis which constitutes a religious, as distinguished from a naturalistic, interpretation of religion. And like all such hypotheses, it presents itself for consideration and invites others who find it inadequate to offer a better hypothesis.
I’m no scholar but this article makes a lot of sense and seems to be a useful starting point.

What makes me THINK there is an actual god? – written by Bob Greaves who I have known on the web for over 10 years.

Prophetic Imagination – Walter Brueggermann – June 2018 – thought provoking?

The Twelve Theses – Bishop Spong – that may be a real challenge!

Mind Maps – What is Life? – some of my own work over 15 years ago.

Ego and Human Nature – something I wrote in 2017 and then got side-tracked.

Over the last couple of years I have developed a particular interest in the place of the Enneagram and Spiral Dynamics and I’m keen to hear what others think.

It’s time to let go of some of what I used to think was important!




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