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’?”