Food for Thought

I stopped attending church in 2009 and by 2012 when I was 77, I sensed that I had a faith that I could hold on to ‘loosely’. Here are a few of many ‘bullet points’ that I collected over the years. Each one of these could be the subject of an interesting discussion, especially perhaps for those of us who have not been trained in theology, but my purpose here is to bring these together as a reflection of some of the many aspects of that faith that I had been able to hold on to ‘loosely’!

  • We are what we think.
  • Wilderness experiences – when the old answers no longer make sense, we are forced to ask new questions!
  • The unanswered questions aren’t nearly as significant as the unquestioned answers.
  • As one former pastor said, “Don’t people realise that I want to leave the institution so that I can really connect with people?”. But others say that if we cut ourselves off from the fire it is likely to go out!
  • ‘Christians’ are encouraged to feel good about themselves, but how often do they try to ignore the emptiness they feel deep inside?
  • How many recognise that their Christian experience feels empty – and maybe think that they are the only ones who feel that way? How many settle for the status quo?
  • How many people see God as being there to meet our needs and guide us through the difficulties of life – not unlike pagan worship? Church for some people seems to exist to get people through one meaningless week after another!
  • Traditional churches restrict growth, discovery and creativity – a college where the students never graduate – passive observers!
  • How might you respond to someone who says, “I don’t believe in God?” How about, “Tell me something about this god that you don’t believe in. Maybe I don’t believe in him either”.
  • Our faith is based on our own ‘world view’. But ‘wrestlers’ – those who question – are uncomfortable companions – especially for those who feel the need for ‘certainty’.
  • Theologians seem to need an answer for everything – no room for mystery – people who are set in their ways need to feel safe.
  • Religion / theology removes the mystery – if we rely on second-hand teaching we will remain shallow and may wither in the heat of the day!
  • Some people need the freedom to explore the questions without being given the answers – the need to do their own exploring!
  • It is only by talking about our faith that we are able to share and develop it?
  • The self image – how we feel about ourselves affects how other people feel about us?
  • The three selves – the pretend self (the image we project because we are afraid) – the negative self-image (that we are afraid of) – the authentic self?
  • Obligation is the cage – cages stunt growth – but some cannot thrive outside the box!
  • As a friend said, “Church was a duty not a joy – bondage – a university course that never ends – a lack of life – now embarked on a spiritual adventure – while God removes the habits of slavery”?
  • Good conversation makes others curious – short on answers – long on questions – the need to encourage people to think – be gentle – respect – interact
  • Three ways to live – rebelliously – religiously – relationally!
  • Rebels may be in the early stages of the journey out of conformity
  • Are we prepared as rebels, to challenge the status quo? Do we have a vision that cannot accept the status quo?
  • Do we know the voice of God, or are we following the ideas of men?
  • Many people have nobody with whom they can discuss the deeper things of life!
  • How many people are withering in church but are not being noticed?
  • We need to be able to express our frustrations in order to move on
  • We cannot live off of someone else’s relationship with God! There are perhaps times when we need to beware of assisting others too much?
  • Hidden treasure within the field of our own experience!
  • Learn to appreciate the world around us and its beauty – that hasn’t yet been destroyed by the stupidity of men!
  • Spirit life is like a river – the moment it stops flowing it begins to stagnate?
  • How many people worship a God of their own creation?

See “Collecting My Thoughts”

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2 Responses to Food for Thought

  1. ReBecca says:

    Very interested in your observations and your journey. I have been called to the dark night of the soul, the wilderness several times over. I find myself now asking questions I have dared not to even think. Not sure where I am at, but for now I am where I am suppose to be. Not sure how long I shall be here. Once again I find myself teetering on the verge of Wonderland for I am like Alice who fell down the rabbit hole and God is the Mad Hatter

    • Peter says:

      There have been times when I have been alone on what seem to be very narrow paths. There were lessons to be learned. I have then reached what seem to be plateaux where I was able to share ‘notes’ with others who were on their own unique journeys. We found common ground for a season and then went separate ways depending on our unique skill sets and experience – keeping in touch occasionally with at least some of those people.

      If at any time you would like to ask questions or share your thoughts please feel free.

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