It was only 2 days ago that I updated my blog and suggested that I needed to take a break from Facebook and review some of the blogs I’ve followed in the past and see where their unique journeys may have taken them. This was one of the first blogs I looked at. You have said that this is a place that helps you clarify your own thinking, and that there is an invitation to comment.
It was immediately obvious that like me, you had been influenced by what Bob Greaves had been saying earlier that month, when Michael had suggested that Bob was on fire (with what we can now see as this new concept of Theism 2.0?). I listened to that broadcast and very soon after started listening again and making notes of what I felt were some of the most significant points. The result was a lengthy post entitled, ‘Belief or Non-Belief’ and I added a link to a post entitled, ‘Christians, Agnostics and Atheists’ that had long been part of my blog.
In that broadcast Bob talked about how he’d like to give people the freedom to talk about where they have come from; how they see things without turning it into a contest or debate – open and honest discussion – recognising that people are able to describe where they are and how they see things from a specific vantage point – and able to share many views.
In one sense that one paragraph seems to say it all – we can learn so much from each other’s stories especially if we have open minds!
It’s hard to imagine how Bob and I could have been on such different journeys and end up with so many common thoughts in 2012 that a friend of mine who had read what Bob had written suggested, “it’s almost as if Bob has crawled into your heart and communicated the essence of your faith” (unlike Bob I had never been part of an evangelical church).
I can’t remember how much of your blog I have read in the past but I’ve just been back to the beginning of 2012 and found your book review of ‘Holding On Loosely’. Let’s just say that partly as a result of what I heard the author saying I realised that I had a faith that I could hold on to loosely! You also referred to Paul Young and ‘The Shack’ – that book had an enormous impact on my thinking when it was first published privately in 2007. When I was 13 I had walked away from a Baptist Sunday School because I rejected the teaching I had been given about the trinity. I have no recollection of ever doubting the existence of God and subsequently became treasurer of an Anglican church (in the UK) for 8 years in the 1960’s. I gradually became disillusioned with what I saw as a lack of ‘radical’ Christianity along with an inability to get satisfactory answers to some of my questions including the trinity. It had been after reading ‘The Shack’ for the second time that it suddenly occurred to me, “Why has it taken 57 years for someone to give me a picture of the trinity that begins to make sense?” I’ve only glanced at what you have written about the trinity, but I couldn’t help noticing ‘A Brief Introduction to Trinitarian Theology’ from Grace Communion International – formerly the Worldwide Church of God (that I had been a member of for some 20 years) – the Sabbath keeping church that had treated Christmas and Easter as Pagan festivals and also rejected the traditional beliefs about the trinity.
I sense I’ve said enough to indicate that I have a very unusual vantage point – and now at the age of 80 I’ve been able on my blog to share a significant amount of that journey. In 2012 I had a faith that I could hold on to ‘loosely’ and I really did think that that would be the end of the story. Little did I realise that with that open mind I was going to be challenged again when I started attending local classes on ‘The History of Christianity’ and the ‘The History of Religion’ – all of which seems to be relevant to what Bob and the New Covenant Group are referring to as ‘Theism 2.0’.
Is this somewhere where some of Bob’s friends could share some of their initial thoughts about how we could get to know more of each other’s stories?