Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Sick of having to define myself by a specific belief system - by doctrines, theology, denomination or even a religion.
When I first encountered God, it was outside of any religious structure. It was pure and life giving, with no regard to anything religious. It wasn't even Jesus. It was simply an overwhelming revelation of love and acceptance by God.
The next 40 plus years were spent trying to categorise and analyse that experience, under the guidance and influence of "the church", simply because the closest thing to anything spiritual I could hang this experience on to was the local Anglican church where I played the organ (I was a classical organist in my youth, but that's a whole other story).
It was a journey of shaping and defining that experience, turning it into something tidy and quantifiable. I jumped through every hoop that was put in front of me, but I never found what I was looking for. Nothing ever fit the original encounter.
So here I am, having now spent years unravelling that journey and discovering how useless and irrelevant all that classifying and labelling was - realising how much damage I suffered by trying to adapt to a system of belief that was at complete odds with my core identity in every respect. I'm not talking about sexuality (although that is a whole other story as well) but my identity as a spiritual being. I discovered that a deep cognitive dissonance had eaten away at my whole identity to the point where I had no integrity. I acted out the christian life as prescribed by traditions based on the subjective interpretations of an ancient book.
But my heart knew better. It always has.
It knew about unconditional love. It knew about freedom and peace, joy and compassion. It knew who God is all the time and quietly refused to be manipulated, abused, insulted, humiliated and labeled into a neat conformed package.
So I can now finally feel free to drop the label "christian". Its no longer something I feel comfortable with. Its a label that doesn't describe me in the slightest. In fact, the image associated with that label is basically repulsive to me, although I have tried to maintain an attachment to the label for the sake of maintaining relationships.
So what do I believe?
It changes and grows. There are many core concepts that I find christianity has a wonderful grasp of. But there are many other christian beliefs that simply defy the very nature of the universe, humanity and God himself. I'm not even going to bother listing those things because you will only want to define me by them anyway. And I will continue to do the same to you, although its becoming much easier to look past those beliefs and paradigms to see the human inside, the love inside, God inside.
I have returned to the place God revealed himself to me, and started rebuilding without "christianity". Make of it what you will, call me backslidden or a heretic. But one thing I do have is integrity. I also have a greater sense of love than I've ever known. I no longer get suicidal depression, and genuinely feel a greater love for people.
So there you have it. I'm Jim - not a christian, not a buddhist, not a calvinist or arminian, not Hare Krishna or new age, or any other age. I'm just Jim on an awesome journey of spiritual discovery.
Friday, 25 October 2013
I've been thinking a lot about the way we all see things. About how we so easily put ourselves at the centre to the point where we refuse to accept that all we understand could be such a tiny distorted fragment of the truth. We love to find a simple place where we can reshape the universe around us. A place that is comfortable and non-challenging. And then we build up defences to protect that place and end up shooting anyone who comes near. We peer out over the parapets with binoculars that are so encrusted with dust and dirt that all we can see are vague threatening forms as they move closer. We grab our justifications (bibles, favourite teachers, holy books...) and hurl them at the advancing enemies.
Some of us "get it" and others don't.
Some of us seem to see a bigger picture, a much bigger picture.
Some of us can't be complacent with our thoughts and assumptions
Some of us see the ever spiraling complexities of life
Some of us struggle to find coherent integrity of mind, emotion and spirit
Some of us can't stand to live the status quo
Some of us are aware of the deceptions of paradigms and biases
Some of us cannot switch off logic and reason
Some of us cannot stop unraveling things until we find what's at the centre
Some of us realise we may never find what we are looking for
Some of us crave for a higher and deeper and wider understanding of all things
Some of us catch glimpses of the interrelatedness of everything
Some of us lack the expression for our flashes of insight, where every word falls so far short
Some of us see things so differently we wonder why we are here at all
Some of us see love where no one else does
Some of us have hearts that ache from the injustice and pain around us
Some of us give up in frustration
Some of us escape into other places
Why do some people think they've cornered the market on truth
Why do some people fail to recognise that opinions are just that
Why are some people happy in their racism, bigotry and narcissism
Why are so many not even open to growth; spiritually, emotionally or intellectually
So what do those who see the brightness of a bigger world, the security of unconditional love, the joy in the unity of all things and the freedom of life do, in the face of dogma, religion, legalism, close mindedness...
And not just in the church, but all societies, great and small.
Are some of us gifted or cursed? relevant or irrelevant? deceived by pride or humbled by grief?
I don't know, and I hate even thinking about it. some of us would just love to be able to live "normal" lives - whatever that is!
Monday, 7 October 2013
It's been a while since my last blog, mainly because I've been dealing with two family deaths, and sitting back a little to gather my thoughts.
I've also just been watching, reading, generally getting a feel for what's happening in the Christian/spiritual world.
I stopped today to "look back over my shoulder" and nearly turned onto a pillar of salt!
I have come so far on my journey that when I saw the hidiousness of bible believing fundamentalism, that I spent the best part of my life trying to embrace, I actually felt sick!
I feel so sad and angry and frustrated that so many still live on that tiny little strangled world of self righteousness, completely ripped off by a religious system. And they actually want that! They want a tidy safe system that provides a list of rules and priciples to live by.
Any way, if you have followed many of my blogs you would be familiar with what I think these days! God has never been more real, I have never experienced greater love and never felt more free!
Suffice to say, I was shocked at how repulsive it has become to me. And yet, my compassion for those locked in it has grown and it almost feels like my heart is physically hurting for them.
"Oh you foolish Galatians..."
So, I can't go back, and when I looked even further back over my shoulder, I realized I've always been the one to question the status quo. Guess I have a rebellious spirit, despite all that prayer counseling and deliverance.
Life IN God, God IN me! So simple, so pure, living loved.