I decided to finally compartmentalize my sharings and my writings here on Facebook about progressive Christianity onto a new community page that will become my home-base for these aspects of my life. First off my writings are my opinion and my take on what I see happening around me in the progressive community and what I can find interesting from other progressive blogs and writers. As a way of introduction I do not lay claim to any advanced theological training nor an extensive lay ministry from which my insights will be drawn but rather an open spirit to which God whispers when I manage to quiet myself long enough to listen. Having said that I do not believe not having a seminary degree or background in ministry is a handicap for me if I am true to my own heart and the heart of God in what I think about, feel and write on these and other pages. Whether you have a degree or not is not the main point of being a Christian. Following the way that Jesus showed in the bible is the main point of being a Christian. No degree necessary to do that. Don’t get me wrong. I think advanced education in matters of the church is a very important pursuit and for some that is the path that God has laid before them and to them I say Godspeed. For those of us who did not get that nudge but do like to think and write about what they consider their spiritual path in life I feel like we are just as important a voice in the community as those with M Div after their names.
My background is varied and I have spent time in many traditional churches over the years starting out right after conversion attending a Salvation Army church that was nearby and had people that I knew in attendance. Though their structure is more inclined towards social activity they do indeed have regular church services on Sunday mornings and evenings. That was way back in 1976 so the path has been long and filled with many different flavors of what it means to be a Christian in the intervening years. Freewill Baptists, Church of God, a non denominational church and lastly the Fourquare church which was a charismatic church. There were many visits that I made as one off appearances just to see what other churches “felt” like but those just mentioned formed the bulk of my spiritual experiences. But what I didn’t do for many of those years was to think about what I believed and question why I believed it. I accepted that there was really only one way of thinking about doctrine, I read books by conservative authors who believed as I did, I heard sermons that reinforced what I believed every week and friends also were of the same mind so no winds of change ever disturbed the placid surface of my spiritual lake. All was well.
Somewhere around 1991 my waters were disturbed. I discovered that there were “other” ways of understanding Christianity and they weren’t what I had read and been taught to this point. Needless to say these new ideas put a small hole in my dam that started leaking and sending cracks throughout the structure. As a fundamentalist I did not allow anything into my mind or heart that contradicted what I knew was the absolute truth of my Christian path. For whatever reason these ideas made it through my defenses and the journey toward enlightenment had begun. I say enlightenment from my perspective but I don’t think that I am now special and understand more than those who don’t ever move beyond where they are now. My journey with God is not your journey with God. I’m sure there will be many similarities but I’m also just as sure that we will not line up on many points and will wildly diverge at a few places as well. That’s just the nature of the beast. It is not easy to maintain the absolute truth you thought was real after you allow even a slight shadow of a doubt into your thinking. Could be why the church clamps down so hard on doctrine and quickly takes care of heretics.
Fast forward to 2017 and the dam that had been in my mind to keep out contrary thinking is gone and my heart has expanded in my ways to make room for what God has taught me in the years since that time when I let a small doubt enter my heart. Of course I’m sure that those still on that conservative path will look at my experiences and pronounce that I have backslidden from the pinacle of understanding back into the brackish waters of relativism and humanism leaving God and Jesus behind in the process. That is their right to think of me in any way they wish. I don’t want to shape their vision of who Jesus is and I don’t want them to be able to shape what he means to me in the 21st century. My thoughts on God’s ways these days is that they are far beyond my understanding and not bound to what the church says they should be or what they must be. God will do what God will do. I just think that love is the guiding principle of the God that I follow and with that I feel that no matter what may come it will all end up with God expressing that eternal love to each of us in ways that will be meaningful to where we are in this life and in the life to come. Perhaps this will help you to understand me more, perhaps not. Either way welcome to Progressive Seeker and feel free to join the conversation. If not I’ll do my best to speak what’s on my heart and I’m sure that will be enough.