[sent this earlier as an email to friends – liked it, posted it here for both of you reading – the Editor]
Here's why I generally hate email – it's not that we don't say what we mean, but instead that we say exactly what we mean without the nuances of a smile or body language or voice inflection. It's usually the hard cold black and white that gets us in trouble, you think?
I feel like I need to take some time to write about what's happened in my life over the past 10-12 years or so to bring me to this point. I might never send this – but I need to write it, if that makes sense. Let me say up front that I have not taken what's been tossed back and forth personally on the emails sent so far. And, I have taken them personally, since it's felt like a snappy comeback with no follow-up to give those different thoughts and ideas the benefit of the doubt. But the big thing is that you don't know where I've been, what I've chewed up already in life, and what's messed me up from the way I was to where I am today. No worries, not holding grudges – just understanding that I'm not being understood, and trying to shine a little bright light on the proceedings.
Hence, this long drawn out piece of twaddle.
The short side of it is that in my own life, in my own walk with God, I had to give up everything – and I really mean a literal EVERYTHING – that I thought I knew about God, about Jesus, about Truth and what was really important. I determined, when the pieces didn't fit anymore, to lay it all aside and rebuild. The only caveat I held onto, and I know lots of folks who don't even leave this one intact – but the only thing I would hold onto was that Jesus is real, He loves me/world, and everything else was up for grabs. That included everything I'd ever heard in a sermon, everything I'd ever preached myself, every bible study and quiet time I'd ever had, every book I had ever read. Everything theologically and philosophically had to be discarded and built on what would be the only real foundation for me, Jesus.
I don't know if that sounds high and mighty or not, or if it sounds like a "well, duh" statement. But I felt that so much of what I had been filled with was so much extraneous and worthless fluff. I had to let it all go, only hold onto what I absolutely had to, and move on from there. It was death – it was dying to self – it was taking up my cross and ONLY my cross and following Him. It was losing the faith – and that was actually my goal, because holding on to something like the faith I had built thus far was stupid and insane. It did not hold up, and keeping it would have been worse than losing it. I would have been a fake, a lie, a cheat, a thief – and a Christianity like that was not worth living out anymore.
It's been a long ride, over a decade. It cost me friends and a church position – but did it really? Rethinking everything – what is "repentance" really?? – means that ideas of friendship and church and whatever else are all up for grabs, too. Since taking on that new perspective, new path, new direction, I'm seeing life and living life and feeling life through a completely different filter. I can't describe it to anyone who hasn't had those same kinds of leanings and yearnings – it makes no sense to someone already satisfied. Notice I'm not saying it's better, just different. The problem is that it seems on one side to be so diametrically opposed that it borders on heresy and blasphemy. If I ask questions to see if we can see another way, it's because I've tried the way most of us have grown up with, and I've found it lacking – if not also stifling and destructive. Part of that stifle and destruction is that questions antagonize, instead of building up.
I can only say that if – maybe this is "if and only if" – if you have a sense of dissatisfaction in your own Christian life; if you feel like something is out of whack and the only thing you can think of is that you're not reading the Bible more, or you're not praying enough, or you're not serving somewhere or attending church or tithing or following some other thing you should be doing – let me say that it might not be in the doing. It might be in the "being". If you think you're looking for "more", let me suggest that you might be really looking for "more meaningful" and not just a vague notion of "more".
The problem is that I can't lead a man to die – unless that man can see no other alternative. We've all been a part of the Matrix, and some of us have chosen whichever pill we've needed to make it through the day. For me, the time came to change the game, to rewire the Kobayashi Maru, because I was tired of the no-win scenario.
I love mixing sci-fi metaphors.