When I went off the grid of organized Christianity, I went through this blackout period when I could not stomach hardly anything to do with God, Christianity, the Bible, prayer, etc… An interesting place to be for a former seminary grad and successful Senior Pastor. Didn’t go to church, didn’t converse about God or Christianity, didn’t pray, didn’t read my Bible, didn’t listen to “Christian music”… nothing! It was during this period when I, in many respects for the first time, became deeply connected to myself, others, the divine, and life, and became a new foundation for forging ahead, including my interests in Jesus.
There was a way that art opened me. It was the poets, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers, writers, tattooers, playwrights and performers who emboldened me to plummet the depths of my own soul, and travel the distance of my deepest feelings.
I found that most people don’t really want to know the truth. There are plenty of people who want to know the truth on their terms or require that the truth be contained within certain boundaries of comfort. But truth can never be known this way. You have to seek truth from a place of not knowing, and that can be a very threatening place because we think we already know the truth or we are afraid of what the truth might be.
I came to a decision. Whatever anyone said they believed, including myself, if it didn’t produce love, freedom and beauty, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
Jesus said “I am the truth,” which we mistakenly turned into some kind of a theological proposition about God, the gospel, eternal life, etc… Jesus confronted this mentality when he scolded the religious leaders for burying their heads in the scriptures while missing the truth that Jesus was, lived, and expressed. Jesus’ words “I am the truth” have so many layers of profound significance that many Christians never discover because they plug these words into some sort of formula for “being saved” or theological litmus test. We have pressed no further than the foot of Mt. Everest, when it comes to these words of Jesus, and speak as though we have reach the summit.
So much of religion seems to be about fear:
fear of going to hell; fear of having bad theology;
fear of not satisfying your end of the bargain so God will favor you and bless you;
fear of others finding out how much you’re not really like the person you project and pretend to be; fear of trusting your own inner guidance and fear of thinking for yourself;
fear of not upholding the expectations of your religious sub-culture; fear of sexuality;
fear of people who are different;
fear of the world…
I spent over a year soaking in one verse of scripture, “God is love” and every one of those fears disintegrated. There is no fear in love, or so I learned.