Note: this page has been revamped because I was spending too much space whining about myself and not enough space talking about what matters. I apologize for the confusion, but it’s all a part of shedding the false self and embracing who I really am in God.
I am convinced that the ways that God works in our world would explode our brain if we knew them all. The Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of people who aren’t even aware of it, who aren’t even praying for it. Who aren’t praying at all. Who don’t pray. I believe God works people who aren’t even devout. How else would we ever come to him?
I have spent a lot of time compartmentalizing God, remaking him in my own image. It’s human nature, I think, for us to try to make big concepts into bite-sized ones so that we can wrap our minds around them. Of those concepts, God is paramount. I believe the challenge before us is to prevent ourselves from making God smaller for our comfort, sanitizing him to make things make more sense. This has become my ongoing personal mandate.
Some time ago, I also became aware of that I was phoning in my own spiritual journey. Really, I wasn’t on one. I realized that I was putting a lot of stock in my pastor coming up with good ideas and communicating them to me on Sunday morning, so I stopped doing that. I started reading. I started listening to other voices. It started changing me.
I discovered Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, Brian Zahnd, Francis Chan (not just the small group chatter, but his personal challenges), David Platt, Julian of Norwich, and Francis of Assisi. I stopped dismissing people whose faith traditions differed from my own. Thanks to Rohr, I started to learn that you can actually listen to people you don’t agree with, even take truth from the kernels you find when you don’t cut them off in mid-sentence. I started relearning love in a way that was internal to me instead of abstract ideas outside of me. I have also learned that becoming who God made you is often less about adding things and more about subtracting them. I have become well-acquainted with this divine subtraction; not through some disastrous catastrophe that rends things from my hands, but through my own purposed release of the need to own and control things. I realized, somewhat slowly, that the root of materialism and control is fear. Fear that there won’t be enough, fear that we will be overlooked or undervalued. Fear despite living among a people of great prosperity. I believe that coming closer to the reality of God has steadily released me from fear. Just as 1 John 4:18 says: “Love expels fear.”
I became a follower of Christ when I was very young. I was raised Baptist, have ties to Methodists, attended a couple non-denominational churches, and am currently at a church with roots to the Pentecostals. I have been fired from a church for failure to live up to professional expectations. I have been hurt by churches. I have decided twice that I would quit church altogether but never really have. God seems to hold me closer in times where I find myself an outsider. I am desperately trying to see the Church (the whole Church) through his eyes, constantly reminding myself that people are imperfect but he still expects us to unite under his banner. I love the Church. Amazing things can happen when we embrace our identity.
I recognize that I am one voice, and I do not have delusions that mine is any more important than any others. I hold my own battered past, washed in the righteousness of Christ, as proof that I am a work in progress. I cling to the Artisan.