“There is a journey you must take. It is a journey without destination. There is no map. Your soul will lead you. And you can take nothing with you.”
February 23, 2023
I just finished Nadia Bolz Weber’s book, Pastrix. Life changing.
Our theology is not entirely in line, but that’s because I’ve thrown everything out the window this past couple of years in the process of redefining my faith. But Nadia hits on many of the truths I continue to hold dear.
I’ve come to receive information in the spirit in which it is conveyed. When it comes to theology, I am not a literalist. I do not believe God keeps people out of heaven because they didn’t get the theology right. Not my God. Not my Spirit.
My Spirit, my friend, my father, my mother, my everything. She is so real she is tangible. I feel her next to me this moment. She leans against me, the full length of her arm against mine, reading these words as they unfurl on my screen. I don’t always feel her, but I know without a doubt she is always right there. If I don’t sense her, it’s because I’ve turned away. She never wanes. Every moment of my life, she is always right there.
A few months back, my brother, a biblical literalist, asked, “What do you believe, Coco?”
“I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ,” I responded, with the most serene smile I could manage, knowing what would come next.
“I worry about you. I want to see you in heaven,” he replied.
“Oh, Robert, I’ll be there. Rest assured. I’ll be there,” I said, still smiling, now not so serenely. The anger, the frustration welled up. I rested in the knowing those emotions would not last. And they don’t.
I no longer own the condemnation of other Christians. It stings, to be questioned about the truths I hold so dear, but the only thing that matters is the truths I hold so dear. I’ve nothing to prove to anyone. It’s Me and Spirit. And Me and Spirit are in good standing.
I am a Christian Universalist. I believe all of us return to Spirit. I don’t know what the afterlife looks like or feels like, except it is a place of perfect peace and love. Beyond that, I have no sense of it. None of us do. I choose to rest in the truth death is not the end. And somehow, that gives me comfort and strength to carry on each day.
David is an atheist. He rejects the notion of intelligent design. He believes everything that happens is the outcome of the evolutionary process. He believes events are random. He scoffs when I say things happen for a reason. I call him out when he scoffs, and he explains it’s not me he holds in disdain. It’s Christians that sicken him.
“I am a Christian,” I say.
“Not you, Christians in general,” he exhorts.
“I get why you hate the mainstream church. I do, too. But I’m a Christian. Just keep that in mind when you denigrate all Christians. I am a Christian.” We often let it rest there.
David loves me, he doesn’t want me to feel judged, belittled, or scorned. The effort he puts forth in making me feel loved and valued is monumental. I admire him greatly, because his acceptance of my beliefs does not come easy; it comes with great effort. He tries very hard, and yet, he can’t quite camouflage his disgust when we talk about my spiritual beliefs. I hear it in his voice, in the way he sucks in his breath. But that’s OK. He tries. He tries very very hard. I give him all the grace I have to give. He deserves endless grace.
I’m not invested in getting others to see things as I see them. My beliefs are MY beliefs. They’re truths I’ve adopted in order to make my life worth living. And if I’m wrong, so what? If they’re truths that help me choose to go on living, and they’ve allowed me to find greater fulfillment and meaning in my life, who am I hurting? People who embrace spiritual truths aren’t stupid, they simply look at life differently. I’m not stupid. David knows I’m not stupid.
I make it sound as if this difference in world views is an issue with David and me. It is not. I’ll not allow it to be. Just as I desire his love and acceptance, I greatly desire to honor and accept him just as he is. We both acknowledge we are a world apart in how we look at the essence and meaning of life here on earth. And that is OK. We make it be OK.
What’s funny is when he insinuates I’m quite mistaken. There is no God. There is no afterlife.
“That’s OK. When we’re dead, you’ll know the truth. I promise not to say I told you so!” I say, laughing.
Except when we’re dead, if David is right, there will be no one to say “I told you so”.
The irony of that makes me laugh out loud.
Here are some resources I've found helpful on my Faith Deconstruction Journey:
You Have Permission podcast
The Bible for Normal People podcast
I'll be attending this seminar in Seattle: