People ask me, “why are you blogging?” Well, last summer a conversation occurred that I wasn’t ready for. I was unable to verbalize what was in my heart. There were things that I “knew” in my body and soul, but I didn’t have any words for those things. I was asked point blank questions about Hell, justice, sin, and repentance and all I could do was mumble some incoherent and vague phrases. I wanted to be able to express what was going on inside my brain, so I decided to write it out. It turns out that writing does indeed help to clarify and sort out what “goes on inside my brain”.
I had written four or five chapters of this blog before I published any of them. My husband cautioned me. He helped me to count the cost and calculate the risk of going public with my “faith crises”. Ultimately I decided that blogging was worth whatever consequences there might be. My insatiable need to be authentic and transparent won out over remaining silent. I felt that remaining silent somehow equated with consent to something I no longer felt was an accurate representation of Love. To be more clear, and to answer those questions that were asked last summer…
About Hell: I don’t know what happens after our physical bodies die, but I am convinced that the love and mercy of God endures forever and therefore the death of our physical bodies is not the cessation of the love and mercy of God for us.
About justice: I have come to prefer the justice of God that is always restorative rather than the justice of men which is based on a scale of balance and is usually retributive.
About sin: Rather than focusing on an inherent sinful nature inside me that I must continuously purge, I would rather focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit constantly flowing through me. I like to think of that phenomenon as the Divine Flow. Any thing that blocks that flow could be called sin.
About repentance: when I surrender to the flow of the Divine the thing/sin that may block the Divine Flow is eventually carried away by the flow, like a river that carries debris out to sea. Repentance for me is letting go of any thing that blocks the flow of the Divine.
All of these are issues I felt needed a back story. That is why I took the time to write “my story”. I wanted you to know that I didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly, inexplicably change into how I am now. The conclusions I have arrived at are not a “new thing”. They are actually old and biblical, and supported in the verses we Evangelicals tend to skip over. Although some may think I’m being influenced by “new age” thought and philosophy, these are not new doctrines I have been adopting, and I’m not making this stuff up or creating my own religion. These doctrines actually precede our “Western Christianity”. Like all of us, I have been influenced. My influences have been (mostly by proxy through Brad Jersak, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, Brian Zahnd and others) the earliest church fathers of what is now known as the Eastern Orthodox.
The other reason I decided to blog was to connect with people who were also experiencing this upheaval of faith. This has been a sometimes painful, sometimes absolutely joyful journey. It can also be isolating and make you feel crazy because not many of your friends understand. Finding those who do understand is healing. I wanted to find those people for my own comfort, but I also wanted to bring comfort to those who felt crazy like I did. I want you to know you are not alone. It turns out there are probably hundreds of thousands of us, maybe more…I can’t find a statistic. But if you include those who count themselves as Eastern Orthodox, the number of people who hold similar views about Hell, justice, sin and repentance is over 200 million. So there you have it.
There may be other people whose stories will be told on this blog. I may be inspired to post “inspiring” things on this blog. I may expand my story and turn it into a book. But for now, thank you for reading, thank you for your kind words and encouragements. Thank you for your love.
May the flow of the Divine which flows through you and me always carry away every thing that blocks it.