Inspired by a a post by Theo Geek called Adherance to Doctrinal Statements , I started this blog to create a place to organize my thoughts concerning (1) truth and (2) religious tradition.
I want to explore how my family and I can respect and benefit from Christian traditions while remaining loyal to God's truth. God's truth for me being the Truth as in "I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:8)". Thus I find God's truth in places other than the Christian Bible and in interpretations of it that are different from most "mainstream" churches in the USA.
So you may ask: why is it important to me for my family and I to engage the Christian community?
Let me include this sketch of my spiritual journey up through 1993.
1951 --- born
1953- 1958 --- Baptist Church – Sunny, clean, happy, joyful. Alcoholism.
1958-1963 --- Baptist Church – “God is your conscious” said one Sunday School teacher. Alcoholism. Unhappiness. Repetitive prayer.
At age 11, I listened to sermons urging sinners to repent and believe and be saved, or if they did not believe, then they would go to hell forever. I thought of my father and realized that he was exactly the kind of person the minister was talking about, and that if what he was saying was true, my father would spend forever in hell. I thought about it seriously, but immediately realized that I did not believe this “gospel message” as it was presented. And I realized that it would do no good to pretend I did and make a profession of faith, because this would be false, and God would know that --- so I wouldn’t be saved anyway. So I pretty much just walked away and quit attending.
1964-1970 --- rock & roll, drinking, sports, girls, more studious.
1970-1974 --- college, science, math, computers, heavy meat and sugar diet, less and less exercise, academic success. Agnostic.
1974-1977 --- got married, began full-time job, began taking exams, studying until 3am in the mornings. Still agnostic. Attended country church – long services – emotional preacher – anti-intellectualism. Good fellowship in a way. My wife was unhappy because of my lack of faith.
1977 --- Spiritual awakening. Initiated by reading books, especially “Be Here Now” and listening to tapes. Many powerful experiences on all levels --- spiritual, emotional and mental. An opening to the spirit, through devotion to God. Made a number of changes (“methods”) to facilitate closeness to God --- fasting, walking, quit caffeine, quit meat, yoga, vegetarian diet, more exercise, slowing down, worked less, closer to nature. Saw the one truth manifested in Christianity as well as Eastern religions, joined Baptist Church, was baptized. Prayer, singing (“I have decided to follow Jesus”).
1978-1983 --- Continued practicing these methods, and working on relationship with my wife. Began to realize that I did not fit in with the other members at our Baptist Church. Started counseling with my wife. She was unhappy with some, maybe most, of the changes I was making. And she was also unhappy in general.
1983 --- My father died.
1983-1985 --- My anger started erupting into our marriage and I was sometimes cruel to my wife. After a very difficult decision-making process, we decided to move. This created more stress as I had decided not to be the one compromises all the time and she was unable or unwilling to compromise much either.
1985-1987 --- My wife was hospitalized as an inpatient for depression. I went into Al-Anon for Adult Children of Alcoholics and private counseling. Difficult divorce was finalized in 1987. Started meditating.
1988 --- Diagnosed with diabetes. Learned how to live on my on. Continued meditation, practicing more formal (mostly Buddhist) meditation. 12-step programs.
1989 --- My mother died.
1990-1993 --- Masters program in Mathematics, teaching assistant. Summers at Meditation Center. Yoga and meditation, and the other methods (see above).