Christianity is not an outside issue

Not sure if I want to describe myself as a Christian due to the often negative connotations that go with wearing that label. I am student of Jesus; that means using his teaching in a practical and pragmatic way to live daily. I consider that Scripture is less a set of fixed and final propositional truths and more an invitation into the right conversations with God and with others. I find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who I am at the deepest level. Maybe the label of peaceful warrior fits me better because there’s a battle going on inside of me. And as easy as it is to see the pain and suffering in my life and the lives of others, there is also a desire to find goodness and expansive truth in all that comes from that suffering.

I value art, mystery, science, and beauty, recognizing their unique role in nurturing, challenging, and transforming our humanity. I seek to grow, learn, expand through an openness to seeing truth, goodness, and beauty wherever they are to be found. Even in painful moments. To that end, I’m more committed to personal growth than to conformity. That’s why Jesus Christ’s’ teachings resonate with me as that’s what he is proclaiming. I find Jesus more compelling, more commanding, more converging than ever before because I have tested the teachings by making a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God- as I understand him.

Based upon what is shown in the bible, I trust Jesus and in the good news of the reign, commonwealth, or ecosystem of God. And I seek God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven by focusing on love – love for God and neighbor, for outsider and enemy. For myself. Therefore my spiritual beliefs are not concerned primarily with the role, function, and longevity of religious structures and systems. Rather, I seek to engage in the significant issues of our day to bring about healing of the human spirit, foster life in community, and cast a vision for living harmoniously with God and one another. When that happens, I believe important and significant advancements can be made for all humanity.

As you may recognize, I don’t fit into the traditional “community church”a  worldview. And because of my devout love of Jesus, I really don’t fall in with the all to common perspective of a vague “higher power” that permeates recovery communities. But like everyone, I do desire to belong to something bigger without the authoritarianism of the institution. Also there is no delusion that there will someday be here on earth some sort of global utopia. That perfection is in the next reality.

All that being said, I do take seriously Jesus’s call that we “will do even greater things” with our lives than he did. That statement was not just to person who was listening or reading, but to the body of believers. Together we will have an impact. But the change in your world must begin with myself before those any that I encounter will be affected. So you may be asking what does all this mean to you.

I am saying is that what first comes to your heart and soul must be a yes instead of a no, trust instead of resistance, if God’s Power is to be received. When you can lead with yes and allow yourself to see God in all moments, you’ll recognize that all moments are divine and that nothing is really ever wasted. With that as your core, you can be a conduit for the Spirit and effectively be the change you want to see in the world. This is the Good News and it is not just for yourself. You are being changed to bring a change that benefits the world. Everyone benefits.

God’s power is not domination, threat, or coercion, but of a totally different nature, one that even Jesus’ followers seem not to have not yet adjusted to. If the Father does not dominate the Son, and the Son does not dominate the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit does not dominate the Father or the Son, then there’s no domination in God. All divine power is shared power and it given freely so you can give freely. You are healed to help others heal too.

And isn’t recovery about finding power greater than ourselves? If that’s so, then we are all in this thing called life together; searching for light in the darkness of insanity. Sharing the Power that has been given to us due to a spiritual awakening. And I do believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore humanity to sanity- one person at a time. One day at a time. One moment at a time. As best we each can understand at that time- and therefore act upon. It’s a daily decision that leads to thinking and acting more in alignment with the Good News in the bible.

God is in the business of generating life and light from all situations, even the bad and sinful ones. But you must allow him to do this! When you doubt the possibility of guidance, you’ve just stopped the flow. But if you stay on the path of allowing and trusting, the Spirit in you will allow you to confidently surrender. The result of this will be to act in a way that is patient and kind. Not jealous, proud, boastful or rude. To be more like God because you are living in his power.


“Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God – or, if you like a Higher Power – into our lives. Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this. In fact, the effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and how earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

Twelve steps and twelve traditions. (1989). New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, p. 40

A Attitude of Gratitude: Everyone Has Faith In Something

Everyone Has Faith In Something

If you are struggling with faith in God, in yourself, or both, don’t think that you are the only one. Faith is just a confident belief, and not everyone is confident in these areas. However, everyone has faith in something.

“He travels with whoever looks for Him, and having taken the seeker by the hand, He arouses him to go in search of himself.“ – Al-Ansari

Below are some of the beliefs we all have to some degree, at some time in life. Many of these we were pretty confident of, but over time we learned that we were mistaken. If you continue pursuing this journey of discovery, you may find that you have a misunderstanding too:

  • Nobody really cares about me. I’m all alone and my life doesn’t matter. I can’t trust anyone
  • I’m bad because of the mistakes I have made. I am disgusting
  • I’m not good enough. I’m stupid. I’m worthless. I’m boring. I’m hopeless
  • I’m better than all of you. I’m right and you’re wrong
  • Nobody that I value really wants to spend any time with me

Sadly, these kinds of ideas can be a result of the negative messages, said and unsaid, that were repeated many times to us by our parents or other significant people throughout our lives. It’s a fact that what the people who are important to us think about us, affects much more than we will ever know at the time. If they are criticizing or condemning us in harmful ways, it will enslave us to a belief that we are defective. Thinking that we are less than others. Less than who we really are. And it’s thoughts like these that separate us from others and inhibit us from having happiness in our relationships. In our life.

God, as best a human can understand him, is love. Unconditional love. When you take a moment to contemplate that there is a creator of all that is around you, a creator of you, and that source of life is love, hopefully you can realize that you are not a defective creation -because God does not make junk.

My father told me a joke. I laughed so hard that I was in tears. He told the same joke again and I laughed, but not a belly laugh like before. He kept repeating the same joke over the years and it went from a chuckle to nothing. That day I looked at my dad with a look of bewilderment. He caught what was going on and he said, ”If you can’t laugh at the same joke over and over again, why do you keep crying over the people who have hurt you over and over again?”

As wise as my father was, he didn’t know that I was the one who was hurting myself repeatedly. Or maybe he did and we just couldn’t talk openly about it. Not really sure because it’s so personal but I can say that once I got past some of my misunderstanding about my paternal father, I also got past some of the misconceptions about my Spiritual Father. And then I was able to forgive not just those that had hurt me but I was able to forgive myself for the harms that I had done. But it took me being courageous enough to really look within and do a personal inventory to see both my assets and my liabilities. That bravery could only come from knowing that God was with me and cares about me. Probably more than I care about myself.

Attitude of Gratitude, Can You Just Let God Love You

Step 3: Can You Just Let God Love You?

My bottom was not when I came into AA and stopped drinking. Frankly, at the time entered into AA, my desire wasn’t so much to stop getting drunk ever night but to stop being miserable. And it worked for a while. I was proud that I could do this. Never before had I managed to stay sober for so long. But over time that happiness faded away. I was still making mistakes; continuing on with the same way of thinking and acting. The only thing that had really changed was that I wasn’t putting alcohol into my body. Well there was one other thing that changed- I was much more angry at myself than ever before because no longer could the blackout drinking be blamed as the cause for the bad behavior.

At about 7 or 8 months of abstinence, suicide was becoming more and more of an option (as it was before when I was drinking heavily). Thoughts and feelings where really too much to deal with. Regrets, shame, guilt, self-loathing all overwhelmed me. Its no wonder people relapse. But this was way worse. It was either going to be a quick death by my own hand, or a slow torturous one drinking. And because I was intent on doing so, I didn’t tell anyone. Then I would have to talk about it. Maybe even do some counseling, which of course would mean repeatedly bringing up what I wanted to deny. Escape seemed to be the easiest and simplest way to avoid any more pain.

Now you may be thinking, why doesn’t this guy go to AA? Well, again, I was. They had been helpful enough that I hadn’t gone back to the bottle but I was still resisting. I just wasn’t ready. Yes, I had fully conceded to myself that I was an alcoholic- or so I thought. I mean I really knew that I couldn’t drink like a normal person. Fighting the program was more about me still thinking I could do this on my own. Picking and choose what worked for me from the meetings and leaving the rest. I even heard someone say that’s the way its done- ‘Take what you want an leave the rest’! Oh Man! It appeared that I was really way more hopeless than I imagined when I came into the group.

So during all this I met a guy that had been pretty successful doing this deal. He went from being a heroin addict to being a husband, a home owner, being an Imagineer at Disneyland. And most of all, he was happy with himself! He had wisdom when I spoke of my problems. He helped people. He had something that I wanted. Success.

So I hung around him hoping that I could figure out what he had found that set him apart. And after a while, he realized that I hated myself. So he asked me a question: “If you can’t love yourself, can you let God love you?”

Really? He had to go there? But I was desperate enough, I knew that I couldn’t continue on doing it my way anymore. Then he got me with another question. One that was to change me forever: “Can you let God love you through this fellowship?”

Looking back, I now realize that I was trying to fight my problems. To win the battle and come out a champion -like a hero in some action movie making a glorious comeback. Now that I have relinquished my right to be right more than just a few times, what I seek is not gained by being strong and independent. It’s manifested itself by being humble and interdependent with others around me. I am now willing to let God help me through letting people help me. I gave up the right to be always right and because of that my life has change for the better.

I like who I am even though I well aware of my shortcomings. I don’t hate others when they display their short comings because I don’t take it personally. What they do is more about them than me but how I respond is always more about me than them. And when I make mistakes I look at it as an opportunity to grow instead of it being a display of me being a failure. Because I am not a loser and I am not crazy. I am blessed with an awareness that God is with me no matter what I do or don’t do. I am loved unconditionally. And you are too. If you doubt it, just be willing to let God love on you. How much love is received is proportional to how much we allow it. It what way it that comes, well that’s just not in our control. So my how much love, mercy and forgiveness I have bestowed upon me is based on how much I surrender my need for control.

A friend once said that the warm sun and the big blue sky are always there regardless of how many clouds are blocking me from seeing it. And of course no one can control the weather, but we can relax and allow the storm to pass while I get my work done.