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