August 18, 2019

Another Look: No Right Way Once and For All

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What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Courage is persisting in life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it.

– Christian Wiman
My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

• • •

In the final scenes of the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks’ character stands at a crossroads with new possibilities for his future, and perhaps for love. An unexpected accident which left him stranded on a desert island had forced him from the life he had planned. Upon his return, he discovered that others had moved on with their own lives without him, and that it would be impossible for him to pick up where things had left off. However, when he takes care of one final detail remaining from his shipwreck — delivering a package to a home in the country — he ends up meeting a woman in a pickup truck who, it is hinted, may provide direction for his life in days to come.

And so at times, we too stand on the threshold of a new season of life. We have changed, others around us have changed, situations and circumstances have changed. We may have passed through a time of disorientation or disruption that has altered life by loss. Perhaps our prospects have moved in the other direction and life has been transformed by good fortune. It may be as simple as being at one of those points in the normal course of growing older and facing new roles and dealing with new realities.

The difference is, our lives are not a Hollywood movie. We may not receive a sign foreshadowing the way forward.

The world of evangelical spirituality from which I came, it seems to me, is not adequately suited to provide support for people facing these perplexing transitions in life. Revivalistic piety is essentially one dimensional. Read your Bible. Pray. Attend church and listen to sermons. Be active in the church. Witness to those around you. Pursue personal holiness (i.e. avoid sins and cultivate good habits). This is usually preached as though it were a one-size-fits-all garment that will stretch to fit any person, apply in any situation, and equip one to face any challenge.

On the odd chance that life’s changes are acknowledged, too often spiritual leaders give wandering believers a false notion of perceptible, measurable progress in the Christian life. They communicate the idea that there is a definable pattern of personal development.

Over the years, the spiritual life has been likened to a journey. That suggests a road with recognizable landmarks and destinations. It has also been envisioned in terms of climbing a ladder, though Protestants have usually been suspicious of this as advocating a system of meritorious works. But this is not a leftover relic from medieval theology. Mission statements of many contemporary churches are quite explicit that they expect certain measurable evidences of “growth” to become apparent in the lives of their members. However, I agree with Henry Nouwen, who said, “It is of great importance that we leave the world of measurements behind when we speak about the life of the Spirit.”

I don’t want to be hyper-critical, but I doubt that many so-called spiritual leaders today would cede control over the message and the process long enough to admit “that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all.”

I also wonder how many of us in churches and Christians communities have enough courage to stand up and say, “I feel like I’m out in the middle of the country at a crossroads. North, south, east, west — in every direction a long and winding road stretches out before me, extending to a vague horizon. I don’t see a single sign guiding me toward the way I should take. It’s like I’m in a wilderness, lost, alone, without a compass.”

If we did, would anyone listen?

And where might we find courage and faith to move on?

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    “However, I agree with Henry Nouwen, who said, “It is of great importance that we leave the world of measurements behind when we speak about the life of the Spirit.””

    +1

  2. Christiane says

    Christian Wiman’s meditative writing is reflective of themes from the powerful poetry of Theodore Roethke.

    Like Wyman,
    Roethke has also explored in his poetry the possibility of journeying
    “out of the superficial self to the interior self, to the true self that when once awakened, has the ability to commune with God”:

    “I live near the abyss . . . . . I hope to stay . . . . . until my eyes look at a brighter sun”
    (Theodore Roethke)

    Christian Wyman’s wonderful book title ‘My Bright Abyss’ evokes for me a beloved poem from a John Donne contemporary, Henry Vaughan, who wrote:

    “I SAW Eternity the other night,
    Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
    All calm, as it was bright ;
    And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years
    Driv’n by the spheres 5
    Like a vast shadow mov’d ; in which the world
    And all her train were hurl’d. . . . ”

    For those who naturally might shrink from more formal types of ‘meditation’,

    there are always the Psalms which, when read by candle light just before the sun rises, may inspire one’s own journaling response. . . . . an exercise to help those who are seeking to expand their own ‘interior life’ . . . .
    ( and yes, a cup of strong early morning coffee has been known to help this process along) 🙂

    • Christiane when I was in school I had to take an English survey course and the only thing available was on the so-called “Metaphysical Poets” of the 17th century, John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell and Henry Vaughan. I entered the class with not a lot of enthusiasm but by the end I was totally enchanted. After all these years one of the few textbooks I still own which sits on my shelf alongside my Chaucer and my Shakespeare. Do you know this one from George Herbert?

      The Pearl

      I know the wayes of Learning; both the head
      And pipes that feed the presse, and make it runne;
      What reason hath from nature borrowed,
      Or of itself, like a good huswife, spunne
      In laws and policie; what the starres conspire,
      What willing nature speaks, what forc’d by fire;
      Both th’ old discoveries and the new-found seas,
      The stock and surplus, cause and historie;
      All these stand open, or I have the keyes:
      Yet I love thee.

      I know the wayes of Honour; what maintains
      The quick returns of courtesie and wit;
      In vies of favours whether partie gains
      When glorie swells the heart and moldeth it
      To all expressions both of hand and eye,
      Which on the world a true-love-knot may tie,
      And bear the bundle wheresoe’re it goes;
      How many drammes of spirit there must be
      To sell my life unto my friends or foes:
      Yet I love thee.

      I know the wayes of Pleasure, the sweet strains ,
      The lullings and the relishes of it;
      The propositions of hot bloud and brains;
      What mirth and musick mean; what love and wit
      Have done these twentie hundred yeares, and more;
      I know the projects of unbridled store:
      My stuffe is flesh, not brasse; my senses live,
      And grumble oft, that they have more in me
      Than he that curbs them, being but one to five:
      Yet I love thee.

      I know all these and have them in my hand;
      Therefore not seeled but with open eyes
      I flie to thee, and fully understand
      Both the main sale and the commodities;
      And at what rate and price I have thy love,
      With all the circumstances that may move.
      Yet through the labyrinths, not my groveling wit,
      But thy silk twist let down from heav’n to me
      Did both conduct and teach me how by it
      To climbe to thee.

      • Christiane says

        yes, Stephen

        it’s been a while since I studied the metaphysical poets but, like you, I have been ‘enchanted’ by some of the phrases and images that resonated with me. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem by George Herbert. I was not that familiar with it, but it has something of meaning in it for me in the imagery, yes.

        We think of poets from that time as not ‘like us’, but they were very human, very ‘tuned in’ to something universal and transcendent that still resonates in our own time and, in truth, the slightly varied wording startles in how it makes us stop and think and react to it with a recognition that speaks of ‘deja vu’ . . . but how can that be??? 🙂

  3. Iain Lovejoy says

    If faith is a journey, we don’t tend to be given a map.

    “Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene; one step enough for me.”
    – From “Lead Kindly Light” by John Henry Newman

  4. “Walk any path in Destiny’s garden, and you will be forced to choose, not once but many times.”

    Neil Gaiman, Season of Mists (The Sandman, #4)

  5. The question is: what are we journeying towards? St. Theresa would have said that journey is the deepening of the relationship with God.

    Also, the beauty of the Cast Away scene was that after being trapped on a small island, he now had short distance (the woman) and long distance opportunities ahead of him.

  6. Burro (Mule) says

    “But life is wakings-up, all unexpected, all surprising. And yet, though we wake, though there is no end to waking and saying Oh I see, not ever… still within the dream in which we find ourselves every other dream is nested, every one we have awakened from ”

    John Crowley Little, Big

    If you haven’t read this book, stop what you are reading right now and read it. You will thank me.

    • A friend of mine gave me “Little, Big” years ago as a gift. He raved about it (I mean, he liked it so much he got me my own copy, for heaven’s sake.)

      I tried reading it, I really did, but I just couldn’t get into it. Gave up after quite a few pages. I would’ve given up earlier, but because of my friend’s love for the thing I kept trying to plow through it. It’s only the second book I ever started that I never finished.

      I’ll give it a go again sometime, see if there was something I was missing. After all, I once gave up on “Fellowship of the Ring” only to pick it up years later and discover the magic.

      Thanks for the encouragement to give it another try, Mule.

      • Dave Greene says

        I had not heard of the book till just now. Looking it up I found it won both the Hugo and the Nebula, so how is it not better known I wonder? I’ll need to find a copy maybe.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        There are people for whom Little, Big does not work, and the criticisms levelled against it are some of those levelled against The Lord of the Rings; wooden and one-dimensional characters, a plot that goes nowhere in particular, overly long, etc.

        Read it slowly. Don’t be in a hurry to find out what happens next. Actually, not much happens in the whole book. Savor the prose, which is magnificent, and meditate about what Crowley has to say. If after that, you find the book still doesn’t speak to you, put it aside. You are not alone.

        • –> “Actually, not much happens in the whole book.”

          That was my experience. It seemed like the first 30 pages of “Fellowship of the Ring” over and over and over again.

          But…it’s been long enough. Worth giving it another shot!

    • Thank you for the recommendation. I will gladly read it. Stay tuned.

  7. This post is near perfection.

    I grew up in the non-evangelical world but the evangelical “eat God’s good gifts, pray to the Lord, love your neighbors, and all will be revealed to you” mentality has crept into mainstream churches, too. A lot. And for so long, I believed it wholeheartedly. Ask and you shall receive. I know the plans I have for you. If adversity is discussed, it’s always in the vein of what lessons suffering can teach you.

    And then life progresses, reality sets in, you do all that is required by your church teachings and you come up completely empty, at a crossroads with no GPS to consult. The idea that maybe God, if He exists at all, doesn’t care what job you take, or how you spend your money, or if you vote for one certain party, or how you dress suddenly changes how you see the world. Maybe it’s good just to love your neighbor and not try to convert him. Maybe it’s ok to experience the joys and sorrows of life as simply joy and sorrow with no lesson to be learned except that we are all in the same boat and need to care for each other. Maybe there really is no there there and that’s ok.

    • –> “This post is near perfection.”

      +1

    • Christiane says

      “Maybe it’s good just to love your neighbor and not try to convert him. Maybe it’s ok to experience the joys and sorrows of life as simply joy and sorrow with no lesson to be learned except that we are all in the same boat and need to care for each other.”

      well-said, Suzanne

  8. This slightly reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress.

    On a path/journey, but took a lot of diverse paths…all so typical of my/our own.

    We don’t make good choices, or as evangelicals would say, godly choices. (Roll eyes)

    So what?

    God’s faithfulness is not contingent on mine, thank God.

    All of scripture reeks with men and women making incredibly stupid decisions…and, oh, is that comforting. Again, God’s faithfulness despite my unfaithfulness.

    I remember reading through the Bible for the first time, probably around 30+ years old, after growing up fundie evan, and was completely surprised at what was in there….and, wait for it, what wasn’t in there. (Hint: all the right answers)

    That was the beginning of my journey out of evangelicalism-and like the post yesterday and today, kept running into walls. But, God is good, and I eventually found Michael Spencer, and a home at imonk.

    And then I could breathe. Doubts, yes. Confusion, yes. Uncertainty, yes. All the answers, nope.

    Freedom, yes. A Jesus-shaped spirituality. Not perfection, but direction.

    Thanks for these last 2 days’ posts.

    • –> “Freedom, yes. A Jesus-shaped spirituality. Not perfection, but direction.
      Thanks for these last 2 days’ posts.”

      +1

  9. –> “I also wonder how many of us in churches and Christians communities have enough courage to stand up and say, “I feel like I’m out in the middle of the country at a crossroads. North, south, east, west — in every direction a long and winding road stretches out before me, extending to a vague horizon. I don’t see a single sign guiding me toward the way I should take. It’s like I’m in a wilderness, lost, alone, without a compass.”

    Thanks for being a brave voice that’s willing stand up and say it’s okay to feel like this, CM.

    “If we did, would anyone listen?”

    You do, and so do many others here at iMonk. Thanks for keeping this site going for those of us who need this community.

    “And where might we find courage and faith to move on?”

    Only if there’s a community of safe people around us as a foundation. Several people here at iMonk provide that for me. Fortunately, I have several friends at my church who are also safe.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Only if there’s a community of safe people around us as a foundation.

      Unfortunately, many church environments are NOT safe.
      Just the opposite.

  10. Dave Greene says

    “The difference is, our lives are not a Hollywood movie”

    I used to pretend mine was…

  11. Dennis Gannon says

    God showed me most churches were fake back in the 1970’s. The 501c3 tax exemption stopped most from exposing sin in the world. To some wolves, that was their excuse for avoiding “controversy”. I had 4 years of Bible college, 3 years of Greek and some Hebrew. I knew the doctrine level in most churches was near zero. Thankfully, I knew the Kingdom of God was growing, like the mustard seed, very slowly and gradual. We were out of the dark ages, the printing press had finally made the Bible available to almost everyone. Now we are repeating that age. The internet is showing everyone how shallow and fake most “churches” are. [edited by moderator for content]

    • Rick Ro. says

      –> “…stopped most (churches) from exposing sin in the world. ”

      Hmm… It has never struck me before that that was the church’s mission. Thanks for clarifying that. I’ll change my ways now, thanks to your loving post.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Exposing sin in the world” is also the philosophy of Witchfinders-General and Saudi/Talibani Religious Police.

        • Christiane says

          LOL, Headless, you are on today

          fundamentalism has its tentacles in all religions where fearful people are vulnerable to it. . . . . . just the misogyny alone in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc., when examined, has a similarity in its pulse.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Fundamentalism is a state of mind and attitude that can attach itself to any belief system, not necessarily a religion. And the attitude can transfer from one belief system to another, like the Ex-Fundy Christians who flip into Fundy Atheism. In the words of the prophet Charles Schulz:

            CHARLIE BROWN: What do you want to be when you grow up, Linus?
            LINUS: A fanatic.
            CHARLIE BROWN: Uhhh… Have you decided what you’re going to be fanatical about?
            LINUS: No… I guess I’ll just be a wishy-washy fanatic.

    • Why does it *always* come down to whose genitals interact with whose with some people? Non-hetero sexuality is not causing climate change, massive economic inequality, or the opioid epidemic, so far as I can see. How about we care about the sins of ourselves and our culture that are actually doing the most active harm to the world?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because Christians are just as obsessed with Pelvic Issues and messed-up sexually as everybody else. They just show different symptoms. VERY differently — “THOU SHALT NOT!” instead of “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!”

        And “Non-heterosexuality” is the OTHER GUY’s Sin, so it’s safe to Hate. The others might hit too close to home.

  12. Dave Greene says

    I don’t understand how the 501c3 tax exemption could stop churches from exposing sin, all it does is prohibit endorsing specific candidates from the pulpit. And now the churches that care more for politics than Jesus are challenging that prohibition so they can endorse the candidates of their choice, many are doing that in spite of the prohibition.

  13. Hi Guys, If I understand the purpose of this site, it is to help those who feel they should leave their fundamental teaching and believing church and are in a wildness of trying to find their way? I am just checking to make sure that when I am following the conversations and thoughts posted here via the comments I am on the same page This is a site where believers can come and express their questions about the foundation of what their church teaches? I read on the internet where a fundamental Christian , I never heard of, renounced Christianity altogether and asked to be forgiven for his past writings. Good for him if that is where he is led to do by his conscience. Did he do the right thing or should he have looked for another way to connect and keep his Christian faith, like some here?

    • Rick Ro. says

      Joshua Harris. Wrote a mega-seller amongst Christians called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” Amazon’s brief description: “Kissed Dating Goodbye shows what it means to entrust your love life to God. Joshua Harris shares his story of giving up dating and discovering that God has something even better—a life of sincere love, true purity, and purposeful singleness.”

      Yeah, this guy who wrote a book about having “found the way, here it is” just separated from his wife, renounced his Christianity, etc. My guess is that his own fundamental ways boxed him into a corner with his own church community, to the point he had no safe place to turn. That’s the danger of fundamentalism: if you suddenly realize the flaws and unhealthiness of it, you’re left with nowhere to turn.

      If he’d known about this site, maybe he would’ve found some sympathetic ears and held onto what little faith that remained on him. But without a safe community (or even a pocket of safe people within an unhealthy one), people like this find it best to do a 180 and just renounce it all.

      His story is also a reminder for us Christians to never glorify the latest, greatest author or book/idea written by fellow believers. We’re all flawed and capable of stumbling.

    • Rick Ro. says

      I wrote a response that might be lost in cyberspace. If it doesn’t reappear at some point, I’ll try again.

    • If you are referring to Joshua Harris, yes, he has apparently not only repudiated the courtship method he publicized in the 1990s, and his megachurch ministry, but even Christian faith itself. Now, some folks might want to simply say that he was never a real Christian to begin with, and that he has permanently cut himself off from any hope of salvation. I prefer to think that he got his views of God and Jesus so entangled with the moral and organizational mess that he was a part of, that he has jettisoned the former along with the latter. I also think that this is not the end of the story – that God can eventually help Harris find Him apart from the wreckage and baggage he is buried in at present. But that is God’s business, and Joshua’s, and not our own.

      • I hadn’t heard about Josh Harris. I just googled to see what you were referring to. He has always struck me as a kind and decent guy who unfortunately seemed to land in churches that had overly-intense and rigid ideas of how a person should live to “truly” be practicing faith. I’m assuming he was a Type A, eager to please people person and over time it just wore him out. I agree with you Eeyore, I think in time, with God’s help, he’ll sort things out. His faith seemed sincere.

        I wish generally, people employed more common-sense when approaching matters of faith. I think it may have been Chaplain Mike who once wrote that there is a difference in the life of faith between what others expect of you, what you expect or yourself, and what God expects of you. In the extremes of fundamentalism, the focus is typically pretty extreme on what others expect of you (and this manifests in all sorts of petty and silly rules all in the name of “pleasing God”) which causes you to have unrealistic expectations for yourself, and the constant loop of negativity can make you feel like you have to choose between an internal mental hell where you try to “please” God, or you have to abandon faith altogether just to feel normal and enjoy life.

        I feel like very little thought it given to what God actually asks from us……which seems to me to be believing in Jesus, and acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God. God bless Josh Harris, I hope as he works through his deconstruction, he finds his way to experiencing grace and peace.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          A bit more than just “seemed to land in churches that…”.

          He was the son of a Big Name Christian Leader (at least in those churches) and a “child prodigy” CELEBRITY thanks to IKDG, fast-tracked into a pulpit. Think of him as a Christianese Child-Star CELEBRITY, with all the baggage that entails. He was also sexually molested as a kid, which alone can mess up your head; add that to the sexual baggage you get in proto-Purity Culture (which existed before IKDG) and the curse of Early Success, and you’ve got a meltdown waiting to happen.

      • Rick Ro. says

        In case my post doesn’t show up, I’ll just tag onto Eeyore’s.

        –> “I prefer to think that he got his views of God and Jesus so entangled with the moral and organizational mess that he was a part of, that he has jettisoned the former along with the latter.”

        Yes, the problem with a fundamental belief system like his is that when you begin questioning it, you’ve boxed yourself into a corner with those who are your own church community. It really leaves you with no place to go, leaving you to suffer silently with no hope of getting healthy or jettisoning it all. Harris has apparently (currently) jettisoned it all (including his wife, btw).

        Randy, in theory this site is exactly for the Harris’ of the world–members of evangelical and semi-fundamental structures who are now questioning and doubting those beliefs/doctrines/theologies–providing a safe and healthy community where someone can pour out their doubts.

        We are all flawed and on the cusp of faith-shaking stuff, otherwise how else do you explain how the author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” described by Amazon as this–“I Kissed Dating Goodbye shows what it means to entrust your love life to God. Joshua Harris shares his story of giving up dating and discovering that God has something even better—a life of sincere love, true purity, and purposeful singleness”–how do you explain how someone like that falls away from faith in Jesus?

        To me, it means his own fellow church community wasn’t safe enough for him so share whatever he was struggling with. Internet Monk hopefully is such a place.

        • “(H)ow do you explain how someone like that falls away from faith in Jesus?”

          You end up condemning Harris for not being a “real true Christian”, and condemning people like us here for not being “honest enough” to choose atheism when we reject their paradigm of Christian Life.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/farewell-joshua-harris/

          • Wow Mr Gilbert’s compassion and sympathy for the suffering is so…absent. It has always astonished me how these folks who take the “my way or the highway” approach are so surprised when people choose the highway.

            • They have a very difficult time distinguishing between their way and God’s way.

            • If some of these people were his “friends”, he should be glad they are not his enemies. They come across as very unloving to me. Josh and his wife need time and space.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        From both my and Eagle’s experience, it’s common to jettison everything at first, swinging from one extreme to the other. Eventually the swinging back-and-forth damps out and you end up somewhere in-between.

        Unless you have a Fundamentalist personality; then you just apply the Fundamentalism to the other extreme and get stuck there.

        • “Unless you have a Fundamentalist personality; then you just apply the Fundamentalism to the other extreme and get stuck there.”

          I’ve seen that happen so many times…

  14. Dana Ames says

    Update on my daughter Lauren:

    I was over on the coast singing in the chorus at the Mendocino Music Festival for the weekend. Nothing for me to do at home but fret, so I kept my commitment with that and was much more comfortable in the cool weather. My husband kept me updated by phone. There’s no real need for us to fly across the country at this point. Lauren remembers what happened: she over-corrected her steering, thinking she had missed a turn, and her back wheel hit a patch of gravel in the process, thus launching her into a tree. This happened near the post office in the tiny town, so there were people around and the emergency crew was on the scene very quickly, and the hospital where she was taken is the Trauma Center for the area, so experienced medical personnel were able to treat her.

    Lauren had the facial reconstruction surgery Saturday afternoon, with both a bone doctor and a plastic surgeon, lasting 4 hours. Further surgery may be needed later, depending on how things heal, and she will need some dental implants in the future as well. All went well. All the scans so far have shown no damage to the brain or spine/nervous system, other than the slight concussion she suffered – thanks be to God – that is a HUGE deal… Drs are going to scan her knee, which was impacted, but they don’t really expect to find any other problem.. She will go home either tonight or tomorrow morning, with jaw wired shut, etc.

    She is highly regarded in her Army command, and they are making all kinds of accommodations for her regarding her next assignment (she was supposed to report there in mid-August). They are keeping on top of her military insurance claim process, too (hiccups have been known to happen with that, unfortunately). So she is getting good support from that angle as well.

    Deep gratitude to all of you for your prayers; please keep on as you remember, as healing from any extensive injuries is a process. I posted something this personal here because I knew I could count on your kindness. It means so much.

    Dana

    • Rick Ro. says

      Thanks for the update. TBI is probably the real fear, but if looks like she’s avoided that… Yay! Blessing!

      I will continue praying.

    • Christiane says

      Hello Dana,
      thank you for the update on your daughter’s condition, it sounds like she is getting good care, thank God. I know you have been worried, and I know all too well what it means to worry about a child in crisis, but please know that many here are praying for your daughter and for you during this time. That her spinal cord is sound is a very big deal, yes!

      All that reconstruction surgery and dental work seems daunting now, but it takes time for healing and for reconstruction and nature sets its own time frame. Please keep us posted. So sorry she has suffered and you have worried so much. This too shall pass. God Bless.

  15. Eeyore, Rick Ro. Julie Thanks to both of you. This is the type of feedback that I think is good , at least for me. I personally am a wait and see guy on matters like this. I did google Harris and it seems he is a pastor/author who urged a very strict view on dating and relationships. Perhaps more of the story will come how. I would like to know how his wife views his change of perspective. Of course , this is personal and if he retreats from the public limelight absolutely none of my business, if his wife remains silent , none my business. We will see how it unfolds. He will certainly get his 15 minutes of fame as he walked away from not to faith. That is todays world..
    You all bring forth excellent observations Julie, I also am a big believer in common sense in all aspects of our life. Sometimes if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and sounds like a duck it is a duck. In todays world we go for the very convoluted and complex. Appreciate you responses.

    • Dana Ames says

      Randy, Josh Harris and his wife have separated. That’s part of the fallout of the kind of church culture in which Harris was raised. He moved away from it in the last few years, becoming more willing to see the areas of uncertainty in life are not inconsistent with Christianity. He became “famous” on the Evangelical scene when he was still a teenager, and hung out with strict neo-Calvinists for a time as well. I think all that contributed to his current burnout. As I have heard about him through the years, it seems to me he is a person of good will. I think Julie above hit the nail on the head. I hope Josh will find that God is kinder than what he was taught, and I hope he will find better theology, too.

      If you have time, go back and read some of the archives at iMonk. You’ll catch the flavor of what the site has been about as you read Michael Spencer’s writings. It’s a place to ask questions, yes. Often you will hear things expressed that you may have been thinking but didn’t know other people were thinking about in that way, too. Some of us knew we still wanted to be Christian, but also knew we couldn’t stay on the path we were traveling, vor various reasons – therefore, were taking a trip through a kind of wilderness. Some have come out of it, some are still there. In spite of how we sometimes sound when talking politics 🙁 there is a lot of respect for one another here. Michael laid a good foundation, and Chaplain Mike has tended it well.

      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        He became “famous” on the Evangelical scene when he was still a teenager, and hung out with strict neo-Calvinists for a time as well. I think all that contributed to his current burnout.

        In many ways his experience/upbringing was analogous to a Child-Star Celebrity, and the tabloids are full of where that can lead.

        “Just like Michael Jackson/Macauley Culkin/Chris Paolini, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

        If he doesn’t end up self-destructing, there’s a good chance he’ll come around to a saner, more mellow form of Christianity. Nothing can mess you up like the Curse of Early Runaway Success.

  16. Eeyore, Rick, Julie, I made you 2 people , I work miracles.