A journey of discovery-part 1

Several years ago I was at what I can only describe as a spiritual crossroad. I was facing some serious issues in my life and I was searching for some serious answers. My minister, as any minister would, suggested I look in the Bible for guidance. What I liked about the way he phrased this was that if the answer to my questions were contained somewhere in the text, I would need to find it. With the help of a highlighter and Harper’s Bible Commentary I discovered that exploring this ancient document with the guidance of people much smarter than I was made the words I had glossed over for so many years come to life with a deeper meaning that had seemed to escape me before.

Purely by chance, I bought a special edition of the U.S. News & World Report magazine in the checkout line of my grocery store. The sensational title “Secrets of Christianity” grabbed my attention. Inside this publication adorned with a classic portrait of Jesus looking more like a European gypsy than an ancient Middle Easterner from Galilee, I was introduced to religious scholars and authors such as James Tabor, Marcus Borg, N. T. Wright, John Dominic Crossan, Dallas Willard, Bruce Chilton, and Karen Armstrong. I discovered that here were people, respected theologians, who questioned the most scared of texts, the King James version of the Bible; and they were not just questioning it, but were adding content and answers to it as well. Their books and articles exposed me to a new belief system, a faith-based on the actions and words of a Jesus I hadn’t known existed. Having been indoctrinated by the conservative political and religious views of the geographical area in which I lived, worshiped, and worked, it was as if, to borrow from Marcus Borg, I was meeting Jesus for the first time.

Over the next two years I read well-over 100 books about the Christian faith. Some very mainline, others extremely controversial and revolutionary. My mind and my heart buzzed with excitement about the path I found myself on but it was a path I was walking alone. At the time, I attended a men’s bible study hosted by a very conservative church. For over ten years, every Friday morning I had breakfast with twenty other guys and we discussed some bible verse, lesson, or book with a very fundamental bent, God is good, God is all-knowing, Jesus is the only path to salvation, etc. My journey was taking me further and further away from this groups core beliefs, beliefs that had no middle ground.

We rotated each Friday who would lead the lesson and discussion. As my turn approached I wrote a lesson based on the book of James, a contentious and radical text often overlooked in the whole but sampled, out of context, in sound bites for sermons. The short answer on the receptiveness of the group to my lesson is, that was the last time I had breakfast with those gentlemen.

The journey continues.

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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29 Responses to A journey of discovery-part 1

  1. Patty says:

    ‘Purely by chance’…really? 😉
    Curious about the follow-up of this journey. Hope you will have (considering the circumstances) a lovely weekend. Kind regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant! The road less traveled my friend! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Lively Life says:

        Lol. Of course.The end of my phrase is the beginning of yours Mr. Ends and Beginnings! I was surprised it was the last time you met with them- but maybe I shouldn’t be and maybe I wouldn’t be if I knew what all your’speech’ entailed!

        Liked by 1 person

        • My “speech” in a nutshell: There are too many that profess a belief in Jesus that have grown more opinionated, insulated, judgmental and not very compassionate towards those who reside outside the realm of the cross. The term neighbor seems to be accepted as literal truth, an idea that those we should treat with compassion and love should already be with us, for us and not against us. Yes that did not go over very well, but I have never played well with others any way.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. i love where you’re going with this …can’t wait for your next post as the ‘journey continues’…thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like my experience with organized religion. I’m still looking for spiritual answers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dawn, I am not the sharpest knife in the draw but for me it’s a journey of questions not answers. If you think you have all the answer then you are no longer on a journey, matter of fact you might be dead and just not know it yet :). Thanks for reading love.

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  5. I read “The Jesus Dynasty” and was quite shocked…the product of a church-affiliated school we automatically believed Jesus would be celibate etc. so this book pointed out some pretty obvious things, like as a 30 year old Jew he would probably be married and so on…I also read a book that theorised he survived crucifixion and actually died as a 70 year old man at Masada…don’t remember the name of the book…what do you think? I

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    • There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there. The authors I listed (including Tabor who wrote “The Jesus Dynasty”) all have a place in the exploration of the Christian faith. Karen Armstrong has written many wonderful books about religion. I highly recommend the “The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam” A great book that covers the thoughts and beliefs of three faiths. I have a wonderful used book store in my community. It has been my experience that people will buy a faith book, highlight the first couple of pages, get bored and move on. I bring home great books at cheap prices much to my wife’s protest.

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  6. I will look out for her books, I’m a regular at book fairs, shops etc. to the point they know me by name..it’s a fascinating subject for discussion and controversial, due to archeological evidence. Can I ask why the study group was all male? There’s a lot about the Sacred Feminine that tends to be ignored-had a sharp talk with a Jehovah’s Witness about that…!

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  7. Just curious..theJW man said the women served as “soldiers” which struck me as wrong on so many levels..metaphorical cannon fodder, implied indoctrination to name two. He annoyed me actually as he wouldn’t accept the viewpoint that faith can be a matter of choice, as a result if individual exploration…I’m ranting…sorry

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  8. Hi – I found your blog post strangely inspirational – I don’t mean that to sound offensive – Far from it! I was raised in the Catholic faith – through the Catholic School system which included some heavy bible studies. I find the iconography created by faith beautiful and, through years of analysing the intelligent beautiful language used to structure biblical passages, I developed a real interest in biblical literature, painting and sculpture. However evaluating the text as I had spent years doing through university English degrees I became further atheistic. What I’m trying to say, in a longwinded fashion, is that when I began reading further into ‘religious backgrounds’ I became more cynical and mainly envious of faith. Whereas you came across texts that went beyond sermon and became a confident believer. I got the impression that it enhanced your faith.

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  9. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part 3 | Ends and Beginnings

  10. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part 2 | Ends and Beginnings

  11. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part 4 | Ends and Beginnings

  12. faith and logic cannot co exist.there is no middle ways in the faith.in john 17;9 jesus prayed only for those who believed in him and those who r going to believe in him in future,not for the entire people in the entire world.God’s compassion is applicable only in general blessings such as rain,air,light,etc.it s for all.but.not in specific blessings..,able to know God is a special blessing,it is not based on one’s logical seeking but purely based on God’s selection that depends on grace.I have a similar view that the belief in the jesus christ projected /understood in any denominations of christianity has a negative effect on our attitude towards others

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    • First and foremost, I want to thank you for reading my post and for taking the time to comment. It means the world to me. Second, that you take one phrase, one sentence out of all of the tens of thousands of phrases and sentences offered in the Bible to drive a point home is why I have trouble with your logic and the logic of most Christians. You CANNOT sum up the works, the thoughts, the direction, the emotions of Jesus Christ based on one sentence taken from a chapter of a book written 100 years after the death of Christ, a book that has a notable bias against the Jewish faith. Why? Because it was written to propagate and prop-up a new religion (have you ever noticed how different the Book of John is from the other Gospels, I have and the reason is clear, it was written to fill in the holes Paul had dug). Jesus wasn’t trying to start a new religion He was unsatisfied with the direction His was headed-in, as I am unsatisfied with the direction mine is headed.

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  13. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part 5 | Ends and Beginnings

  14. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part 6 | Ends and Beginnings

  15. Pingback: A journey of discovery-part last (7) | Ends and Beginnings

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