Search for the Mystic – A Reversal of the Time/Space Continuum (1.3)

Welcome back.

What would change if…

There was a form of the Christ following movement that was a lay movement built not on a geographical proximity nor on shared physical space, but on cyber-proximity and shared cyber-space?

What do you think?

Scroll past the story below and make your comments.

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In search of the mystic (1.3)

Her hands were perfect. Every finger seemed exactly the right length and there seemed no discernible change in the smoothness of the skin from her fingers through her thin wrists and into her arms. Beauty, however, is not just about hands. It also includes the kind of technology one sports. She had a Mac, a sleek and silvery temptress indeed. Excellent, I thought. Signs of a wireless connection.

“Getting a signal?” I asked.

She nodded her head once and dropped her eyes.

For an amazing city, Barcelona is poor when it comes to easy-to-find wireless access. This Starbucks was one of the few places –in fact, the only place – that I had found where one could connect with the rest of the world. I had originally scheduled to travel to this wireless Hot Spot the next day but I just couldn’t wait. I needed to upload photos and post to my blog.

Barcelona is also lacking in kingdom links and threads. This beautiful city, while rich in church buildings, is poor in communities of faith of the kind that seek to make the world a better place. Those conditions always make me feel right about being there.

Have you ever felt angst in the center of your being?

Sometimes I just feel like I must be more and do more because humanity down to the last man, woman and child is locked in an epic battle. It’s not that I “have to.” It’s not that I “want to.” I simply must. Usually, I take a sip of wine or take a couple of aspirin and lay down until the feeling goes away. But it never fully leaves me. It just waits until the right moment to strike again.

Who will reach this young woman with the perfect hands? I thought. Who will reach the world my daughters and sons will live in?

Every time I travel someplace new that seems to be in primal need of the news that Jesus crushed death, this angst lessens. I know that seems backward. Don’t get me wrong. For six years I served in key leadership roles at one of the great churches in the world. A church with amazing leaders, an amazing congregation, and an amazing vision, still the angst was there.

Not boredom. But violence.
Not an existential absence of meaning and purpose. Urgency.
Throbbing silently.
Calling me.
Not to something better just something other.

I made a peace with this primal longing long ago when I realized it would always be with me.

I pulled out my power source, the correct power adapter and plugged into the power outlet. I set up my Sony USB cradle, docked my DSC-TI digital camera and then connected it all to my PowerBook G4.

With all my gear out and in the open, I knew I would not be able to leave even to go to the bathroom without putting everything away and taking it with me. “Professional bag thieves,” the sign to my left warned in both english and spanish, “operate in this area.” I was stuck there until I was ready to pack it all up.

I hadn’t noticed, while I set up my gear, that the young woman had closed her laptop and slid it into it’s sleeve. I opened my webmail, and as I simultaneously launched iPhoto in order to begin importing my pics, she stood.

“Because the entire universe depends on it,” she said.

I looked up.

“You’re not supposed to be here today,” she said. She slipped a textured piece of paper on the keys of my laptop and spun quickly on her heels. She looked back and pointed at my Mac. “Anywhere there is wireless and an open laptop, there may be a manifestation of the Mystic Nation.”

I almost knocked my table over getting up and as I began to go after her I again saw the sign.

“Please keep a close eye on your personal belongings at all times.“

I looked back at my gear and then back to the street. As she she stepped out she met a young woman with excellently curled brown hair. They spoke a second, looked back for a moment then turned and disappeared into the crowd.

I’d already suspected for some time that The Mystic were more than just the urban legend I had at first suspected, and this wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened to me since I launched my blog, “into the mystic,” but it was the closest encounter yet. And again, it was almost as if they knew where I would be.

I sat and picked up the piece of paper the young woman had left behind. It was a page torn out of a journal. A hand written and dated entry.

“Warriors needed in a quest to save the universe one planet at a time starting with Earth. Safe return doubtful.”

into the mystic…

Alex McManus

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44 thoughts on “Search for the Mystic – A Reversal of the Time/Space Continuum (1.3)

  1. I think there is huge potential for this. I think it is something that is starting to happen but really must happen. It’s a whole different dynamic of “church” but there are millions of people who’s primary place of connecting with the world is now in cyber-space. Can we afford to ignore that?

    (Thought you might also be interested in article on a virtual church venture supported by the Methodist Church in the UK. Not sure if its still up and running though.)

  2. Wow.

    Alex, I’m seeing the threads developing all over. We’re surfing and weaving and finding ourselves in conversations we would never do “in the flesh”, and I’m slowly starting to ask the real questions that bring honest and sometimes unresolved answers.

    When I first met you, I was doubtful that your vision for this electronic community could survive. I doubted that it would have longevity, but there are those who must, and in their passion for connecting, they will.

    I’m a bystander for now, but as I see my own little blog reach beyond my own little web community and touch other worlds, I am starting to see the potential.

  3. Alex, interesting stuff, I know I am enriched, inspired and supported by this growing mystic nation and more threads seem to connect all the time.
    With Erwin’s growing presence on the church “scene” some seem to be turning their evangelical guns on him and Mosaic. I felt duty bound to respond to a recent tirade about Mosaic encouraging “hyperindvidualism.” I am not sure how any one can make that claim when Mosaic LA is about the most racially diverse congregation in the country and they were speaking from a nearly all white college in the Mid-West!!!
    However it did raise some questions for me ..
    What about with the Mystic Nation how do we defend oursleves from this accusation of “hyperindividualism” that what we are doing is not genuine community but simply linking individual people who can’t face the challenge of real physical community face to face with people? I know some would claim that the “mystic nation” is simply disgruntled people who can’t get on with others close up and that the whole concept undermines the genuine physical expression of the Body of Christ?

  4. I feel angst when I read this blog, but also exciement. I was spending time this week with a friend of mine building a community of mystical warriors in Mozambique, who told me of a black church pastor in a rural area where he was travelling. People were eating the roots of trees to survive in this community. This pastor knew that he must tell this community about Jesus. He could have left with his education to one of the cities, but he stayed with this community. What is more he was planning to reach two more districts in Mozambique that was also crippled with hunger and thirst, yes for food and water, but crucially for Christ. I love the idea of people sacrificing to live the adventure of Christ.

    In South Africa we have Mystical Warriors, that I don’t doubt! This brings excitement and adventure to our dark continent. Whether they all have access to the internet that I doubt!!

    Good stuff Alex! Love to read more about the “Search for the mystic” It creates a sense of urgency!

  5. Alex,
    Your post suddenly made me feel at home again. I have recently stepped down from all my church positions, not because it isn’t a great church, but because I feel called to something more. The waiting and praying about the something more has taken longer than I wanted, of course.

    When I read why you felt you had to change from being in leadership at a totally amazing church, I then understood it was OK and there is more, much more out there that can be done. Some I go to church with have expressed much concern over me stepping down, but there came a point when I knew I must. God has put a couple causes on my heart and just this week I think he is narrowing the focus. All your recent posts have really resonated, especially the kingdom finance one. Thanks for making me feel I’m not crazy and alone in this.

    ~Kristi

  6. I think that such a movement would best be described using an old-fashioned one – REVIVAL. There is no real revival apart from impact, ownership, and leadership among lay persons. From my own roots in the Wesleyan-Holiness traditions, revivals in the 19th century were fueled by laity. There was of course catalystic leaders, but the holiness renewal movements were interdenominational and linked via periodicals. The Internet serves as a perfect (and cheaper) 21st century equivalent. Through our network of blogs and web pages, we can disseminate information, share stories, and provide biblical/theological reflection.

  7. james,

    a long time ago i stopped trying to defend the church to people who must make a point to criticize other’s ministries. if some ministries weren’t reaching people, there would be no need to try to raise doubts in the minds of people about how genuinely christian these churches are.

    i have at least a couple of times been asked about a certain article that equates mosaic with some kind of eastern cult. i just laugh. i like to tell people to come to mosaic and discover for themselves what our community is all about. quickly they will find out that mosaic is a community of deeply devoted followers of Christ.

    we shouldn’t feel the need to defend or explain the mystic nation to anyone either. there is too much work to be done and too many people to love and serve in Jesus’ name… and who knows, maybe a little controversy might actually help bring more light to the mystic 😉

  8. Here’s what I think.

    The Kingdom would intensify—as if we were in the world but not of it—spreading like a virus.

    As the world view shifts from the Broadcast Era (1950-2010) to the Digital Era, we’ll begin to embrace the interconnection of apparently unrelated people, places, things, and events. Chaos will frighten us less and less and we’ll loosen our grip on our illusion of control. Together we’ll discover answers that can no longer be sought from an expert or authority. We’ll find that we don’t even have to have to have “the answer.” We’ll form a net around our ever shrinking globe. A deafening cyber-cry will radiate from our silent planet.

    I long for the driving force of this cyber-movement to accomplish God’s mission, that we would surrender our lives in exchange of its pursuit.

    “Warriors needed in a quest to save the universe one planet at a time starting with Earth. Safe return doubtful.”

  9. “Think of it. Hundreds of millions of dollars that would no longer be used to maintain the property of stagnant churches but instead placed again in the hands of the regular people who believed enough to give it in the first place?”

    good idea. we agree. 🙂

  10. James,

    Good to hear from you.

    The Mystic cannot exist without f2f connection and community anymore than it could exist without the internet.

    To put it in the positive, the Mystic must have f2f connection and community in the personal dimension.

    The Mystic must have cyber connection and community in the cyberworld in it’s dimension as a movement.

    A word about critics…we live in a period where the critic [or the cynic] is perceive by some as an artist. In fact, they’re just critics.

    Thanks.

  11. Also, please let me remind everyone to read the “into the mystic” disclaimer. Please absolve Mosaic and their leaders from anything written here. The ideas presented here are my creation and mine alone. In fact, I’ll reprint the disclaimer here in it’s entirety

    “Into the Mystic…” is the personal blog of Alex McManus and does NOT represent Mosaic, ORIGINS, AWAKEN or the Mosaic Alliance.

    The ideas presented within “Into the Mystic…” are exclusively the responsibility and property of Alex McManus and should NOT be understood as coming from, belonging to or representing in any way the above mentioned organizations or their leaders and spokespersons.

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    I’ll be waiting for you…in the mystic.

  12. Hermann,

    If we forget the poor we forget God.

    My understanding is that more or less…a third of the way into the 21st century, one third of the world will be connected via the internet, and the other two thirds will have barely ever used a phone.

    The Mystic exists to mobilize those who live in the future to remember those who’ve yet to experience the advances of the developed world. AND to point both worlds to God’s coming kingdom.

    Mystic warriors will be like fingers reaching into the world of the forgotten and touching them in the name of Christ.

  13. “Mystic warriors will be like fingers reaching into the world of the forgotten and touching them in the name of Christ.”

    Now, you’re talking. The church is a place for people to come face-to-face with God, and handle the basic introduction. After that the church should help them find out who He really is, and encourage them to follow His lead. You can’t change the course of a big organizaiton by pushing on it one at a time. You have to infiltrate it with powerful people, whose effect will combine to redirect it. Perhaps in ways mainstream churches don’t like…

  14. I think a lot of what we are talking about is important. My frustration with the church is that it often sees itself as an end in itself not a means to an end. The end is the ushering in of the Kingdom. Those in established churches might well look at what we are talking about an accuse us of seeking to bypass the church and the hard work of community in ushering in that Kingdom. We must prove them wrong through our cyber and physical community and see what we are doing as not in opposition to the church but as an new expression of it.
    I am doing some fairly intense reading of patristic theology and early church history. The main lesson I am learning is that the the church has always morphed its structures to impact the culture it faces. The problem is when some looked on the structures of previous generations as the structure for all generations. I think Columba who set up a missional community on Iona to evangelise the British mainland would have understood why we are setting up a missional community in cyber space to evangelise our world.

  15. We must have f2f… I am having conversations outloud with my mystic friends….. on my walks in the woods. My dog even knows I am talking about someome else. This is weird, Alex.

    And I can’t leave right now. I must stay put in this area, and I must be worshiping with God’s people, and it’s more and more difficult to do so.

    I try not to participate in any pejorative church talk -Already done that, learning not to do it anymore. It’s a process especially when I know that I know that I know God is in control of the wholllllllle thing and he has included me. How cool is that?

  16. Alex
    The Mystic was in Nashville on Sunday night as 18,000 people sang “Fix You” with Coldplay at their outdoor concert. I’ve not felt it’s presences that strong before. I was actually in tears several times. It’s as if God was saying…” I am here. These are people I love so dearly and my heart breaks for them. Your heart must break for them too. How will you respond?”

    Thank you Alex for being faithful to the must. We are wrestling with these financial questions and heading in an exciting direction. This conversation is energizing and encouraging.

    Lights will guide you home…

  17. I think that it has already started, this website is proof of it. The potential of what can happen with the internet is still and probably always will be discovered new again every day. I will bring up something that I’ve felt reading the other comments and the posts from this site……
    I feel like a lay person in a party of those who have PhD’s. Makes it hard for me to “fit in”. The reason I’m still here is I realize the potential of what we do here, and being around all of you and your great comments, I know that I’m growing. So I just want to thank you all for helping me grow, and helping each other grow. In essence, this is a church on the internet, if church means a group of believers growing together. Now if we can just find the mystic warriors…..

    Peace

  18. I’m definitely excited by all this whilst also definitely feeling this comment: “I feel like a lay person in a party of those who have PhD’s”! I feel like I’ve walked in on a movie half way through…but it doesn’t feel like an accident that I ended up here. Thanks to everyone for all the comments by the way…its inspiring to see God at work in an through you all.

  19. f2f must happen, and is happening, and needs to happen more among the mystic nation… There has to be more in the midwest than just Michigan (hint, hint, JAMES). These f2f sessions have changed me irreperably..

  20. What would change? … ministry and mission would be returned to its rightful owners, the gospel would be gossiped in cyber space and over coffee all over the world. The gospel would become subversive again as regimes seeking to prevent organisations from spreading the Gospel discovered it now slips into their countries in the lives of ordinary people and through the web sites their people visit. Community would be explored in a new dimension. There would be explosions of spiritual power as these people gathered for worship and mission potentially anywhere in their country or world. Money would flow to mission and mission would become a Spirit guided adventure again. And that’s just what I can think of from the top of my head!

  21. Angst…longing…who will reach the world of my children? God, I long to see Your kingdom come! I’m intrested in discovering the metaphors that best express the Kingdom to our culture. Christ always answered questions about the eternal with relevant metaphors. I’m afraid that too many have lost the metaphors, swapping them for “church speak.” For me, the adventure began anew 4 months ago. We left our full-time ministry position to pursue the Spirit-led adventure into the Mystic…

  22. This is not the oddest thing I have ever read, but it is pretty odd. I belong to a church right now that is acting a little like an end instead of a means to an end…someone posted something about that and it caught my eye.
    The thing is, I am concerned about theology…I have heard rumors that the emerging church is less concerned about who God is and what that means for us than it is about forging relationships with others…forging relationships is critical, but on what basis? Some kind of (forgive me) mystical connection? Or God’s character? Sorry if this isn’t making sense. I have run into a few of Mosaic’s near and dear who freak me out with their unconcern for discerning God’s character–what has been made plain about him–they seem more concerned with making people feel warm and fuzzy. I am a pretty free spirit, artsy-girl, myself…poet, singer, song-writer, highly cyber-connected…chafing a little in my current slightly legalistic church…but y’all are still giving me the heeby-jeebies. Well, thanks for reading. Don’t take this as criticism…take it as spiritual and intellectual inquiry/dialogue…

  23. Jess, this is an interesting comment because my experience of Mosaic has been the exact opposite. I have been attracted to Mosaic because it has refused to make people feel warm and fuzzy and instead has challenged them to get involved in sacrificial mission in the service of the Kingdom of God. I have also seldom taken part in theological conversations of the depth and relevance as I have with some of the key players in the Mosaic movement many of whom you will come across in these blogs. To me Mosaic is at the forefront of reflecting theologically on how to contextualize the Gospel and the Body of Christ in the new emerging post-modern culture. Unlike many voices in the emerging church movement who are taking part in the same reflective process, Mosaic has maintained a very clear call to decision and transformation.
    I would say get to know Mosaic a bit better, go to Origins in May, if the CDs of past Origins are anything to go by I think your fears that Mosaic is atheological preaching a warm fuzzy gospel will be dispelled.
    Have you read “Unstoppable Force” or “Barbarian Way”? I would be interested to hear your opinion if you have and if you haven’t you really should to get a feel for what Mosaic is all about.

  24. James,

    thanks for your thoughtful response…I went to a service in pasadena and thoroughly enjoyed myself…I even have a copy of Barbarian way that I am working through…

    so, you know…exploration is good. I, um, ran into some people from Mosaic who just seemed to care a lot about getting people into church and making them feel welcome, without leading them to Christ…but that’s probably something you see at all churches…I guess I certainly have…

    anyway…thanks..

  25. Jess, listen to Erwin and Eric’s preaching, get them through the podcasts, I think you will hear a very clear call to decision. As I said this what attracted me to Mosaic, I think your critique holds for much of the emerging church movement, in fact I share that concern. Without sounding like someone who is in the pay of Mosaic (which I’m not) I think it is one of the few contemporary movements which has recognised that mission is about embodying, serving and proclaiming the Kingdom of God and is comitted to doing all three.
    I think people find the mystic language strange only because for so long in the Protestant church we have acted as if people are just a giant brain and have ignored how God encounters us through all the senses. I am a doctoral student at seminary doing pretty indepth reading in spirituality and I can say that Mosaic when it talks about the mystic dimensions of our faith is drawing on a long and spiritually significant tradition in Christianity not saying anything “new”

  26. I have had the pleasure of hearing Eric speak, and could only be delighted to get to know him better. I have not heard Erwin speak, and I guess I have to say I have heard conflicting reports–but this isn’t really about pastors, is it? Is it? This…idea, this…community, this…movement–it is more organic than that. Ideally, I suppose, it is less controllable than a congregaton of people in a church–by it’s very nature it introduces a level of theological and spiritual inquiry that can lead to both incredible truth and debilitating self(and then, maybe, mass?) deception. That’s not to say that I am not all for that–God’s whole…thing, here is based on the freedom to explore and choose, alongside the very real risk of believing lies and choosing wrong. This is one of the things that makes me love God, that he would give us this power. Still, I wonder, then, how we go about one step ahead of the wild-fire mystical community we create–how do we have the “right” answers available when someone we’ve never met, halfway across the world, asks the big questions that get stirred up by, say, a “mystic.” I know you must believe(indicated by your previous comments) that there are “right” answers–though it’s pretty popular these days to avoid that word in favor of less offensive ones like–“what works” or “what feels right,” etc. What do you think? Is that the point of all of this–this thread, this blog?–giving an answer for our hope?

    I think a whole lot of people can experience something mystical and spiritual–people can be experiencing it together, even, and be worshipping radically different ideals, gods, etc. If I take a yoga class, I have no doubt that most people in the room are experiencing something spiritual, something you might call mystical, but I may be the only one in the room repeating scripture in my head or having a meditative conversation with Christ. Am I making my point?

    I am all into mysticism when I know who I am being mystical about…anyway–I think we are in agreement, no?

    I personally want to avoid ambiguity–mystical or otherwise. And I guess that’s all any of us Christ-followers can do. I’m keeping my eye out, anyway. Thanks for discussing this with me. Your views have been helpful.

    Peace.

  27. Jess, this is an interesting discussion. I guess I would say Erwin’s preaching is important if you want to understand Mosaic because he understands his role in the church to be its cultural architect, that is it is his role to shape and protect the apostolic ethos of the church. Obviously preaching has part to play in doing this.
    I do believe in truth, I believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, in other words I am committed to personal truth not some absolute, abstract, disembodied truth. I am however wary of your remark that you want to do away with ambiguity. That seems to me to be very modernistic, the idea that we can arrive at all the right answers. I think we will always have to live with ambiguity, I call it mystery and it is a reminder to me of my of my limitations of my human intelect. I believe mystery is enshrined in the Trinity, my God is Trinity and using my rational human mind I will never understand what that means fully,I just embrace the mystery of a God greater than I can imagine. I also believe that God communicates with us through our senses, mystically in our spirits and that is not some secondary kind of knowledge. We don’t want to give into the rationalistic scientific worldview that the only realities are those we can comprehend with rationality.

  28. this is pretty interesting…ah, ambiguity.

    Sorry to have been so…ambiguous about my meaning…

    I do not ever intend to be ambiguous about the big things–who Jesus is, what he did, and what must be done to receive salvation. I don’t think I have to accept ambiguity on those issues…do you?

    Certainly…the trinity and God himself are shrouded in mystery. Why things happen, how God speaks and moves…sometimes the only thing to be done is throw your hands up in worship/confusion/surrender/anger or what have you and just accept what God does and who he is. And then, I hope, dive in to the fray and hang on for dear life.

    This mystery is undeniable.

    Christ, however, made no mystery of his identity, what he came to do, and what must be done in response. If you believe he did, please enlighten me.

    You are right about Erwin, and his significance, etc. Although…I was referring to this world mystic thing, which really has little to do with principal leaders right? I mean…no one “leads” it, correct?

    Also…you are a relativist? I find it hard to believe that you don’t buy into the idea of absolute truth. Like…Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life..for you, but maybe not for me? Is that what you mean by “personal” truth as opposed to “absolute, abstract, disembodied truth?” Please explain what you mean by those phrases. And…if you please, provided scriptural evidence (or, if you like, personal evidence–for example, if you had a vision in which Christ said something that caused you to believe his significance is contingent upon your personal feelings or opinions about him.)

    Thanks, James. This is fun.

  29. Jess, let me be clear I believe Jesus is unique and salvation can be found in no other name. When it comes to salvation in Jesus I am no relatvist. Now what do I mean by not believing in “absolute, abstract, disembodied truth” I am saved through personal relationship with Jesus, its personal knowledge, relational knowledge. Something happened in the enlightenment, truth became abstract, in the church it became studied as a subject in university, in a detached and objective way. What happened was people came to believe two things, what is important is knowing the doctrines not the person and second we can believe abstractly, it doesn’t need to transform you. As a result we have generations of people who think they are Christians because they KNOW intelectually the four spiritual laws rather than having a personal transforming relationship with Jesus. It worries me when people start use the language of “I don’t want ambiguities” because that is the language of abstract knowledge not personal relationship. If you had said I want to know Jesus as deeply and transformatively as I can, I would have agreed with you with all my heart.

  30. do you not agree that knowing Jesus involves knowing some objective truths about him?

    we are in agreement about what it takes to know jesus and be saved. Knowing Jesus is like knowing anyone–you know your best friend, you know “of” someone like…well, for example, I know of Erwin McManus, but I “know” my friend Suzanne. I would not consider myself in relationship with Erwin, even though I have met him once and know a few abstract facts about him.

    So—we are in agreement, then.

    If head knowledge without heart knowledge is what you are afraid you get when you seek to do away with ambiguity…ok, fine. I understand (though…do not agree)

    As I said before, mystery in and about God is undeniable.
    But it’s ok to say something about God is true, without fear. Knowing and believing certain things to be “absolutely” true about Jesus does not cheapen your relationship with him.

    My boyfriend is brave, sweet, honest, brown-haired, of average height, perceptive, skilled in martial arts and linguistics…anyone, I suppose, could know these things about him from a distance, but the fact that I acknowledge these abstract things to be true about him does not lessen our intimacy. I may speak in the language of abstract knowledge while engaging in an absolutely personal relationship.

    I, too, would like to know Jesus in the deepest and most transformative way possible… If Jesus is the lover of my soul, and I am the object of his romance-his bride, then– I suppose, sometimes I kiss Jesus with my eyes closed(mystery). And sometimes I kiss him with my eyes open(certainty). (not to be too romantical about it…perhaps I stretch the analogy of the Romance [see: Sacred] too far. Forgive me.)

  31. Jess,
    We are called to live by faith and not by sight and I fear by seeking to do away with ambiguity you are seeking a certainity that the Gospel does not offer. Absolute certainity is for the next life not this life. I am reluctant to use terms such as “absolute” & “objective” because they stem from a modernist philosophic system that is alien to the Scriptures, I think is unhelpful to understanding the Scriptures and is even now being abandoned in secular society. If you want an idea of where I am coming from I suggest you read Len Sweet’s books “Out of the Question…Into the Mystery: Getting Lost in the Godlife Relationship” I don’t go all the way him but its a pretty good summary of my views.
    As for going too far with your metaphor there is a long tradition in medieval spirituality of exactly the kind of language you are describing which may suggest you are experiencing something deeply authentic in Christianity.
    Let me guess have you been involved in a very conservative baptist type church or a Calvary chapel? Just interested

  32. Alright–we may just have to agree to disagree. I see where you’re coming from, I do.

    I still believe that there are at least a few things about God I can know and anchor myself to–perhaps I am just immature enough to still need the security that such certainty provides. C’est la vie. This is a journey, after all–this is my leg of it, that is yours.

    I didn’t grow up in the church–surprise, surprise? I am a latecomer—saved as a teenager, awakened as an-almost adult college student–and now here I am. You could call my (you are correct!) baptist church theologically conservative, but not socially, relationally, or in worship. Mosiac is a Southern Baptist church, I might add. But that is neither here nor there. A hallmark of Southern Baptists is that each church is autonomous–Mosaic is a thriving example of that. I did attend a Calvary Chapel briefly, but the way they clapped at the altar call weirded me out. This was before I was a Christian. I also went to a slightly pentecostal church a few times when I was a child. I rededicated my life to Christ at a non-denominational Christian church near my college. I read CS Lewis, a tiny bit of Kierkegaard, Oswald Chambers, and various other authors–that one book, The Ragamuffin Gospel…also the Sacred Romance. Books help to form my thinking more than sermons or indoctrination–also, I just ask God, you know? Why not just get it straight from the source? I read the Bible through my own eyes most of the time, but sometimes I see what others have written or thought about God’s word. I guess I’d have to say I challenge my pastor more often than I agree with him–I know that was more than you asked for, but I hope I have answered your question more thoroughly than I might if I had simply said yes or no…

    I have been wanting to get into Augustine for a while, but haven’t allowed myself the opportunity.

    One thing I do know–I would not be here if not for Christ’s redemptive power. He saved me from a fate worse than death. Here is another absolute–I would not be this girl without him. I was…not a pretty sight before. And that’s not being dramatic. He brought me up from a pretty deep pit—I like to think that on the way up, I got a fine glimpse of his features. That’s not something you forget. Perhaps this is why I cling so to a Jesus who has real, absolute attributes. I don’t know.

    I don’t “get” much. Sometimes I stare at the ceiling or the sky in wondering, exquisite confusion–“Who are You? What are You doing? Why?” And I think maybe then I am close to God…closer than when I think I’ve figured things out.

  33. And I think maybe then I am close to God…closer than when I think I’ve figured things …. “I don’t think we differ on very much if you can say this

  34. MYSTIC-

    M y voice alive with precious seed
    Y our heart responding out of need
    S piritual truths through cyber space
    T ouching the soul enveloped by grace
    I ntuitive outreach bypassing the mind
    C ollecting momentum with those of like mind

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