Marinating

phoenix flowersI’ve been too preoccupied to blog this past week. I was writing something that felt big, and then it received feedback, and then I changed it, and I received more feedback, and now I’m almost back to Square One.

Except that I’m not at Square One. I’m at Circle One, or something. Something different. It’s not the same Square One.

Often I feel like Life is a series of cycles. I find myself thinking, “Haven’t I been here before? Haven’t I felt this before? Didn’t I learn this already?

It’s easy to feel defeated. Like I’ll never learn.

But then I stop and reflect. I have been here, I acknowledge. But this time it’s deeper. It’s a new layer.

So it’s like Life is a Big Spiral, and I learn the same lessons over and over again, but I learn them at deeper levels in me. I peel off layers of ego and address the same issue more thoroughly.

In his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero calls these cycles or spirals “stages of faith.” In his description, these cycles are characterized by walls that we eventually recognize and pass through and heal from. When we don’t recognize and pass through the wall (or break down the wall), we don’t grow.

I don’t know that what I’ve been experiencing this week is a wall. It’s more like the universe handed me an interesting opportunity to really dig deep and think about the kind of person and Christian I’m becoming. Since my entire educational experience K-College was a similar opportunity, this feels like familiar territory. Except I’m choosing it this time. I’m choosing to revise and revise again.

This week I’ve been digging and writing and talking and thinking and studying and revising. (Have I mentioned that I REALLY LOVE the people in my life who are helping me with my book? Like REALLY LOVE! Cannot imagine more incredible fellow travelers.)

Here’s the biggest thing I’ve been marinating in: a slideshow of a presentation Brian McLaren gave a few months ago. If you flip through it, you’ll have to imagine the filler comments he makes.

In the presentation, McLaren describes two kinds of Christians:

1) The Strong, Hostile Kind: “We have the only way. You are going to hell. We are God’s chosen. You worship false gods. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated — or eliminated.”

2) The Weak, Benign Kind: “It doesn’t matter what you believe. All religions are the same. All roads lead to God. Only sincerity matters. Doctrines divide. Keep religion private.”

McLaren goes on to wonder if there’s a third kind–a new kind of Christian:

3) The Strong, Benevolent Kind: “Because I follow Jesus, I love you. I move toward the ‘Other.’ I break down walls of hostility. I stand with you in solidarity. You are made in God’s image. I am your servant. I practice human-kindness.”

So…  I’ve been marinating in this third kind of Christian, wondering how to enter the debates about Christians practicing yoga and yoga in schools with this third way. More to come, I’m sure.

 

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