A few weeks ago within the depths of my being I felt something missing. I felt the place where I had held Jesus high now empty. It was something that was weighing me down. Normally I did not notice the emptiness until I was alone and it was quiet. The silence set in. Where I once prayed I did nothing.
This frightened me.
I know that within me is Christ. Whether you believe what I believe or not I do not care. But, over the past few years I have deconstructed my faith. I deconstructed it to a point where I closed the door on God and removed God from my life.
No prayers, no reading, no studying, and absolutely no forgiveness.
A Bible literalist is once what I was.
Yes, Genesis happened that way. Yes, Jesus was the result of the virgin birth. Yes, Jesus died and was resurrected. Of course anyone who saw the scripture differently or wasn’t part of my specific religious practice was wrong and most likely off to burn in hell. Pretty simple right?
I took all those beliefs and trashed them upon my entrance into prison. The books I had access too opened my heart and my mind in the end, but at first it hardened everything in me to absolutely everything about God. Anger really started the process. Locked up for a violent crime. A violent crime that never took place. Rightfully pissed off I was.
My mind-set was: those asshole Christians forgot about me, an asshole of a Christian Judge for Kent County screwed me, and my pastor friend disowned me and he’s an asshole. No one asked me my version of events. No one seemed to give a shit. Just added to my anger.
I remember speaking out loud that God and Jesus were complete bullshit. Absolutely a waste of time.
Quite the ridiculous deconstruction if you ask me now.
The books I read were from all kinds for spiritual practices. The good in them made it impossible for me to believe if someone chose not to label themselves a Christian they would end up in hell.
I have been home going on eighteen months and I attempted service at the most recent church prior to incarceration when I first came home. It did not spark any interest in returning to my faith.
Moving on I was happy, even without Sunday’s worshiping a God I no longer thought was real. I remarried a minister’s daughter. Go figure right? We are now expecting a baby boy. We picked the name Oliver Aaron.
Wait, strong biblical names?
Something deep within me told me I needed to name my son to fall in line with a faith I no longer believed in. This is when I realized we can’t run from Christ. We don’t return to Christ. Christ never goes anywhere.
When things started to slow down and I had more time to think about thinking I realized I may have tossed too much of my beliefs out when I deconstructed. I started to remember why I chose Christianity over other beliefs.
I do not have to believe the Bible to be literal. I do not have to take it at face value. I do not have to have zero doubt. I do not have to claim a denomination so I go with Christian Mystic. I can love and appreciate the story of the virgin birth, the flood, and Genesis as a symbolic way to express something much deeper than the stories at face value. That’s okay. My beliefs do not have to align perfectly with other Christians. I think that would be tragic for the Christian faith honestly.
How boring life would be if we were all programmed the same.
What do I have to do?
I must love. I must sacrifice. I must live as closely and similar to Jesus as my Being is capable of. This doesn’t mean I have to be a bible scholar. This doesn’t mean I have to agree with everyone. I am one of the fallen. Jesus taught to people just like me.
I do not stress the importance of original sin. I believe and push on original Blessing.
My belief will differ from the next guy and the next guy’s beliefs will differ from that guys.
That’s life. We can still love one another and sit on the foundation as Jesus as our Messiah and through his Way we are redeemed from our sin. Everything after that is up for personal interpretation. My imagination may not perceive scripture the same way as others. That’s okay.
It isn’t easy. We are people using our imagination to deduce something that was written by another people using their own imagination and perception.
If anyone thinks we are supposed to all take it the same way they have missed a great deal.
My faith today is one hundred percent with Jesus the Christ. Jesus and Christ. Not just the man, but the Great Consciousness behind, within, and in front of this man.
Returning to where I started this. My reconstruction. I want it. I desire it.
My faith is with Jesus but I have not felt my return to him in full yet. It is coming. My progress has been different from normal. Usually I would jump head first into something but if there is one thing prison taught me is to be careful about my choices and who I involve in my life. I can never be sure if I am meeting an angel or a demon without slowing down and letting the Spirit discern it for me.
I want to be part of something that is bringing people together. That includes people of any race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and past sins. You know, like Jesus!
If Jesus came today and chose twelve new disciples I am pretty sure it would be a group of homosexuals, minorities, criminals, and women. Why? Because Jesus is a radical and for him to be radical in 2017 he’d have to do more than pick a few liars, wimps, and a tax collector. We wouldn’t care if he picked those guys.
We’d shrug our shoulders and say, “big deal.”
How about a Muslim? I bet he picks a Muslim.
I have moved forward. I have picked a new congregation to try out. Why do they interest me more than others? Well first off I sent an email of my history and did so to a few different churches and one responded with love. The others? Have yet to hear back.
This place meets in a brewery a few times a month to discuss doubts openly.
A brewery? To discuss Jesus and doubts? With drunks and sin around? Yes
I’m in. I feel this is where Jesus will be before he is in any church building. It was his thing. To be radical. To be different. To not conform.
Now we do still meet in a building on Sundays but the response and the groups I’ve looked into really seem to fall in line with my current reconstruction.
This does not mean I will not return to my previous church. This is my reconstruction and I need it to reconstruct the best way possible for my family and me. It will be a continual process that I believe will take me to new places and new light and back to old places with new light.
I still wake up pissed off some days. When I think about prison I try to see it as a stepping stone in my journey towards my True Self in Christ. Some days I just see the face of the person whose lies put me there. I’m human.
We aren’t supposed to do this perfect. It isn’t supposed to be fun and safe. Christianity isn’t safe. Just like open boarders aren’t safe. But, it is the Jesus Way.
If you are questioning your faith and you’re scared to fully come out of the closet with your doubt you must do it. You must in order for your own spiritual growth. I left Jesus only to find myself back with Jesus. Allow yourself to experience something new, to be uncomfortable, to not conform to your families beliefs simply because they’re family.
Be radical. Be a badass. We are all in this together and as long as love is in action throughout the process no one of any belief system has any grounds to say a damn thing.