Non-Religious Christian Spirituality

Conversations: Presence

Another email thread, another peek behind the curtain to see what may be relevant…

6/2/15, 5:52 AM

DM: Have you ever taken a side street on your journey? I have done so and it is turning out to be quite the cul-de-sac, and it has actually taken me quite a while to get back to the main path. I guess the way to describe my detour up the side street would be discouragement…

6/3/15, 1:34 PM

DB: Yes, I’ve taken many detours. I’m beginning to wonder if our latest project for the non-profit is one of them… Remember, though, that nothing is lost unless we lose it, learn nothing from it. That is, we judge our detours as detours because they don’t take us where we thought we were going, don’t serve our agendas or the outcomes toward which we’re working. But outcomes and agendas are not why we’re here. If we’re here to learn how to connect, how to be one with everyone and everything (as I believe Jesus is showing us), then detours are just as useful and valid as main paths. In fact, from the point of view of connection-as-purpose, a detour is indistinguishable from a main path.

When we find ourselves falling into disconnection, then we need to redirect of course, but we can do that on the detour as well as what we consider the main path without leaving either. I’m working on becoming much more aware of how I judge my moments—remembering that there are no insignificant moments except those as judged by agenda, that all moments are equally sacred once we find connection within them. And though I joke about our latest project, whether it succeeds or fails as judged by our agenda is insignificant against what we learn of connection through the process….

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DM: A pastor mentioned in a recorded message that God loves when we knock and sometimes allows us just to keep knocking and knocking. I would describe this as asking God a lot of questions. And sometimes if you ask long enough, and keep at it long enough, you will get some answers back.

DB: I’m thinking more and more how important it is to remember that God never withholds anything. We may experience a perceived lack of response, but God can’t possibly be more present than he is right now and every moment. He literally is the air we breathe and the lungs with which we breathe it. It’s just a matter of us tuning to God’s frequency, which is what knocking really is–not to gain God’s attention–we already and always have that, but to fix our own on him. And to begin to learn that any answers we get will not necessarily be specific to questions as asked, but will most likely break the line of questioning and evoke what is needed to show us that the most important questions in life don’t have answers. Only the experience of asking.

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DM: One of my pet peeves are songs we sing at church. I asked one of the worship leaders if he was ever conflicted that the songs that we sing so boldly are not what we experience for the most part. I don’t think he understood what I was asking and came up with a predictable response. The following Monday or Tuesday night I was driving and put on one of my favorite worship songs, which was asking for God to show up in His glory. As I pulled into my driveway, I felt the Spirit telling me that he would never just show up because we ask in a song, but that his presence would be experienced if people asked for the reality of the songs every day in their morning awakening and in their evening lying down, if throughout the day they kept this desire before them. I really was quite devastated by this because who is telling people these things? …we sing these songs so flippantly without realizing that we could actually experience them…

DB: This relates perfectly to the above bits. God doesn’t really ever “show up.” He’s already and always here, but we aren’t, so God comes in and out of focus. Big distinction to make. I know scripture describes God showing up and leaving, hiding his face, but that’s a typically Hebrew idiomatic and anthropomorphic way of speaking that is important to express as part of our human experience—as long as we remember that our music and our worship and our asking is not an incantation to bring God somewhere he’s not, but an experience to bring ourselves into presence with him: always here, always now. What you experienced in the car was just that: a tuning in that brought you to a new insight within Presence. Beautiful. And you may already know this, but I think it’s an important enough distinction to mention again: God is always here, always now, and always pouring out everything there is to pour…

Changes the way we think and choose if we really know this.

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