To start, you can check out¬†All About Me: A Short Spiritual History¬†on my original website that i hand-coded in HTML¬†around the year 2000 (and the rest of the website is accessible from there).¬†As everything there¬†was written so long ago it is hopefully more immature¬†than i am now¬† ? and is written somewhat "off the cuff."
I first became aware of the site ChristianGays¬†as i was trying to write a document that would summarize why Christians should accept gay people as they are and support marriage for gay people.¬†I had included a link to an article on Mary's older site¬†and realized the link had changed. So i contacted her, we chatted and she ended up¬†posting the document here as an "eBook" (wow i wrote a book!).
(Let me note before i continue that i write using¬†lowercase "i" on purpose, as i believe that selfishness is our core problem as humans (so it makes sense that¬†Love God and Love others is the answer to our problems and the way to "heaven"); and it just seems to me that capitalizing "I" all the time can't help but not help.)
How I Met God
Back in 9th grade i felt like nobody understood me and how shy i was, not even teen advice columns. I got "saved" at that time during Sunday school as we read Psalm 139
(i had a¬†RSV):
1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!
2 Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
The instant we read verse 4 i felt the presence of God in my head! I knew that He KNOWS¬†me! (Since then i've¬†realized that¬†God is likely not "male" but that's a topic for another post.) I can never explain that amazing moment and i have considered whether it was something i drummed up myself out of need or delusion, but that is hard to imagine; and since then i've felt the presence of IT many times in deep ways. No theology, even if it was somehow proven that Jesus never existed, can ever separate me from IT, from God, that overwhelming and undeniable presence that pours over us like liquid love and washes away everything else.¬†
Later in college i learned about Zen and the oneness of opposites, so i could no longer believe in what i might call the oversimplified or literalized concept of heaven and hell, and since then i've been deconstructing what i would call the literal or "standard" view of Christianity. In many ways our modern, "mathematical" or literal understanding of the Bible doesn't fit the original culture or meanings. There is also a lot of theology left over from Constantine and the Catholic church, and the Bible is still full of Greek words which have become part of a "Christianese" lingo and narrative that i think blocks people out.
As a kid my dad had explained that the creation stories at the beginning of Genesis were just that, stories that explained the world and our relationship to the universe and God. So i was already open to non-literal interpretations. I also like that my name is Thomas because i identify with "doubting Thomas" the disciple, who shows us it is OK to doubt and question, as Jesus will still show us the way!
What Am I?
Labels are always inexact, but i tend to be¬†a panentheist. Pantheism is the belief¬†that "God is everything" but panentheism is the belief that "God is everything plus." Here's a good definition from Philosophy Basics:¬†
"Panentheism, (also known as Monistic Monotheism), is the belief...¬†that the physical universe is joined to God, but stressing that God is greater than (rather than equivalent to) the universe. Thus, the one God is synonymous with the material universe and interpenetrates every part of nature (as in Pantheism), but timelessly extends beyond as well. The universe is part of God, but not all of God."
For me that grows out if what i was taught as a kid, and it seems like many if not most Christians agree with this; that God is omnipresent, or in everything, but it¬†seems like we don't really incorporate this concept very often. I'll explore what God actually is in a¬†later post. We also have to consider the ramifications of what it means that God is omnipotent (e.g. How can God have a "plan" if he already knows what happens?). A¬†great exploration of all kinda stuff like this¬†can be found at The Revealing Science of God at The Church of Yahweh.
I also tend to be Unitarian. Years ago i went to a Unitarian Universalist church. Everyone there was great and it was all good, but the service itself just seemed too "intellectual" for me. Not that i'm not, in fact i might¬†overthink things ? , but i just don't remember feeling the SPIRIT like at many¬†Christian churches; although i might try again sometime.¬†
None of this to me excludes Jesus as the best way to know God; we just have to open our minds to the ramifications of all the things he says.¬†A core truth for me is that GOD IS BIG. As humans we are definitely limited in our capabilities and perceptions, which is part of "missing the mark"¬†(="sin").
So i'm not totally sure what to write about here on the site. I will discuss my understanding of Christianity, how i learned about actual gay people, and how they relate i guess! What i don't want is for people to think i'm deconstructing Christianity to the extent that "of course he can accept gay people, he's not even a Christian." Make no mistake, there is God and i believe Jesus shows us what IT is.
That's all for now, thanks for reading!