REALITY

scan0034Many years ago I found myself at a crossroads in my spiritual life. Having been sober for several years I began searching for an extension of the entity I called HP. Believing that sobriety had cleared my mind sufficiently to venture into the world of theology, I found what I believed to be a true path to a better understanding of God. Sincerity and fervor was not an issue; I wanted to be one of those ‘normal’ people who worshipped in churches.

A local community church promised to be the answer to my searching; it offered to me the ‘black and white’ of every issue which life raised; there were no gray areas. Promoting itself as inerrant, literal and true to the Word of God, this fellowship of Godly believers covered me with their version of righteousness.

Unfortunately, it did not accept the recovery program of AA as Biblical and I was encouraged to abandon the AA fellowship. They told me the AA program was an unacceptable theology for a true believer. In retrospect I know today that it was only by the grace of God that I continued to stay sober while worshipping in their version of godliness.

The dilemma of breaking away from AA and then leaving the church was not part of the sobriety script. It left me with a foot in both doors; neither fellowship fulfilled my need to fellowship or worship. I learned from this experience that theology, religion, and spirituality are not interchangeable words.

Theology is knowing about God or a God-belief system; religion is a personal walk with God; spirituality is the inner change as a result of that walk. Thirty years after that near fatal encounter with the inerrant literalists I joyously practice religion, graciously accept spiritual blessings, and warily keep an eye on theologians.

This evolution leads to the gist of my post: gaining knowledge about varying theologies is important to discernment, practicing religion is soul food, cherishing spiritual gifts from differing sources honors God’s inherent intelligence.

My self-identity as a Jesus follower does not ascribe me to any particular faith or theology. This journey I am undertaking has led me to revere and trust the historical Jesus as presented by numerous non-religious sources as well as the writings of early Jesus followers. It is my personal belief that when Rome established Christianity as its state religion, theology overshadowed religion and spirituality; thus resulting in the loss of the true message of Jesus Christ and the 1st century disciples.

My quest for spiritual sanity demands that I learn about other faiths and their messengers who have presented the truth of God to an unbelieving world; the God of my understanding, my HP, is universal and omnipotent using differing avenues to approach the unbelieving world.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:2 kjv

The author is not speaking in terms of the physical world, rather in the spiritual realm which in essence is what all scriptures are about. It is the spiritual manifestation of our desire for God. This verse speaks to me very clearly that my HP has room for differing religious persuasions, that there are many differing relationships with the Supreme Being.

AIN’T HE SPECIAL?

 

 

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There was a time when I thought I was somewhat unique.  Nobody, but nobody, in the world was like me, the good, the bad and the indifferent.  Yep, I was surely special.  Then day one of my recovery from alcoholism occurred and guess what?  I met a bunch of other people just like me.  What a revelation!

Then I knew that whatever I was thinking, someone else had thought the same before me. Whatever I was doing,  someone had done it before.  The phrase, “been there, done that” took on a very significant meaning in my life.  And I was no longer unique.

However, I can occasionally make side trips to that place called special and unique.  It feeds my ego, pumps my self-esteem, and ultimately puts me in a dangerous space in my sobriety.  The God of my understanding tells me that truly I am loved in his eyes, but I am just a grain of sand in the sea of humankind.  I am just one of a multitudinous flood of creatures who face the same issues; we dream, hope, grieve, worship, sin, worry, rejoice.  And it is guaranteed that each of us will physically die.

The only one who is special in this scenario called life on earth is our HP.  Who else could put together a bunch of bitter, demented, angry, back-biting, self-absorbed, whining, drunks and turn them into souls afire for sobriety and fellowship?  It’s got to be a God thing.  Nothing else is big enough, almighty enough, loving enough to make us over into something special.

 

REJOICE

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When was the last time you heard or used the word ‘rejoice’? I love rejoice. It sounds nice, feels good and just rolls off a happy tongue. I cannot be glum or sad when rejoice is on my mind. Rejoice is melodic and joyous. Its definitions in my Oxford dictionary fill my head with delight and celebration. I rejoice when I think of our Lord and his saving grace, his love for me, his correction and guidance. I rejoice when I remember my first day of sobriety, when I understand that it was the start of a long journey to a faith in something or someone greater than me. I rejoice when I realize that today is the day my Lord has made for me to face challenges and live victoriously in sobriety, not just absence of addictive substances or behaviors, but, actually live and conduct myself with a sober mindset. There is a difference.

Many of us live without our drugs of choice in a continual state of panic and despair. Call it a ‘dry drunk’ or a ‘recovery without spirituality’ or ‘absence of HP’, call it whatever you like; it is not what God intended for us when He brought us to sobriety. Therefore, rejoice and be glad in this day of your sober life.

Today I intend, by the grace of God, to rejoice, i.e. feel great joy, be glad, delight, exult, glory, revel, and celebrate in God’s gift of sobriety. With an attitude of great humility I know I certainly don’t deserve it nor have I earned it.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

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