Tag Archives: worldview

Welcome Back, My Friends, To the Show That Never Ends

To all my friends and followers on SpiritualDrift:

Well . . . here I am again. I’ve not written anything here for almost a full year now. I’ve visited a few times, like an old friend in an old haunt with the old jukebox and the same old crowd. But I’ve not felt compelled to stay long enough to have any kind of conversation.  Maybe because I haven’t had anything to say. Maybe because I wasn’t sure if anything I DID have to say would even make much of a difference. Maybe because there were times I just didn’t care. Maybe because there were times I cared too much.

Each time I “revived” SpiritualDrift, I thought, “This time I’m gonna do it! This time I”m serious! Besides, I’ve GOT to keep writing these posts! I’ve got to keep my name out there!” But the one question I could never answer was–why?

Until now . . .

You see, writing is something that I’ve come to learn I’m deeply passionate about. For the longest time–most of this year, in fact–I wasn’t sure I was. I questioned a lot of things–my commitment, my talent, the “worthwhileness” of it all. But I’ve come to the conclusion that my passion remains. I have written a book (in the realms of fantasy fiction no less!), and begun a series, that I’m truly proud of, with characters that I love, in a genre that I never thought would appeal to me. After all, others (including good friends) have trodden this ground before. What do I have to say? What do I have to add? How can I make a difference, and make my mark?

Well, here I am, and hopefully the writing itself will answer those questions.

I am eternally grateful for those of you who have come along with me, stuck it out, come back, or are connecting for the very first time.  I don’t know if anything I have to say will change the world. But, if anything, I hope that what I write–be it fiction or non-, book or post–will make someone’s day a little brighter, make them smile, make them think a little harder (or differently), give them a bit of escape, or perhaps find a kindred spirit—in me, or in one of my characters.

In the meantime, I am going to be doing some serious looking at reviving SpiritualDrift, and my brand new site, Shadewriter.com, having to do with all things Fantasy, Suspense, and fiction related, will be up and running soon. And, as I said, my new book is finished and tentatively set for a mid- to late-January release.

As far as SpiritualDrift is concerned, I can’t help but echo (in fact, quote) what I wrote in a post from a year ago: I’m currently reading over quite a few of these old posts I’ve written over the past several years–some posted, some not. And, I’ve decided to leave them all up—as much for myself as for anyone else. These 400+ posts are an ongoing chronicle of my faith journey so far. Signposts and off-ramps. Potholes and switchbacks. All the different things, thoughts, and feelings, I’ve encountered along the way. It’s been a great journey. It’s been an ugly journey. But, over everything, it’s been my journey.

Honestly, I don’t agree with the “me” of several years ago. Nichole Nordeman put out a song last year on her “Every Mile Matters” CD called “Dear Me” that pretty much sums up how I feel about “me” now, and the “me” of back then.  If I can find it, I’ll post it below. But, suffice to say, I’m not the same man, husband, father, Christ-follower, that I was six months ago, let alone six years ago. Even more, I have no idea who/where I’ll be six months or six years from now!

If nothing else, I’m learning patience in this publishing process. Everything worthwhile takes time. There’s a lot that’s happened in the last year (personally, and professionally). And, there’s a lot that is going to need to happen in the next few days, weeks, and months. But again, here I am. Anything I write, from here on out–be it in book form, blog post, tweet, what have you, fiction or nonfiction–is something I believe in, something I’m passionate about, and something I feel driven to write.

Spiritual Drifters, I may not see you again for another year, and, you know what? That’s okay!  Again, THANK YOU to you all–my family, and my friends (new and old). It’s good to be back, even if it’s just this once!

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On #metoo… From a Friend

I pieced this together from a recent tweet by @rachelheldevans. I felt it was a great thread, not only from a Christian perspective, but from a female perspective as well. Christian men, we’d do well to listen…

This week: 1 James Dobson encouraged Christians to fast & pray for the protection  of a serial sex abuser (Trump). 2 When a mega-church pastor’s criminal sexual assault was exposed, he received a standing ovation from his congregation. 3 One of Roy Moore’s victims’ house burned down.
All of these stories point to why I’m sadly pessimistic about a #metoo-style cultural shift in evangelical Christianity (and, to an extent, the broader Church). I’m pessimistic because of the deadly combination of patriarchy & (as discussed recently) evangelical exceptionalism.
As I’ve stated before, evangelical exceptionalism understands “the world” or “the culture” to be filled with darkness & sin, teeming with people who are “lost,” and evangelicalism & evangelicals to be the sole bearers of light, the counter-cultural path to salvation.
White evangelicals perceive “the world” to struggle with racism & sexual immorality, but not themselves. Because of this, it’s rare to see serious efforts made at examining the ways racism & toxic masculinity/patriarchy are embedded in evangelical culture.
You see this so clearly in the fact that Andy Savage’s church rejects LGBT people, yet gives their abusive pastor a standing ovation! (This points to the reality that anti-LGBT sentiment is usually more about prejudice than a commitment to “sexual purity.”).
The fact is, evangelical culture (and, generally speaking, the Church culture at large) remains mired in patriarchy. So someone who is perceived as a “man of God” doing “God’s work” will almost always be protected over women & children. It happens. All. The. Time.
When Savage’s victim came forward, who did she face? Who was in charge of her church? Men. All men. When churches sideline women from leadership, a culture of patriarchy is inevitable and toxic, abusive masculinity can flourish.
But you won’t see many churches challenging patriarchy or abuse or toxic masculinity in Christian culture. Instead, you hear sermon after sermon railing against immodesty, cohabitation, sex before marriage, LGBT people – all those real or perceived “sins of the culture”.
In order to turn #metoo into #churchtoo, the Church in America, and specifically evangelicals, are going to have to muster some humility and take a serious look at how patriarchy, sexism, and toxic masculinity have infected their culture.
It’s great to see women like @BethMooreLPM & @KayWarren1 speaking out. But as long as church leadership & evangelical culture are dominated by men (who believe God wants it that way!) I fear the voices of women & victims will not be heard and nothing will change.
TLDR version: In the name of Jesus, smash the damn patriarchy.

…So I feel like this thread was too pessimistic and Oprah says we should be hopeful. So some hopeful thoughts: While the Church in America is perhaps not positioned to lead the charge against sexual harassment & toxic masculinity. There are some significant generational differences within the Church, including evangelicalism, that suggest attitudes are changing on gender & sexuality. I’m hopeful this means more introspective conversations about consent, inclusion, & patriarchy in the near future.
Also, our present cultural moment, as tough as it’s been, seems to have emboldened some voices of dissent among evangelical women. If evangelicals yield to their wisdom, there’s hope.

How Can Everything Be Sacred?

(reprinted from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations 1/2/2018)

The three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) teach that one Creator formed all things. There is thus a radical unity at the heart of the universe’s pluriformity, resolving any conflict between diversity and the shared “divine DNA” found in creation. This theo-logic allows us to see “the hidden wholeness” in all things and to confidently assert that “everything belongs.” The distinction between natural and supernatural, sacred and profane, exists only as a mental construct.

Unless we first name the underlying goodness and coherence of reality, along with our own imperfection, we will attack evil with methods and self-righteousness that will only deepen the problem.

You may be asking, as so many have over the years, “Richard, how can you make such naïve blanket statements like ‘Everything is sacred. Everything belongs?’ What about Hitler, nuclear bombings, ISIS, Westboro Baptists, and the United States’ epidemic of mass shooters?” I agree that we can and should name evil as evil. But unless we first name the underlying goodness and coherence of reality, along with our own imperfection, we will attack evil with methods and self-righteousness that will only deepen the problem. This is Nonviolence 101. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that the importance of nonviolence became widely acknowledged.

Evil lurks powerfully in the shadows, in our unconscious complicity with systems that serve us at others’ expense.

Further, Christianity has far too easily called individual, private behaviors sins while usually ignoring or even supporting structural and systemic evils such as war, colonization, corporate greed, slavery, and abuse of the Earth. All of the seven capital sins were admired at the corporate level and shamed at the individual level. [1] This left us utterly split in our morality, dealing with symptoms instead of causes, shaming people while glorifying systems that were themselves selfish, greedy, lustful, ambitious, lazy, prideful, and deceitful. We can’t have it both ways. Evil lurks powerfully in the shadows, in our unconscious complicity with systems that serve us at others’ expense. It has created worldviews of entitlement and privilege that were largely unrecognized until rather recently.

Once you can clear away the web of illusion you will be able to see that every created thing is still made in the image of God.

Only contemplative, nondual consciousness is capable of seeing things like this without also being negative or self-righteous. Once you can clear away the web of illusion you will be able to see that every created thing is still made in the image of God; every being has the divine DNA or essence. There is no profane place, person, or creature. We can even find the sacred in seemingly secular human endeavors like sex, food, work, economics, and politics.

“Christ is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). To see this is to have “the mind of Christ.”

[1] See Richard Rohr, Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005)

Do Better

Well, here I am: writing to get back into the habit of writing. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last blog post; over sixteen months since my last published book, These Threads of Faith; and, almost 2 ½ years since I’ve spent time with the Drifter Series in, The Privilege of Sin.
It’s not like fodder hasn’t been there. There’s been plenty of grist for the mill. But the muse has just been…gone. Setting pen to paper, or in my case fingers to keyboard, only filled me with a sense of frustration and bewilderment. With the past year’s events I’ve often been more irritated than inspired. 2017 couldn’t have been over with soon enough.

So now, here we are: 2018. Everything is new. Everything is filled with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. Everything is waiting to be reopened, reborn, like the first buds of spring.
Yeah, I know, I don’t believe that either. Continue reading Do Better