A Faith That Works
Test the Spirits
We are entering a new age of faith. I agree with Harvey Cox that we are beginning an “Age of the Spirit” and moving beyond an “Age of Belief”.
The Age of Belief that I was born into and experienced with great frustration has been with us for hundreds of years. Through my years as a Christian seeking the Truth I have come upon one set of beliefs after another that fell short of bringing me life. They gave me creeds and theologies to believe in but all of these left me wondering what I'd done wrong. For many years I thought, “It must be my fault somehow, for surely they wouldn't be teaching these things if they didn't bring life. “ Sadly all of the well meaning people in my life taught me the best that they knew at the time but it usually fell short of my deepest desires. One friend even told me years ago that I “would never find what I was searching for.” She meant well but I rejoice that she was wrong.
The words of Christ that became the cornerstone of my faith and my search are from the gospel of John:
I have come to bring you life and life more abundantly. I came to bring
When these became my goals, based on trusting the words of Jesus, I began to rebel against believing the rules and regulations given out by institutions of faith and began a life searching for greater life and for joy.
I write now to tell you that the promised life of joy is real and is available to you. All I can do is pass on to you what I have learned that has worked for me. I have the advantage as a professional therapist to know that what I share has also worked in the lives of others. I have experienced transformation and been able to guide others into their own experience of it.
I genuinely do not see this as achievement on my part but as a gift given to me. Life and joy always come as gifts not as achievements. This is one of the core teachihngs that I have to share.
Although all of my life has come through Jesus Christ and His revelation of God's love for me, you must take what I share into yourself where you are now. Your faith may differ from mine and that is fine. In truth, this is the case with every single human being even if we subscribe to the same creed. We experience the Spirit in a unique one-to-one way that is then confirmed through community.
My community will differ from yours along the way but ultimately we will share the same community – all of mankind. Our hope and desire is that we will all come to love one another as the Spirit is constantly drawing us to do day by day. I must let you know at this point, however, that any Spirit that pulls you away from loving and being loved is not of the Creator I have experienced. Love is the essential element of God.
These are all familiar words for you I hope. Many people, many authors and speakers have emphasized this truth and worked to bring us together in love. What will be unique about my words? I don't know. But I do know that my uniqueness and yours may connect for reasons beyond our understanding. I write for this, trusting that many of you who read these words will find a connection through me that draws you closer to the One who created and loves us. Why and how that happens is a beautiful mystery.
My essential question regarding our understanding of our Creator has become and will continue to be, “Does this work?” Does it bring me joy and love and transform me into a more loving, authentic human being? If it does then it must contain Truth.
This is a way of “testing the Spirits”. I can say after 50 years of spiritual experience that this does work and it does bring life. I have experienced a lot during those 50 years ranging from the common place to the immediate expectation of death. During those years the Spirit of God has drawn me closer and closer and become more and more active within me as I have gradually learned the how of spiritual life. I will always have much more to learn about this than I know now but I know what I have learned can be of help to others.
The church institution has taught me a lot about what to believe (age of belief) but very little about how to live and experience it. The Spirit of our Creator is the how for our lives and it's exciting to know, as we move into this new Age of the Spirit that many are now focusing their attention here. I simply want to add my voice to theirs.
Written c. 2018, Copyright Ken Schmidt