Yesterday I received a personal email containing some thoughtful reflections on “In A Spacious Place” (IASP) in response to my Friday post: “Devotion” https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/devotion/.

With the author’s permission here are the reflections and my responses:

Yours from this morning is the kind of post that gathers my attention ( and the attention of most of your subscribers, I trust) .

The post “Devotion” was a personal reflection on my need to implement practices in my life that help me awaken to the presence of the Divine at work in my life and in the world. The idea that posts like this one that focus on spiritual practice might “gather the attention… of most… subscribers,” is delightful, but sadly not accurate.

The statistics on “In A Spacious Place” demonstrate consistently that viewership increases in direct proportion to the degree of controversy touched upon. The use of the word “homosexual” guarantees a spike in viewership. “Hell” is a good catch and any current political controversy always generates a boost in views. If my aim is to gather more viewers, I should concentrate on politics not spiritual practice.

When the content shifted to scriptural interpretation, I glazed and skipped on to the continuation of your action and personal disclosure…

I confess I do feel a certain obligation to attempt to offer a different “scriptural interpretation” than those that are commonly on offer in Christian circles. The Bible is a woefully misrepresented and misunderstood book. Untold numbers of people with genuine spiritual longing have tragically missed the spiritual nurture in the words of the Bible because they have been, quite justifiably, driven away from its pages by the egregious interpretations to which it has so frequently been subjected.

In my personal life, the Bible has been a source of nourishment, sustenance and inspiration. But, like any profound ancient document, the Bible requires hard work and an open heart to benefit from the wisdom it embodies.

Your subscribers and I know ( and love) that you are a ” Jesus ‎man”, but I feel compelled to say that your offerings are “trans-Jesus “. In other words these gravitational words that come through you are completely contemporary life and truth expressions that reach beyond the historical  Christian perspective. I cannot help but think that, on occasion,  the Christ languaging may limit your audience. Your friends and parishioners know where you come from and I suspect are intensely interested in the wordless experience toward which we are all aimed. Your willingness to ” bare yourself ” is inspirational.

I like the idea of being a “Jesus man.” Jesus is my teacher, my inspiration, my model, and my vision for life. I am not sure I know exactly what is meant by being “trans-Jesus.” But, if the expression means that I seek to build bridges between the beauty and wisdom I find in Jesus and the truth I find in other spiritual traditions, then I am happily “trans-Jesus.”

I suppose it is true that “the Christ languaging may limit” my audience. But, this is the language of my tradition. And, while there can be a danger that such language may put some people off, I believe there is a more serious danger in abandoning that language in the interests of broadening my appeal.

All spiritual traditions come clothed in particular vocabulary. In order to go deeply into any tradition, it is essential to dig deeply into the language of that tradition. While I cherish parallels between various spiritual traditions, I also believe that abandoning the language of my tradition in the hope of increasing my audience share, risks falling prey to a superficiality that lacks the power to bring lasting transformation. Wrestling with received language that is steeped in ancient tradition is a path to deepening our ability to discern the presence and action of God in life. I lack the ability to create a spirituality with the power to last thousands of years and cross vast cultural barriers.

 Somehow your personal trajectory has placed you as a kind of Christian Renaissance man. Bravo life! ‎No doubt you will keep the candle burning, forever :-). Mysterious huh?

“Mysterious” indeed. I’m afraid I am not nearly smart enough to merit the label “Christian Renaissance man.” I am a pretty simple individual seeking to live consciously in the truth and beauty I experience in Christ. I hope to share the insights I glean on that journey and to join my thoughtful commentator in declaring “Bravo life!”

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