All Paths Lead to God: Transformative Progression

In another one of his cogent articles, the Slackivist (Fred Clark) addresses the question about whether “all paths lead to God.”  His ultimate conclusion is that it is an underhanded question, indicative actually of a path away from God because its focus is not conducive to reaching God.

I get his point.  The “path” toward an omnipresent being is only a “path” in sense of “direction” (trajectory) toward godliness by what one makes of the journey and the elements along the path: transformative progression. After all, how can there truly be a path (linear prescription) to a being that is everywhere?  His reference to the story of the Good Samaritan was spot on as an illustration.

The Slackivist has thought a lot about paths, especially the “nature” of paths in both spiritual and physical senses, where unfortunately the spiritual sense is bound by the physical roots of the metaphor.  The thing that strikes me most is that the paths referenced by his “catechizing inquisitors” (bloody awesome term!) and in his replies (being bound by the inquisitors’ frame) are all established paths.  That is, the “paths” already exist by the time we get there, and that “following” any such path to God implies staying within the bounds of the pre-hewn trail.

So while I completely agree with the Slackivist that “Do all paths lead to God” is the wrong question, it really only goes wrong because of the physical referent (well, besides the pharisaical motivation).  It actually could be a legitimate question — one that opens the door to exploring a walk or journey where a “path” has been already blazed or it is in progress of formation — if one can maintain “path” in the abstract and its destination as more about “heaven” as the resulting condition of knowing God rather than a fairy-tale happy place.

I think that even the teaching that “narrow is the way that leads to life” does not necessarily imply a given trail with prescribed rules for how one places his feet in order to constitute a valid step along a path.  The destination is in the trajectory. Continue reading

Letters to Laurel — Keep Your Eyes on God

The following is a set of responses that I wrote to my ex-wife, Laurel.  I share these letters because they are reflective of the way I think about a topic that is close to me: Homosexuality & Christianity.  I hope that these thoughts will be instructive to others as well when finding themselves needing to reconcile religion & faith to the fact of the homosexuality of a family member. (I’ve changed and deleted personal matter that was either too personal or not directly relevant to the main points I wanted to make with Laurel, in case you were wondering.)
I’ve added section headings after-the-fact in order to facilitate comprehension of the whole.

A life with children … now that’s a full life indeed. No one can say that raising kids ain’t work. And being a “professional volunteer and Mother” — it’s not what I imagined you had planned for your life. But then, I didn’t really know you all that well. You had plans that either you didn’t share or I was too blinded in my selfishness to figure out.

A Little Perspective on Where I’m At

But I’ve figured out selfishness since then. Did a ton of theological studying. Wrote a number of treatise on the subject of sexuality and Christianity. And have been fairly well adjusted since! That’s not to say that my estimation of humanity has changed much. I still think that we humans are pretty much a cancer on the planet, consumed with our petty concerns and using God as a means to get to know ourselves rather than Him, arrogating unto ourselves knowledge of the divine Will that we don’t/can’t possess, and superimposing our pathetic (as in measly) capacity to comprehend over the top of the infinitely divine, hobbling what God can be to the minds of so many.

Continue reading

A Spiritual Path

Today on Facebook, I was compelled to post the following:

I do not claim to be Christian, altho I have a long & deeply studied history with the faith & various of its derivative religions. There are some really smart people who recognize that the “path” to heaven involves actual terrain, which merely following lists of rules cannot substitute for. People who understand that spirituality is getting to the core of the divine & not merely trying to mime a facsimile. For that reason, I read Slacktivist. His article on Sex & Money (part 3) is an inspiring example. His intelligent spirituality is inspiring for divinity’s sake.

The fact is, I am not a Christian in the sense that I practice any brand of Christianity.  My problem is that I so abhor how the faith is practiced that I simply cannot subscribe to it and the intellectual stunting that so often results in concentrated congregations of followers.  But I think that, within the guides (to wit, books) of many faiths, there is legitimate spirituality to be learned.   Continue reading