All Things to All People

In order to become all things to all people to win some does not mean that we become well versed in wearing multiple masks to please a multiplicity of people. We are not meant to divide up our soul and portion it out as other souls demand pieces. This is impossible for we are finite people. And it is the worst kind of slavery for it is disguised behind the mask of good intensions. In order to become all things, we must first find freedom that John the Baptist spoke of when he said, “I must become less so that God can become more.”

To become less is not to diminish your substance so that God’s light can take its place, but to be a recollected presence of singular intensity that God shines brilliantly from within. The task of the spiritual life is to bring back into one place our distracted existence, our people pleasing ways, and disordered desires into a singular love in which all other loves find their proper and ordered place. We are free when we release our duplicity, consolidate our soul into one Love, and integrate all of life in a singular direction from that point.

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Ways of knowing

There are a few ways to know something. I can watch a YouTube tutorial on how to play guitar. I will know how the guitar is played but I will not know how to make my fingers do what I know how to do.

Another way of knowing is to practice and teach my muscles to know how to play guitar. To combine knowledge and experience is to know something objectively and subjectively.

Ideology is to know about theology. To read another persons thoughts about God and think they are now my own because they sparked a chord within me. This is only the starting place. We must then teach our soul to know theology so that ideology can become a deep conviction.

And the journey of making ideology a conviction will refine both the conviction and ideology with experienced wrestling with God.

False Self

The fake you cannot be loved because it is not real. The fake you can impress others, it can get things done, it can get promoted, awarded, and paid well.

BUT one thing that fake you cannot do is love and be loved.

It is not real because God didn’t make it. Only God is the CREATOR out of nothing. We are only the namers and cultivators of what IS.

Adam was given the task, not of creating out of nothing, like God did, but in naming and cultivating what God had made.

So in order to be loved, you cannot fabricate a false identity, you have to name the YOU that God has made, and then cultivate it.

This whole process of “becoming real” is the way we “work out our salvation in fear and trembling” as Paul said in Philippians.

Fear Disguised as Faith

I’ve often disguised my fear as faith. I often say things like, “I am waiting on God.” or “I have faith that one day God will…” Waiting on God is a good thing, even a necessary thing, but it is never passive. There is always something to cultivate.

God has given me everything that I need to become the kind of person He created me to be. All the raw material exists within my soul, already. It is up to me to partner with God’s Indwelling Spirit and find the freedom that only a disciplined life will give.

When life goes passive because we are waiting for God to do something, it is often because we have the FEAR to ACT, to step up, to show up, and do the daily disciplines that cultivate a readiness to receive from God.

I have found that if you create space for God with daily disciplined routine, you will find that He has already shown up and has been waiting for your action to partner with His.

Morality or Wholeness

As a person, it is better to be whole than moral. This might seem counter intuitive if you have grown up in a religious context that kept a close track of your behavior. But as I found out, morality is too low of a mark to aim for, because we can hit it on our own. Morality can become one of our fake selves used to impress the religious.

If we divide up ourselves among our many tasks, responsibilities, and obligations, and pretend that small division is our whole, that division might ask some other parts of us to sellout part of its integrity in order to get a task done. When we live in direct contradiction to our self, we are not whole. Our many divisions become a fake selves and our presence is greatly diminished.

But wholeness is different. It involves integrity and unity of out inside and outside life. Soren Keirkagaard said that purity of heart is to will one thing. Wholeness is to align and aim all of our existence toward ONE THING. For Mother Teresa it was serving the poor, for Dietrich Bonhoeffer it was a community of justice, for Thomas Merton it was contemplation in action. If we recollect our distracted existence into a unified whole, then we bring a great flame to whatever lies before us. Even becoming moral.

Trust Your Soul

Much of my early religion taught me to distrust my own soul and to place my “trust” onto exterior authorities: the Bible, Doctrinal statements, denominations, leaders, etc… God was to be experienced through logic and never contaminated with imagination or emotion.

I believed that these purely logical authorities were free from the contamination of my own fallen desires, emotions, and actions. I distrusted my own soul. I didn’t know who I was. My experience of God was second hand, filtered safely through my mind, and confirmed by outside sources.

It is a subtle way that fear disguises itself as faith.

The soul, however, is our inner authority in direct contact with the Indwelling Spirit of God. The soul has been breathed into and brought back to life and stands upon the foundation of God. I have not abandoned outer authority, I have learned what they are for. They are the cleared, well worn, proven pathways we use to come into transforming contact with our own soul, and our God, for they dwell in the same place now.

Courage or Conformity

It’s all the rave to be outraged. But I’m not sure we remember how to be outraged in a way that is constructive. Hot topics of our day, and those who promote one side of it, demand our conformity. Sign this document. Side with us. Vote this party. Share this post. Outrage has become viral.

If you follow the stream uphill, to the source of our outrage, often times you will find fear. We fear that we might end up on the wrong side, we fear that others might end up on the wrong side, we fear that getting on the right side of the ideology will fix it, so we try to get others on the right side of the ideology and fix the world. All from the confines of our 5 inch screens.

Conformity is another way that fear disguises itself as faith.

Our soul is much more compassionate than our outrage, and much more courageous than our initial desire to conform. If we really quiet ourselves on the inside, we can communicate from a much more compassionate place, treating other souls, not as commodities to be won over in our ideological wars, but as people in need of freedom.