If you are just joining this blog series, let me give a brief detail of what you will discover. I have written this multi-part series called, "So, "what do you believe Stacie", as a way to share some of my thoughts that have led me to today, for the purpose of helping those who travel and seek as I have, and still do. My reasons for sharing what I believe are not to defend a position; but to instead, awaken further, those who are starting to open their eyes to who they really are.
I came out of an evangelical faith culture, and have now deconstructed and continue to re-construct my faith, leaving the world of fundamentalist thinking and evangelical living aside. I left that world for many reasons, one being, the huge restrictions and boundaries around EVERYTHING, which caused a great divide between me and other hearts, as well as an inability to speak a language that many could hear.
My book is touching so many people, and they are all in such different places on the path of this journey we call life. Different races, faiths, and cultures . . . there are many who are travelling "INTO THE FOREST" to find rest and they are from opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum. If I were still in an evangelical faith based system, I can guarantee none of this would be the case. No one except those inside the church would have read my words and even then, only a select group. The reason? I was taught to only speak one language; division.
LANGUAGE was very important to me as I wrote the book. I wanted ANYONE to be able to read the book and make a connection to where they were in life. And that leads to one of my main beliefs; that ALL peoples are held in the love of Papa God regardless of their place on the path. I hold no division in my beliefs now. We are ALL loved in this life and the next; we are ALL being ministered to by Love Himself now and in the forever.
I wrote my new book (www.therestingtraveller.com) in an open language; a vernacular, that is inclusive and understandable by all walks of life, because I believe that more hearts on this globe need to realize that Love is with them. To me, it matters not what you believe, because Love does not have boundaries, and thus, I wanted my words and pictures to be open that even if you don't believe in the same God I do . . . that you could still see the message of His love on every page.
I speak broadly, leaving the messages to be found by you the reader as a tour guide in a gallery, instead of a teacher giving a lecture in a classroom. That is the beauty of writing in allegory and metaphor: the mind and heart unite to interpret and decipher and connect without the words ever speaking directly or firmly. I didn't want to be the sound of someone giving a theology, but instead someone speaking of an adventure and inviting you to come along.
An example of that, is how I speak of "God". Though I speak of God; whom I also call Papa, He is written in terms of him/her and he/she, and is found to be speaking as characters such as "Raven", "Earth Mother", "The Great Season", and "JR" to name a few. A divine being is presented in broad terms and recognizable images, making it easy for many hearts to connect with the concepts and messages, the main one being that Love is with us at all times, and His mission is to show us who we are.
This Divine Being described in many ways throughout the book, is for ALL of humanity and comes in many forms to reach us in our suffering. This God has no boundaries to stop generous love from finding us. That concept was foreign to me in my years of evangelical church. The God I knew had so many restrictions and boundaries holding back His love, that love itself became almost unrecognizable.
I wanted the Universal Father whom I call Papa, to be seen for who He really is: a Being who is found in all things, able to hold us and care for us—found in the fullness of love and never with any wrath or anger, no matter the situation. I desired to project the image of His greatness aside from the stories that portrayed Him as a monster and have told lies about His kindness. My book was an attempt at unveiling the truth of GOD'S being, to be found as fully and ever loving with no if's, and's, or but's. And that picture; I wanted it to be seen by the groups of people who would otherwise never see Him as such, or who have never known Him to be so good.
I see how varied the path are of those who are connecting with my book, how beautiful each one is in their unique way, with wonder in their unique stories. My ability to speak in larger more open terms has allowed many people to be touched by Love and open up their own story to be furthered along in the forest. My language of openness and care, has allowed for healing to occur and THAT is more than I could ever ask for with paper and ink.
But here's something interesting that has and is occurring as I reach out to those beyond the traditional church: I am becoming blacklisted.
I am followed by people of multiple faiths, varied "gods", and countless beliefs. I have relationships with people from around the world who have wide perspectives on theologies and I engage in their conversation; even learning from them and finding truths and rest within.
And because I converse, commune, and speak to many, because I am followed by people outside of the evangelical circles, and because I share in much of the wisdom given by the tribes around the world; evangelicals and those in a fundamentalist faith systems find that disturbing—they do not like that I am not confined to the box built by them.
Because I can connect with people who follow the teachings of Buddha and even agree with them!, or because I see the wonder in crystals and other amenities from the earth; I am deemed dangerous. They see my unmarked boundaries or rather, no boundaries at all, as a sign to them to put up the defences. Because I do not live in fear anymore of the unknown, and because I am willing to erase all I know to learn more than I have, this scares many in western evangelical circles.
How do I know this? How come I can speak this so clearly and with such confidence?? Because I have been there, I have felt the same things and said the same rhetoric. I have been afraid of things and people I did not understand and I have followed the "rules" simply because I was told to by someone. And so I recognize that fear and the halt in how they now treat me as I emerge as my true self, because I have stood in the same shoes they do. And aside from that, I deal with their divisions each day as they unfriend me, unfollow me, and tell others to do the same. I have lived that world, I understand it very clearly.
Yet, here's the thing; I don't care. :)
To me, my life and the believe I have in Love is that I am hear to show love to ALL whom I meet. Not for purpose of "converting them", but for purpose of showing them a cup of cool water on a journey that can be dry and unforgiving at times. You don't need to be in a special club, or follow certain rules for that to happen with me.
I believe that it doesn't matter what you name God, if you even believe in a god at all . . . Love Himself is big enough to speak to you wherever you are, in whatever you believe, on whatever part of the path you walk. I believe that Love, as I call Him Papa, is big enough to hold you in this temporal life AND the next . . . even if you never say a magical prayer or turn your life towards anything marked faith, hope, or love. I believe God is bigger than death; period. Love breaks every boundary that we as men and women try to erect and He cracks open every prison we put ourselves in.
I believe God manifests on this earth as LOVE, and ONLY love. It is man who has turned His name into a weapon and a tool of fear. I believe that Jesus was the fullness in form of Love, sent to show us how big God was; sent to show us that everything we humans believed about God was inaccurate. Jesus was trying to tell us that the god of Moses they had been following was not the image of His Father at all. Jesus was trying to say, "Look at how forgiving we are, even your hate is met with our Love. We do not return anger for anger, but instead love that covers all things."
I grew up to believe that God was to be feared, that He sent plagues and desired sacrifice from the Old Testament on, until Jesus came and changed Gods mind. . . how absurd. Jesus was sent to show us the very opposite. Jesus was the manifest form of WHO and WHAT love was; completely giving of even His own life for the love of His fellow man; His brothers and sisters. Jesus was what God had to say. He was the image of God; someone who did NOT demand sacrifice, who loved those who were outside of the house of laws; Jesus was someone who held the hands of those that society cast to the side. Basically . . . Jesus came to say "YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN BELIEVING A LIE."
And in those bold words that He proclaimed, He stood for the breaking of all the divisions of religion, and still does today. And YET . . . it is in religion itself; (I speak in broad terms here) that people say Jesus lives. How sad.
I want to show people that Jesus isn't who they think He is. That even if you don't understand who He is, or you want to follow another being and learn from another teacher . . . He doesn't shun you or cast you from His presence. He holds you and embraces you, and His love is SO large, that He can speak to you EVEN if you don't know He is near. He can speak to you in any religion, any path, and any faith; because all He needs is an open heart and open mind.
People are reading my words and though they do not always find their own journey the same in the finite details; they are resonating with the love that is found in each word and the overall understanding of the journey itself. THAT right there; that is success. If more people in this world can travel rested and discover that Papa is with them, that Love embraces them no matter what the journey brings . . . then I have done a job well done. I will continue to erase the boundaries drawn by man for me, and speak openly of the constant molecule of Love that permeates everything around us—and I will do it in a language that appeals to many and is heard by the masses, even if that doesn't draw me favour from the church.
Let us unite and feel the beating of our hearts.
Let us put our hands upon the chest and understand that we are the same; we bleed the same blood.
Let us hold one another close and hear the breath that is constant for us both; in and out.
May we find ourselves in peace no matter the symbol upon our hands.
For we are one. We are the same. Let religion no longer separate our union.