Friends, I am coming to you today with some very exciting news. Many of you may know that one of my foremost passions in life is seeking to build bridges between very unlikely people, groups, and ideas, in order to promote a more integrated and united world for the glory of God and the good of all people. This passion has taken me to some very interesting places and has allowed me to interact with some amazing people over the past few years, causing spiritual revolution of sorts to occur within me. As I have interacted with people from across the spectrum of Christian faith, I began to realize that my narrow understanding of God, while valuable, was not all encompassing. I realized that God was doing amazing work through people and groups who held beliefs that I couldn’t even begin to understand and I saw God working in places that I never thought possible.
Over the past year in particular, this passion for bridge-building has grown beyond Christianity and into the diverse world of religion and spirituality. Through interactions with close friends, mentors, and public religious figures that are far outside of my evangelical comfort zone, I have also begun to see how God is even working in powerful ways outside of my Christian faith. Now I know that a statement like that causes a number of red flags to rise in the minds of many of my Christian brothers and sisters. So, let me explain.
When I look at Jesus, I see a Rabbi who was always going to the places and hanging with the people that nobody else in his religious community wanted to associate with. Jesus regularly interacted with sinners, the outcasts of society, and even those who held different beliefs then he taught (the Samaritan woman?). Jesus was a bridge builder. His ministry was one of adapting his message to fit the context, culture, and spiritual language of the men and women he interacted with. Now, Jesus’ audience was almost always Jewish, so we see a lot of Hebrew Spirituality show up in the teachings of Jesus. But following in Jesus example, we can look at the Apostle Paul and see a very eclectic, well-educated man who understood the religious ideas of the Roman Empire and adapted his message to make sense in that context. From the very beginning of our faith, there has been a tradition of learning from other spiritual traditions in order to find the thread of Truth that lay at the center of every system of belief. Once that thread of universal Truth was identified, the Gospel of Jesus could be shared from that place of common ground.
And it’s this thread that intrigues me. The more that I have studied the world’s religions and spiritualties, the more I have become convinced that all humans are longing for the same thing. We all are longing for a relationship with God. And every spirituality shares a common message at its core. Or, to put it christianly, the seeds of the Gospel exist in every religious tradition. God’s Spirit is at work and is moving all around our world, in every region, every community, every spirituality, and is revealing the Gospel to all people. But in order to discover these seeds, we have to be willing to set aside our fears and prejudices against those of differing spiritual and religious beliefs than ours and allow ourselves to learn from them. When we humbly admit that none of us has the whole Truth and all of us are on a constant search, then we are able to come to a common table and begin to engage in conversations where we can share the best of our spiritualties and religions in order to benefit one another and discover those core beliefs that connect us all together. As I have engaged in this practice more and more frequently over the last year, not only has my relationship with God flourished, but I have begun to live in constant awe and wonder at the amazing work that the Spirit is doing everywhere, every day.
It is from this place of awe and excitement that I have felt the nudge of God to start a new endeavor called Project: Awaken, the newest blog to be hosted by the Patheos Spirituality Channel. Project: Awaken is a blog and podcast that seeks to connect us to the freshest voices in religion and spirituality from around our world in order to help all of us awaken to the work of God’s Spirit all around us, introduce us to spiritual practices and ideas that can revitalize our relationship with God, and most importantly, discover the Truth’s that unite us all. Project: Awaken isn’t going to be like my current blog Revangelical (which will continue to exist, by the way!) that offers political, social, and cultural commentary from a faith-based perspective. Instead, Project: Awaken will primarily serve as a home base for interviews, reviews, spiritual practice guides, and guest posts from leading spiritual voices from around the world. I have been working with a number of major organizations, leaders, and networks to partner with me to offer you truly the best of the best content and resources to aid in your spiritual journey and am so excited for some of the ideas that are brewing around this new endeavor.
Now, I want to make something very clear to all of my readers- this is not, I repeat, not a “slippery slope” away from my Christian faith. I am not seeking to move beyond Evangelicalism. I am not secretly a “Unitarian Universalist” (though I love my UU friends!). A big part of this project for me personally is to attempt to demonstrate what a more humble, tolerant, and integrated Christianity looks like in our increasingly inter-connected and pluralistic world. I want to demonstrate that one can have a robust Christian faith, while acknowledging the validity and work of God in other traditions beyond our own. I have never been more committed to following Jesus and have never been more rooted in the Scriptures in my life. Yet, I have also begun to taste and see how learning from others wisdom and practices can amplify the intensity and quality of my personal faith, and I so want to share that with all of you. I hope that you will join me on this journey, setting aside the fear that often arises in these types of situations and trusting in untamable Spirit of God to be our guide on this journey towards awakening.
The blog will launch next week on the Patheos Spirituality Portal with some very exciting new content from our first major partnership…you definitely don’t want to miss this! So stay tuned.
I really do hope you’ll come journey with me over at Project: Awaken while continuing to engage with the content here at Revangelical! These are exciting days ahead and I look forward to walking this path with all of you!
Grace and Peace-
**P.S. I am currently in the process of finishing up a book and launching a major social justice campaign, so for the next month or so, both blogs will be slower in regards to fresh content. But don’t worry! We’ll be back in full swing later on in the fall!