Reconstructing New Faith Practices

Reconstructing New Faith Practices September 11, 2019

As I continue to explore the need to move from Deconstruction of our religious faith into Reconstruction, I’m starting to recognize the need to replace our old habits with new spiritual practices.

For example, we may walk away from Church-as-we-know-it as we Deconstruct our religious beliefs. Sometimes it’s because we’re asked to leave due to our heretical views, or because we just can’t stand sitting through another sermon about how a loving God would burn people in an eternal lake of fire, or just because we no longer share much in common with those Christians around us who aren’t in the same place we are theologically.

Whatever the reason, our Deconstruction may lead us to leave the traditional model of Church we grew up with, or have become dependent upon. What now?

Well, in the same way that an alcoholic needs to replace the activity of drinking with something more positive, a former church-going Christian needs to replace that act of church attendance with something new that brings life and joy rather than reinforcing fear and control.

So, here’s a short list of things I recommend trying for those who find themselves outside the Church and yet still yearning for connection with the Divine.

First of all, we need to learn to create new patterns of spirituality to replace our old patterns of religion. That may take some time. Our brains just want to go back to attending another meeting on a Sunday morning because for many years we have reinforced that activity. Now we need to try something new.

What we need most is to shift from having meetings “about” God and move into experiencing meetings “with” God.

In other words, we need something more experiential and less religious. What’s most necessary is for us to redevelop our sense of wonder, awe and mystery when it comes to God. Rather than return to mindset fixated on “knowing” it’s important to shift over to a mindset of “wonder” and learn to take comfort in not knowing all the answers. [Because, let’s face it – we don’t].

 

Some activities that can help us redevelop our sense of wonder and place us in a new mindset for experiencing the Divine are:

  • Silence
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Nature
  • Service
  • Gratitude
  • Poetry
  • Art
  • Music
  • Laughter
  • Films
  • Creativity
  • Dancing
  • Cooking

All of these practices have the potential for drawing us back into a posture of receiving and experiencing God on an entirely new level. Some of these will be more effective for some than for others. We all need to find our sweet spot and take time to develop our discipline in practicing these experiences that have the potential to lead us into a deeper awareness of God.

As we begin to create new spiritual practices, our awareness of God and our connection with Christ will become more and more natural for us. Eventually, our experience will be an automatic shift from the mundane to the metaphysical with very little effort.

For example, my wife Wendy and I have been taking time regularly to sit in silence together and experience the presence of Jesus. [I call it our “Jesus Time”]. These sessions can last for an hour or more, and each time we both begin to sense the presence of Christ immediately. We wait on him. We listen to him. Sometimes we fell compelled to speak directly to Jesus. Other times we simply sit and experience the entire time in total silence, just basking in his presence together.

Wendy often feels a connection with God when she’s gardening, or waking by the river. I feel a connection with God when I journal, or meditate, or even drive alone in the car and talk with God. We’ve both experienced God’s presence when serving others or watching films together.

The point is, everyone will have a different connecting point with God and we all need to find our own socket. Once we do, the goal is to create new habits of connection with God that replace the tired, old religious meetings we once found so necessary, and now see as totally irrelevant.

For those who want help learning to develop new spiritual practices that lead to deeper connections with Christ, I’m putting together a 90 day transformational program called “Square 1” that starts Sept. 30.

At the moment, we have 5 seats available at half price, thanks to some generous donors. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, I invite you to join us at Square 1.

Either way, for those of us moving from Deconstruction to Reconstruction, it’s vital to develop new spiritual practices that lead us to life, joy and freedom.

Don’t you agree?

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

Keith’s newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David M

    In a way I can empathize with this. It is no surprise that people are put off by a religion that is seen as arid and doctrinal. But I think that a false dichotomy has been posed between something that is about fear and control on the one hand and something that involves joy, awe and wonder on the other. One of the virtues, as I see it, of the traditional religious approach is that it cultivates a sense of what we might call the dreadful majesty of the Lord. When we have this experience it can be truly awe-inspiring.

    This is something that I have felt when I visit ancient cathedrals. There is a sense of solemn grandeur in these places. One feels oneself to be on the edge of a precipice, looking into the infinite. This way of looking at things may not appeal to those who are immersed in the modern world. But perhaps it is the modern world rather than the church that needs to change.

  • Herm

    If God, by any name, is real and is spirit. Do all the carnal activities, listed by Keith, with God using your “image of God” (which is spirit) to share directly in the Spirit of truth. God asks only for love from infant novices in the Spirit, such as ourselves, not sacrifice from fear of God’s wrath. Love begets sacrifice of self for another all by itself, without fear, because love is our value of relationship with another and with each our self. If God exists as Jesus says then God seeks only our sincere, humble and childishly inept relationship in love. Challenge God directly to make their loving presence known to your image of God in all you do. So it is with God and I today, without any physical church. We worship together, valuing each other, in the church administered by Jesus, which is in the Spirit! Come! Join with and in! Let Jesus serve the broken bread and the spilled wine personally. amen

  • Keith, I agree with you and salute your noble and sincere change that will benefit people and Christianity. To come upon the Divinity within, we are eager for more because the light inside us is brighter than the flames of excitement around us. People who are aware in different cultures, countries, levels of education and religions are expressing the same Universal Truth or Reality. We can label this shared truth the collective consciousness, which is the One Spirit, Energy, Consciousness or God in everything. Once we develop into this awareness our problems settle into place with our own alignment with the harmony rediscovered in all wisdom traditions. These visions are beams of light from the same Universal Truth where the deep truths of our Christianity share light with an underlying unity of truth with other wisdom traditions. God Bless you for trying. https://www.amazon.com/John-J-Kuykendall/e/B018AK0WKY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

  • David M

    I’m sorry John, but I really must take issue with that comment. In one sense I agree with you: people in all ages and all cultures have had an awareness of a transcendent reality. But a true understanding of that reality is not something that can be achieved without divine assistance, and that means revelations of the kind that have been recorded in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Without the knowledge that has been set down in the Bible, we would still be groping in the dark.

    This is, of course, an unpopular view. The exclusiveness of Christianity is offensive to many people. They want Christianity to conform to the spirit of the age, one in which tolerance and inclusiveness are the overriding virtues. But God is not to be subjected to the latest cultural whim.

    To come upon the divinity within

    And this is something I really must take issue with. Gnosticism was an aberrant form of Christianity which rightly became extinct centuries ago. The Gnostic belief in a divine inner spark has no more place in the modern world than a belief in Zeus and Apollo.

  • David thank you for the reply and there is no need to be sorry, but thank you for being polite. We all have the ability to experience the Divinity within a spiritual experience that can’t be extinguished, but very few Christian leaders teach this spirituality because they have not experienced it. The Apostle Paul in (1 Corinthians 2: 10-14) said that God’s Wisdom is revealed by the Spirit.

    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    We Christians live in a constant free-for-all involving the material dimension and the spiritual dimension; however, God’s wisdom is revealed by our Spirit in the spiritual dimension. The mystics, prophets and saints experienced and are experiencing this awe-inspiring Divinity and then point to the unity of the Divine. There is unity in the Divine Reality, but in the mind different interpretations of the spiritual experience, but these concepts are inclusive not in one sect of one religion, but to everyone; therefore we can recognize that diverse religious traditions are resources for insights and wisdom too. Every religion has its own way to know the Divine reality either personal or impersonal, and they say we have a soul in the image of God. The spirit in the soul cannot be separated from God no matter what we have done in the past or problems we have in the present because it is pure. Therefore, our objective in life should be to discover the Divinity within so the soul’s consciousness becomes our reality every day. In this way we become more loving because we see the same Divine spark in every one, in everything and in all animals.

  • David M

    Thanks for the reply, John. I am not sure that Paul would have agreed with you on the subject of other religious traditions. He wasn’t what you would call a religious pluralist. But I shan’t press the issue.

  • JesusFreak57

    I personally connect with God by way of music. I played in worship bands for 30 years. Worship is the closest I ever get in experiencing His Presence. I had to quit playing acoustic guitar due to early onset dementia, but having retired 12 years ago, I now use Spotify and play music all day and all night. Today, there are so many great worship bands! And I wouldn’t have found them if it weren’t for Spotify.

    God has been impressing me to show true gratitude and thankfulness, particularly for how my husband cares for me. It’s not easy to care for someone who is slowly loosing her mind, but he is growing in patience and I just love him for all the effort he puts in to making my life easier. Truly, he’s God/Jesus’ gift to me.

    Love this post by Keith. So much of what he says is so true to my own experiences. Thank you, Pastor Keith!