Building The New Without Fighting The Old

Building The New Without Fighting The Old December 26, 2023

Over the last few months I’ve been going through a bit of a paradigm shift. The main catalyst for this change has been my realization that we are not separated from God, and that our Divine Unity points to our connection with everyone and everything around us.

This reality has been confirmed for me in the sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, in the writings of the mystics from a variety of faith traditions, and in the scientific realm of Quantum science, among other sources.

Soon after realizing that separation is an illusion, I was reminded of this saying from Socrates:

“The secret of change is to focus your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

This led me to realize that, for at least the last twenty years or so, my entire identity has been wrapped up in “fighting the old.”

My books, my blog, my podcasts, my videos, my online courses, my debates, my social media posts, and pretty much everything I’ve spent my energy focused on has been all about proving the old way wrong.

Not that these efforts have been in vain, by any means. I’ve written and published a 7-part series of best-selling books on deconstruction of the Christian faith and I’ve heard from hundreds of people who have been greatly helped by those books. So, I’m very proud of that work and I know they will continue to help set people free from toxic theology.

But what I’m realizing now is that it’s time for me to shift away from that reactionary style of communication in favor of focusing my energy on building the new.

In other words, I can check the box on “fighting the old” and now it’s time for me to start re-imagining what “building the new” could look like in this next phase of my life.

I’m still trying to figure all of that out, to be honest.

I think step 1 is to really fully get clean from my addiction to “fighting the old.” Because, as I’m beginning to see, it really is an addiction for me. I’ve spent so much time fighting the old, I’m not sure I even know what it looks like to “build the new.”

Maybe once that old addiction is really out of my system I can start to hear the music of what the new sounds like.

So far, as I’m trying to re-imagine my focus in 2024, here are some of the ways I want to shift away from “fighting the old” in order to “create the new”…

THE MESSAGE:

We are all connected to God and to one another

All labels are about division and are illusions/distractions

Everyone is your brother, sister, mother, father, etc.

HOW TO STOP FIGHTING THE OLD:

No debates

No reaction posts

No us/them thinking or speaking

HOW TO BUILD THE NEW:

Remind everyone of our shared humanity

Expose the lies about division, separation, etc.

Look for common ground

Imagine a better way that makes everything better for everyone

Humanize everyone

Demonize no one

WHAT SCARES ME:

The idea that making this reality could mean an end to some of the things that have defined me for the last 20 years [at least].

WHAT INSPIRES ME:

The idea that I could really influence people to see the beauty of our Oneness and connection with God and one another.

The possibility of discovering brand new ways to be; to communicate; to create; to express myself; to see the world around me.

WHO’S WITH ME?

To be honest, I’m pretty lucky to have found a handful of friends who are on this journey with me. We’ve created a little private Facebook Group where we can share ideas and encourage one another in this new direction.

As I’ve been sharing my struggle with this addiction to fighting the old with these friends they’ve all stepped forward to provide some wonderful encouragement to me.

For example, after I shared that letting go of that old pattern of fighting the old felt like an addiction I needed to break, someone shared this:

“Have definitely experienced the addictive nature of it and realizing shit! I’m caught in an ego trip again. I think just by bringing awareness to the addictive nature of the drama and consciously not engaging, the detox will loosen the grip of the ego and the new will arise. All that energy that was devoted to the old pattern will suddenly be free to create the new and unimagined…” 

“…one thing that has struck me watching my own drama is how boring not engaging can feel. The silence/stillness/peace felt boring before it felt good to me. It really did feel like detoxing from something I really wanted a “hit” of”

And then another friend responded with this:

“I relate with this so much. I think part of the reason why it’s so hard is because it’s what we know. Christianity, and then deconstruction, was our entire identity. We know all the nuances inside and out. We could discuss them for the rest of our lives. It’s where we feel comfortable. (At least I do.) But I have found that it just feeds the ego and creates distance with people to keep standing for what I am against. I am also learning to live from a place of joy and presence and focus on what I am creating. And what I love about you Keith is that you are so honest, and allow us to take the journey with you.”

and then yet another response to that one:

“It’s the ego fixation on attaching itself to a certain identity and all the rules that particular identity entails. ie. I’m evangelical, now I’m Exvangelical. In the first, I’m attracted to everything associated with evangelicalism as good and safe. Then, repelled by all things evangelical as dangerous and evil. In reality, I’m still just participating in the same ego game, just switching teams.”

“I once heard Ram Dass talk about how he would sometimes pop into a Baptist church where he lived in New Hampshire because he just wanted to hear some good music and scripture read out loud. He noted that he was just amused that the people there didn’t really understand what the text was saying or else they’d be losing their minds. He just noticed, didn’t react, and appreciated the parts of the experience he connected with. That was mind blowing to me to hear from this Jewish turned Hindu mystic spiritual teacher voluntarily sitting in a Baptist church.”

and that sparked yet another person to chime in with this:

“A thought I had this morning- sometimes a new way of being takes practice. What if there was a conscious commitment to share what’s inspiring you, rather than what you’re fighting against?

“I see a lot of accounts online by progressive Christians that share what they hate about evangelicalism (and I relate, I once did that too) and I think this is a normal phase in the grieving process. But eventually you realize that you’re propelling the same us vs. them energy and you want to create content that is hopeful, loving and offers a different kind of wisdom.

“So instead of highlighting all the ways they do it wrong, what if there was a decision to highlight a better way? Can you talk about a new path without beating up the old? The old got you to where you are now, it’s a part of the journey.

“That ‘us vs. them’ energy is strong. I fight against it at times too. It’s the waters we’re all swimming in right now. But what does moving in a different current look like? How can we propel love, wisdom and hope?”

And then, all of that led to this mind-blowing post:

“I think about the hero’s journey a lot, and love how it’s laid out in this diagram. I think part of the us vs them trap is that it keeps us stuck in the “Initiation” phase, rather than completing the journey and moving in the the “Return” phase.

“Joseph Campbell emphasizes that the ultimate goal of the hero’s journey is to return to the ordinary world with the “elixir” or “boon” that will regenerate a withering kingdom. The old doesn’t need to be destroyed as much as it needs new lifeblood. This model is helpful for me b/c I can identify where I’m at and what I might be resisting. And recognize that both resisting the call to adventure AND the call to return to the ordinary world are equally normal.

“I find it helpful to know that once one returns to the ordinary world with the elixir, it doesn’t mean you’re denying the enlightenment you’ve found or acquiescing to something harmful…you’re learning to master both worlds.

“I use the term “authenticity” a lot, but I’ve been thinking more about “actualization” lately. What are my long term goals to further Christ consciousness? When I think about it that way and see it as a challenge in navigating two worlds, I don’t feel as triggered by ignorance.

“We can give new life to old language, old symbols, old stories and try to meet people where they are in creative ways. When I think about what I want to actualize in my life, it tempers the need to express myself when I’m triggered.

“What I’m creating becomes more about communication (a message I want to transmit over the long-haul) rather than simply self-expression (which is often beautiful and sometimes should be displayed, but fluctuates frequently and many times just needs to be examined privately and not beneficial for others).

“I feel very grateful we are all thinking about this together because at the moment, the chasm between the various us vs them feels really wide and it takes a lot of courage to step out of it and think about how to incrementally move forward in a productive, life-giving way.”

All of this is like water for my thirsty soul in this desert of paradigm shifting consciousness.

I just posted a brand-new episode of SECOND CUP WITH KEITH on the topic of Spiral Dynamics this week that I think you might find fascinating in light of this conversation. Check it out HERE>

So…all of this to say, I’m feeling called to step out into the unknown, to venture into the frontier of building the new without fighting the old.

I’m excited, and a little scared, to be honest. But, I can’t wait to share what I learn as I walk this path in the new year. I hope you’ll come with me for this journey into building the new.

Peace,

Keith

**

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, Second Cup with Keith is available now on Amazon HERE>

"This seems very much like Jesus as described in A Course In Miracles. What do ..."

Mythical Jesus, Mystical Christ
"The man who thinks there is a God but does not know who he is!"

BETRAYAL: From “He Gets Us” to ..."
"Good work Keith! I am a big fan and emailed you before. keep up with ..."

BETRAYAL: From “He Gets Us” to ..."
"Sir:I have been following your writing on Patheos for a while now. I am especially ..."

BETRAYAL: From “He Gets Us” to ..."

Browse Our Archives