Discovering Fire – a Fiery Forward For Fungi Fueled Faith.

Discovering Fire – a Fiery Forward For Fungi Fueled Faith. April 3, 2023

  The new book that I’ve written is a paradox. The topics it covers, and what I have to say about them, are subjective. How this book lands on people depends very much upon which context and subculture they’re part of. For some members of our society, what I’ve written may land with a nonchalant, “Yeah, that sounds right.” Other folks will experience it with a sense of elated pleasant surprise – “Can you imagine – a Christian pastor saying these things?! Amazing! Cool! Who knew?!” Yet, for many people in the circles I run in – the circles of organized religion and Christianity – what I have written will ruffle at least as many feathers as it smooths. One swath of Church and society will receive it with cordial welcome, while another swath will feel it to be too provocative, “too outside the bounds,” with some seeing it as threatening. Some will attack and reject both the book and me as the one who wrote it. Alas, I felt called to write this book and I could do no other. Not writing it simply wasn’t an option.

The following is the Foreword in the front of Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives. It was provided by a fellow ordained man of the cloth, and fellow psychonaut, The Rev. Hunt Priest:

I am a little embarrassed to admit that Roger Wolsey has written and published the book I wish I had written. That said, I am truly grateful that he is the one who did. Roger is a gifted thinker and writer, a spiritual seeker, a spiritual director, and an experienced clergyperson rooted in the United Methodist tradition. My friend and colleague is a wonderful blending of teacher, pastor, and prophet. In Roger’s ministry in both congregational and college chaplaincy settings, as well as in his formal education, personal study, and through the wisdom gained from “the school of hard knocks,” he emerges in his written work as a leader, spiritual teacher, and guide for the present moment.

Discovering Fire is the perfect follow-up to his well-received and widely appreciated book Kissing Fish. In both volumes, his commitment to the Christian tradition in all of its variety, messiness, and deep meaning-making is evident. His critique of the current state of the Church and Christian spirituality is a wake-up call and an encouraging invitation for all of us who in various ways struggle to keep using the label “Christian” in a religious and political culture that barely, if at all, grasps the most basic teachings of its founder, Jesus of Nazareth.

Appropriately self-revealing when it serves the points he is making, Roger weaves his own spiritual journey in the wide open deep-end of Christianity into the challenges faced by so many of us: the difficulties of maintaining meaningful personal relationships, a crisis of meaning, our lethargy and our grief about climate collapse, cultural institutions in decline, and the failure of much of organized religion to meet the deep spiritual hunger of the present moment.

By bringing the reader back to the mystical and contemplative traditions and teachings of Christianity, he is helping us chart a new course through nearly forgotten spiritual landscapes. He points us to many of the ancient and contemporary spiritual teachers and guides who have been companions on my own journey: Richard Rohr, Mary Oliver, Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Claire and Francis, Hildegard of Bingen, Hilda of Whitby, Rainer Maria Rilke, and of course, the divinely inspired authors of our holy scriptures.

Because of my own ministry at the intersection of Christianity and the entheogenic* use of psychedelic plants such as psilocybin mushrooms and San Pedro cactus and the empathogen MDMA, Chapter 6 was particularly compelling for me. In addition to making accessible the extensive medical research around mental health issues, Roger places these plants and their use squarely within the healing ministry of the Church. Christians are called to be healers; Jesus was a healer and told his disciples they would do greater things than he did. With sufficient training and a process of discernment, the sacred substances Roger writes about in Chapter 6 should be in the toolkit of every Christian who feels called to be a healer.

As I was reading Discovering Fire, I was reminded of a prayer from the Communion service in my own Episcopal/Anglican tradition: “Open our eyes to see Your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal.” In both this book and in Kissing Fish, Roger extends a similar invitation to those inside the institution of the Church, those standing outside looking in, and those who have in the past kept on walking: Come and see. There’s so much more life-giving wisdom here than you could have ever imagined.

The Rev. Hunt Priest, The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, and Executive Director of Ligare: A Christian Psychedelic Society.

*Entheogen is a neologism to designate psychoactive substances employed in culturally sanctioned visionary experiences in ritual or religious contexts. (Carl A. P. Ruck) Scholars of religion often call psychedelic substances entheogens, from the term “god within” — (Jeremiah Creedon)

And the following words are what I wrote as the Conclusion of the book:

Harnessing the Fires of Love

I came to bring fire to the earth,  I wish it were already kindled and burning!   ~ Jesus, Luke 12:49

For though my faith is not yours and your faith is not mine, if we each are free to light our own flame, together we can banish some of the darkness of the world.  ~ Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

There are universal longings that are shared by all humanity. Among these is the longing to heal from our wounds and to develop and grow to be at our best. We long to increase our capacities to weather the challenges of life and to feel a sense of peace and equanimity that can be maintained through the challenges of life. We long to mature, be resilient, and relate to our loved ones and strangers with as much love, care, and authenticity as possible. We long to understand ourselves and our tendencies to not live up to these ideals. We long to be compassionate toward ourselves and others when we aren’t at our best. And we long to know that we aren’t alone in these longings. We aren’t.

These words are from the last letter that the apostle Paul wrote before he was executed:

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells within me. For I know that the good does not dwell within me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do the good lies close at hand, but not the ability. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.[2]

How incredibly human. His words here speak for many, perhaps for you, for sure for me. Yet I’m growing in my understanding of why I do what I do – and don’t. I’m aware of my childhood bonding issues with my parents and how the strategies I employed to navigate those years don’t serve me in my personal relations as an adult. And the more I understand, the more I paradoxically have both increased compassion for myself as well as a decreased ability to forgive myself as increasingly I can no longer say, “for I know not what I do.”[3] What I can do is deepen into spiritual practices – immerse into the fires – where Spirit[4] meets me resulting in a transformational difference in my life. These practices help me to know myself, which in turn helps me to love myself, and thus more truly be able to know and love others. And the more I deepen into these fires, the more my ability to forgive and love myself – even though I know why I’m not acting as I intend – returns with a fullness of grace I hadn’t thought possible.

I find solace and encouragement in knowing that I’m not alone in this effort to know and love myself more fully. I bow in recognition when St. Augustine says, Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought. I smile an inner smile when Thomas Merton says, What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous. And the bell of my heart rings in resonance when Carl Jung says, Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.

I’m also aware that “knowledge puffs up”[5] and that I can learn things for the wrong reasons. I can amass knowledge for the sake of the admiration of my peers and colleagues.[6] My wisdom rises to trump my egoic knowing through sober recognition of Bernard of Clairvaux’s words, There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.[7]

The part of myself that continues to self-sabotage and experience repeated deaths, concurs with St. Isaacs’s insight that To know oneself is a miracle greater than raising the dead.[8]  And the part of me that loves feels my heart warm as I pray the prayer of Anselm of Canterbury,  Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding… Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.[9]

I’m heartened by the great cloud of witnesses who live on through their words that help us sense that this work of self-knowing, self-loving, other loving, and God serving isn’t merely important, but possible. The late Henri Nouwen truly knew that,

When we have found our own uniqueness in the love of God and have been able to affirm that indeed we are lovable since it is God’s love that dwells in us, then we can reach out to others in whom we discover a new and unique manifestation of the same love and enter into an intimate communion with them.[10]

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was right, however, in her assertion that,

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.[11]

The same is true for the “loving people” whom Omrah Mikhaël Aïvanhov[12] referred:

“Love, true love, is above not only sexual attraction, but it is also above feeling, because it is a state of consciousness. Attraction is a matter of wavelengths, of vibrations, of fluids, and it depends purely on physical elements. The feeling is already superior to attraction because it can be inspired by moral, intellectual and spiritual factors. However, even the feeling is variable: one day you love, one day you don’t. Instead, love lived as a state of consciousness goes beyond circumstances and people. It is the state of a being that has purified himself so much and developed his own will that he has managed to rise to the sublime regions of divine love. And then, whatever he does, eat, walk, work or meet other beings, he feels that love within himself and has it to help all creatures.”

Such beauty and loving state of being arise in our lives through a combination of time, grace, and intentional engagement with spiritual practices. I wrote the following description of Spiritual Maturity in 2016. My awareness of what humans can be capable of had been increasing, yet the words were more aspirational than incarnational in my life at that time (and at this time).

Markers of Spiritual Maturation[13]

* Forgiving someone who isn’t sorry.

* Accepting apologies that are never offered.

* Becoming content with discontent.

* Increased okayness with being not okay.

* Increased ease with dis-ease.

* Decreased need to be right.

* Increased valuing of kindness and relationships.

* Increased concern about how those who are struggling in society are doing.

* Increased concern about animals, pollution, and the environment.

* Increased appreciation for the wisdom and insights of religions other than yours.

* Increased compassion and forgiveness for the failings of your religious tradition.

* Increased openness to not having a spiritual tradition, and also to having one.

* Ability to be with others without saying a word, and not experiencing silences as awkward.

* Ability to be by yourself without having to have the TV or radio on or be out and about without wearing earbuds.

* Ability to spend 24 hours without looking at your cell phone/computer- or even have it with you.

* Increased awareness of one’s blessings and appreciation and gratitude for them.

* Letting go of perfectionism.

* Reduction in absolutism, either/or, all or nothing thinking.

* Increased capacity to accept your, and other people’s, baggage and weaknesses.

* Being present to what is, instead of seeking distractions to avoid it.

* Increased ability to truly be present and available to others.

* Smiling perhaps less often but smiling more smiles that are authentic.

* Increased trust in the unfolding and the bravery to allow it and be part of it.

And I’ll now add Allison Aars’ insight that When you finally learn that a person’s behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than you, you learn grace.

A major part of my growth has been in coming to honor and embrace the reality that suffering, hurt, deprivation, and discontent are very real parts of life. There’s no such thing as a human life without them. It helps to be reminded that such miseries and sufferings tend to come and go. As Charlie Chaplin observed, Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles. If that fun-loving tramp could have bad days, so can I.

While engaging in spiritual practices such as the ones described in this book can, and do, make a significant difference, it is also true that Great faith doesn’t come out of great effort but out of great surrender.[14] Our salvation is a co-creative collaboration between Creator and Creation. Ultimately, all salvation/healing is a gift, yet gifts are only received to the extent that they’re accepted, opened, and used.

I came across the following words just as I’m completing the writing of this book: “Churches offering only affirmation, without expectations or the possibility of transformation, haven’t commanded loyalty or made new converts.”[15] Yes, exactly! I fully agree. At its best, the Church is wounded people being loved. Love is many things, but it is nothing less than brokenness embraced and transformed.

What’s ironic is that these are words written this summer (2022) by conservative political operative, and former CIA analyst, Mark Tooley.[16] What he means here is that churches need to be about the business of getting people to accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior and be born again through strict adherence to a conservative understanding of orthodoxy (theological beliefs and values). What he means by transformation is LGBTQ folk “repenting from their sin.” He went on to say,

“‘Traditionalists’ want a gospel of salvation and transformation. These two perspectives ultimately cannot coexist in the same denomination. There can be Christian unity across doctrinal and ethical nonessentials, but the divisions between traditionalists and progressives in mainline Protestantism are unbridgeable.”

It is tragic that he fails to realize that progressive Christians do in fact seek salvation and transformation in people’s lives. That’s what this book is all about. He fails to understand that all healing is of God[17] and that God is at work in salvific-healing ways in all sorts of ways – including in ways that are demonstrably effective as evidenced herein. He fails to recognize that if the Church is to be relevant and compelling to people – now and in the future – it needs to shed its unreasonable judging and rejecting of practices (and people) that haven’t been officially recognized as parts of the Christian tradition. He fails to see that the more Christians deny the reality of how Spirit is at work in spiritual practices that may seem strange to conservatives, and the more the Church denies the truth that real people are experiencing real healing, wholeness, and transformation in the practices of the growing Spiritual but Not Religious community, the more it archives itself to the cobwebs of history.

As mentioned in Chapter 6, John Wesley promoted what works to help people, and he made a point to recognize that there are many means and modalities available to provide this help:

“I have purposely set down (in most cases) several Remedies for each Disorder; not only because All are not equally easy to be procured at all Times and in all Place: But likewise, because the Medicine which cures one [person], will not always cure another of the same Distemper. Nor will it cure the same [person] at all times. Therefore, it was necessary to have a Variety.”[18]

Wesley yearned for Christians to not experience unnecessary divisions and strife about matters that people of faith can agree to disagree about:

“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.”[19]  Condemn no [one] for not thinking as you think: let everyone enjoy the full and free liberty of thinking for himself. Let every [one] use [their] own judgement since every [one] must give account of [themself] to God.[20]

I realize that it’s a stretch for some readers to recognize the validity of each of the practices and lineages described in this book. It may seem to some that I’m calling Christians and other religious people to become “ecstatic dancing, tarot card reading, psychedelic plant medicine users.” Let me share Mohamad Safa’s truthful words:

Teaching kids about frogs isn’t grooming them to become amphibians. Reading a book about Einstein won’t make your kid smarter. Acknowledging that some kids have two dads isn’t “trying to make them gay.” It’s helping them learn about the world around them. [An open mind is the thing that terrifies some most of all.][21]

Indeed, and the same is true for teaching people about: rock & roll, sexual education, astrology, Tarot cards, the Enneagram, ecstatic dance, psychedelic plant medicine, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, shamanism, Lectio Divina, centering prayer, and fasting. The late Rev. “Mr.” Fred Rogers said, Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.[22] It’s time for us to mention these matters. It’s time for religion and the rising culture to engage in needed conversations.

The following is the “Pastor’s Notes” article in the August 2022 newsletter of the United Methodist congregation I serve. I wrote it in a tin-roofed hut in a Costa Rican jungle [in July 2022]:

“Embracing the Big Asks”

Summertime offers us a chance to ponder life in a more relaxed state. Even if we don’t travel, the summer months provide opportunity to consider things through a looser, vacation, “away from it all” perspective that is a bit more open than our more typical mindsets and dispositions. From this more spacious place it has occurred to me that humans have faced quite a number of things that have been “Big Asks.” I’m thinking of situations which have called people to embrace seemingly improbable, counter-intuitive, and even preposterous ideas – for our benefit. Many of these things involved a certain degree of perceived risk or threat.

It was a big ask in 1513 when Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the Sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the Earth revolved around it. It was a big ask when Galileo Galilei discovered that the planet Venus has phases like those of the Moon, but this could only be explained if Venus was moving around the Sun rather than the Earth. This undermined the established assumption that everything in the heavens revolved around the Earth – confirming Copernicus’s hypothesis.

It was a big ask for people in England in the 1750’s to heed John Wesley’s encouragement to be wired up to “electricity machines” and allow themselves to be electrified as a treatment for their maladies.

It was a big ask for American colonists to wage war against the mighty Britain and go it alone in the American frontier without imperial backing and support. An estimated 90% of deaths in the Continental Army were caused by disease, and the most vicious were variants of smallpox. It was a big ask when General George Washington made the controversial decision in 1777 to order the mass inoculation of his soldiers. It worked, and it wasn’t until 1796, that Dr. Edward Jenner demonstrated that an infection with the mild cowpox virus provided immunity against the lethal smallpox virus – which led to big asks of the citizens of many countries to embrace vaccinations to increase longevity and quality of life. It was a big ask when the newly created United States of America fashioned a form of government that embraced democracy – trusting in the power of engaged citizens – to make better choices than kings and queens.

It was a big ask in 1783 when Joseph and Stephen Montgolfier proposed that heating air could create lift and transport people through the air. They built a hot air balloon out of paper which Pilatre De Rozier flew over Paris.

It was a big ask in 1859 when Charles Darwin put forth his theory of the evolution of the species stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. That concept was revolutionary in asserting that animal species arise naturally, by processes of evolution, instead of having been created just as we see them in the world today by God. It was a big ask for Christians to accept that humans and apes are primates that evolved from a common ancestor. This was a threat to more literal readings of the Bible – and Church policies that revolve around literalism.

It was a big ask when two preacher’s kids from Ohio started flying gliders in 1900. The New York Times stated it would take humans “from one to ten million years” to create a working motorized flying machine. Exactly two months and eight days later, the Wright brothers flew their flying machine in 1903.

It was a big ask for many – too many – to abolish slavery, and then end segregation, and to have kids of different races attending the same schools, drinking from the same drinking fountains, and swimming in the same pools. It was a big ask for many to embrace interdenominational marriage, inter-faith marriage, inter-racial marriage, and same-sex marriage. It was a big ask for many to embrace women voting and women as elected leaders. It was a big ask for humans to put chemicals and radiation into their bodies to fight cancer. It was a big ask to use nuclear power to provide copious amounts of energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming. It was a big ask for many to decriminalize and legalize the sale and use of medical and recreational marijuana. And it was a big ask for our society to wear masks and to get vaccinated in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking all of this in has me realizing that Christians have been engaged in “big asks” from our start. It was a big ask to invite people to embrace a peasant from the eastern fringe of the Roman empire who’d been crucified as Lord and Savior – instead of the Caesars. Whether understood as following the inter-dependent and communal way, teachings, and example of Jesus is a way that humans can experience wholeness, abundant life, and liberation – and/or that believing that Jesus was Divine, God/God’s Son, and that he was literally resurrected is what’s needed to go to heaven when we die – somehow following this man from Nazareth who was executed transforms our lives. Following Jesus has led us to be egalitarian, reject patriarchy, and to embrace women and gay persons as clergy and bishops. It’s led us to support social justice in all sorts of ways – including a deepened care in being good stewards of the Earth. Each of these are big asks as they require established conventions and groups to relinquish, or at least share, power with those who’ve historically been excluded.

In many ways life is a steady parade of big asks that come our way. It’s appropriate and healthy to be discerning. It’s important to accept that we won’t all embrace the same big asks at the same time. And yet, time is of the essence and taking too long to adapt and adopt is detrimental and harmful. We Christians who embrace the heritage of John Wesley have an advantage in that we have the tool of “The Wesleyan Quadrilateral”[23] to help guide us. If we prayerfully take Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience fully into consideration when we ponder theological, social, and scientific matters, it can only lead to better, wiser, and more godly and moral conclusions. And, if we hold our conclusions loosely without turning them into rigid dogmas, it allows us to continue to grow and adapt as a church during ever-changing times.

God bless us in our prayerful discerning and embracing of the Big Asks in our lives.

I offer the following additions as we close: It’s also a big ask for Western Christianity – especially for conservative evangelical Christianity (which has been the “mainstream” form of the faith in the U.S. since the 1980s) – to concede that God is meaningfully working in people’s lives in ways that those of that form of the faith have little familiarity.[24] It’s even a big ask for centrist, progressive-leaning, mainline denominations to come on board with yoga, authentic relating, and consider supporting the legalization and normalization of psychedelic plant medicines.[25] And, it’s also a big ask for many people who identify as agnostic, pagan, and/or spiritual but not religious to recognize that there are certain spiritual practices within the realms of organized religion – and within Judaism, Islam – and Christianity in specific – that are truly life-giving and transformative in the lives of many. It’s a big ask to concede that Spirit, the Universe, the Field of Love is at work “even there” too.

May Spirit, God, Goddess, and all that is Light and Love, bless our prayerful discerning and embracing of the Big Asks in our lives and may we come to embrace, celebrate, and benefit from the fires that we discover. Blessed be. So mote it be. So be it. Amen. Amin. A’ho. Namaste.

 

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, [humanity] will have discovered fire.”  

~ Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a segue back to this blog, I’d like to offer these words from someone whom many consider to be a sage and reasoned soul who cares very much about helping Christianity be relevant in today’s world.

Discovering Fire is full of warmth, crackle, and gentle luminosity. If you feel you’ve been shutout in the dark, around this campfire you’ll find welcome, sanity, and serenity. All of Roger Wolsey’s fires may not be right for you, and he doesn’t prescribe them: he just shares — with humility and honesty — what experiences and practices have brought him light and warmth on his spiritual journey.”
~ Brian D. McLaren, author of Do I Stay Christian?

The spiritual practices that I describe in the book aren’t exactly “my fires” – they’re practices that have been life-giving and transformative in the lives of many people – for many years. That said I’m aware that I’m currently a bit of a rarity as a Christian pastor being out about talking about use of plant medicine and endorsing it. So far, two states in the U.S. have legalized the use of psilocybin for recreational use (Oregon and Colorado), yet the reality is that millions of people across the nation are partaking in various forms of psychedelic plant medicine. I’m not promoting the recreational use of plant medicine, but rather the sacred, prayerful, ceremonial, and therapeutic use of it to help God’s people to heal from trauma, depression, and more.

This said, I’m not just on the vanguard of religious people normalizing psychedelics in society, I’m an advocate for a full host of spiritual practices. Practices ranging from centering prayer, Lectio Divina, fasting, and labyrinth walking – to dream-work, shadow-work, breath-work, authentic relating; ecstatic dance; being deeply present in, and to, Nature; and reading and writing Poetry. These – and many other ways that we can be working with Spirit in helping people in doing “all the good we can to all of the people we can as long as ever we can” – and doing no harm; doing good; and deepening in love with God.

XX ~ Roger  

Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives is available on Amazon.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%27in_al-Din_Chishti
www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/14827236.Hazrat_Khawaja_Moinuddin

[2] Romans 7:15-19

[3] Jesus, Luke 23:34

[4] As a Christian, I’ll say the Holy Spirit.

[5] Paul, 1 Corinthians 8:1

[6] e.g., Tyrion Lannister, “I drink and I know things.”,  www.goodreads.com/quotes/9579238-that-s-what-i-do-i-drink-and-i-know-things
https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/game-of-thrones-best-quotes-explained-1203209311/

[7] https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/the-fires-of-love-gallery

[8]  St. Isaac the Syrian

[9] https://tinyurl.com/2p9fzres

[10] As quoted in Seeds of the Spirit, Richard H. Bell & ‎Barbara L. Battin, 1995

[11] www.goodreads.com/quotes/202404-the-most-beautiful-people-we-have-known-are-those-who

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omraam_Mikha%C3%ABl_A%C3%AFvanhov

[13] www.facebook.com/KissingFishBook/photos/a.188695787826500/1223300924365976 &
www.facebook.com/RogerWolseySoulCoach/posts/pfbid02BXVwdM7NPSjFcJnPthju7pdEJBwa3b9VuGnzAMmKUSruC4Ge6wayRmRFX5w4qsGol (2020 version). Perhaps compare with B.G. 16:1-3, www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/16/verse/1-3, Galatians 5:22-26, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A22-26&version=NIV, and Ephesians 4:13-18, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%204%3A13-18&version=NIV

[14] Bill Johnson, www.quotemaster.org/q565e53e8dbc125708eda276c44f4cebc

[15] www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/methodists-path/

[16] https://um-insight.net/the-ird%E2%80%99s-mark-tooley-reveals-all-the-full-african-takeover-/ ; https://hackingchristianity.net/2019/02/the-betrayal-of-good-news-how-a-2004-blueprint-created-the-gc2019-endgame.html;  See also, www.amazon.com/United-Methodism-risk-wake-up-call/dp/0615123996

[17] www.umcdiscipleship.org/book-of-worship/healing-services-and-prayers

[18] John Wesley, xvii, point #15, Preface, Primitive Physick

[19] www.goodreads.com/quotes/606920-though-we-cannot-think-alike-may-we-not-love-alike and from his sermon “Catholic (Universal) Spirit” www.umaffirm.org/cornet/catholic.html

[20] https://brianharrisauthor.com/managing-monday-with-john-wesley/ and
From Advice to the People Called Methodists [1745], www.gcah.org/resources/john-wesley

[21]  twitter@mhdksafa, April 23, 2022, https://twitter.com/mhdksafa/status/1517961958984667137 and Hussain786, https://ifunny.co/picture/teaching-kids-about-frogs-isn-t-grooming-them-to-become-4fDNMV5V9

[22]www.goodreads.com/quotes/157666-anything-that-s-human-is-mentionable-and-anything-that-is-mentionable

[23]www.umc.org/en/content/glossary-wesleyan-quadrilateral-the

[24]www.interfaithamerica.org/studies-suggest-spiritual-practices-may-prompt-people-to-get-off-the-mat-and-engage/

[25] Though it does feel good to have just learned that I’m not the only United Methodist pastor wading these waters and taking these matters seriously. I learned today, Sept. 28, 2022, that retired United Methodist pastor Rev. William Richards published a book in 2015 entitled, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experience. I hadn’t discovered that book until after I’d written the manuscript for this book, and I have yet to read it, but it sounds highly relevant and to be recommended. “..Richards argues that, if used responsibly and legally, psychedelics have the potential to assuage suffering and constructively affect the quality of human life. Richards’s analysis contributes to social and political debates over the responsible integration of psychedelic substances into modern society.” www.booktopia.com.au/sacred-knowledge-william-richards/book/9780231174060.html

roger wolsey  Rev. Roger Wolsey is a certified Spiritual Director, United Methodist pastor, and serves on the Board of Directors of ProgressiveChristianity.Org. He is a contributing writer for the Progressing Spirit newsletter, and author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity

His new book, Discovering Fire: Spiritual Practices That Transform Lives, is available on Amazon.image of roger wolseyimage of roger wolsey

Roger’s other blogs on Patheos

Roger’s website

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