The Christian life is one of constant discovery, even rediscovery. With this point in mind, I asked my longstanding friend and colleague John MacMurray to share about his new book, A Spiritual Evolution: Rediscovering the Greatest Story Ever Told. One of the qualities I have long admired in my brother John is his willingness to be stretched and to grow, to go in search of rediscovery, asking tough questions no matter where they lead, even at great cost to himself. Here is the interview.
Paul Louis Metzger (PLM): John, please describe briefly for our readers A Spiritual Evolution: Rediscovering the Greatest Story Ever Told.
John MacMurray (JM): A Spiritual Evolution is a theological memoir that describes the evolution of my spiritual journey. The book is intensely personal, brutally honest, and deeply spiritual and chronicles the hundreds of questions that gradually led me to change my perception of God. As former ideas fell like dominoes, I began to discover an ancient, but fresh, Trinitarian vision of God that he was better than I ever imagined.
PLM: What in your life experience led you to write the book about rediscovery?
JM: (This is kind of a difficult question . . . because the book is the chronicles of my life experience!) After several decades, I slowly began to realize that all of my learning and teaching had left me with a god who I seriously doubted was good and found nearly impossible to trust. As a result, my life was primarily motivated by fear. When I finally gave myself permission to question the narrative I was in the questions came like a flood. As my perception of God started to change I began to write many of my thoughts down on paper—literally. At first, it was really only for me. Many of my thoughts were confessional and I found the process to be very cathartic. Occasionally, I would have the opportunity to teach and I would share how my perception of God was evolving. Several friends voiced their affirmation and encouraged me to consider organizing my thoughts better. As I began to do that the basic structure of a book surfaced. It took almost seven years to actually complete the manuscript.
PLM: What were some of the greatest discoveries you experienced in writing A Spiritual Evolution?
JM: (Again, this is the content of the book—it is difficult to highlight the best ones but I will attempt to give you large brush strokes):
- The deepest truth of the nature of God is that he is a Triune being. He is relationship.
- The self-giving and other-centered love of the Father, Son, and Spirit is stunningly beautiful.
- The mystery of the Incarnation is staggering.
- Confession is so good for the soul.
- Freedom from fear is vitally important.
JM: I have no agenda to convince anyone of the “rightness” of my perspective or the “truth” of my beliefs. I only wish to tell readers of my journey and the questions I faced along the way—questions that set me free from religious dogmatism, banished my fears, and created assurance. I found that my evolving and growing understanding of the nature of God as seen in the face of Jesus creates a freedom, not to pursue self-interest but a freedom to be for the other. So, my hope is that the reader would see the book as an invitation to join me in the spiritual journey and discover that God is better than they can imagine.
PLM: Now that you’ve written A Spiritual Evolution, what’s next for you?
JM: I have no formal plans. Though I’d like to sell the book (since I self-published it), what I’m really hoping for is to have conversations with people about the topics discussed in the book.
PLM: What are your prayerful aspirations and longings for the Christian community in terms of rediscovery?
JM: I have met hundreds, probably thousands, who have or presently are “deconstructing their faith.” They are from my tribe. They are tired of the “Us vs. Them” mentality. They are exhausted defending the gospel of “I’m right and you’re not”. They are holding nothing but the ashes of this faith with nothing left to love or trust. I have taught many of these good people. I long for them to know (relationally, not informationally) and live in the brilliant beauty and astonishing freedom of the self-giving love of the Triune God.
To order a physical or digital copy (Ibooks or Kindle), go to www.aspiritualevolution.com.