This is a story about serendipity and fortuitousness, luck and good fortune, beauty and love, and is restorative of an optimism that is too often dismissed in contemporary society.
I have to let the loudness of God take me away to wherever I need to be. I'll still go to seven different churches and read through the piles of religious of books I've hoarded in my room, but they can't tell me anything compared to what God can tell me.
We watch the stories of hoarders on television and feel sorry for them and we feel proud to not be one of them. But perhaps we have more in common than we realize.
We all know, or think we do, what religion is. Nor is there any question in anyone's mind regarding the finality of suicide. But regardless of all the ranting against secularism by churchmen or religionists, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion on the subject.
In the same way as you would never use a Stradivarius as a door stop or a Porsche as a plough, we must strive to not cause the masses to believe that authentic, transformational, brilliant and beautiful spirituality is just so much vapor.
There can be little doubt that traditional religious frameworks are no longer speaking to new generations as they have in the past. This is why the Interspiritual Revolution is so important.
Christianity is being reshaped through an intense global interest in spiritual experience and personal faith. As old structures of religious life erode, new patterns of faith are forming.
Each of us struggles with limitation in a very personal way. Without limitation, we would have no individuation. Humanity would be a canvas of even monochromatic brushstrokes.
Study after study tells us that Americans are leaving religion in droves, with the number of spiritual but not religious increasing dramatically. Though some of these predictions may be an over-dramatization, significant changes in organized religion are inevitable and necessary.
I grew up in a one-size-fits-all Judaism that, in fact, fit very few. There was one service to attend, one way to pray, and little if any room to experiment with other ways to connect to the sacred. Now, we live in a society that demands choice.
Hardly a month goes by when we don't read about the decline or collapse of organized religion in America. But religion -- including the organized sort -- remains vital and vibrant, defying the predictions of doom that appear with numbing regularity.
People who have had a near-death experience are convinced that they had a glimpse of heaven. Although each near-death experience is unique, we find recurring messages in them. But these messages come right under the domain of religions that say they have the answers.
I was raised outside of organized religion, in a spiritual-but-not-religious home. I obviously did not stay a "none." I'm a pastor in the United Church of Christ and I try, for better or worse, to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Like its counterparts of the synagogue and the halakha, the Passover meal observed today may not be so traditional. It is now steeped in a different tradition -- doctrine is out, and family is in.
Easter is all about the miracle of being raised, even set free, from a tomb of conditioned thinking, fixed believing and limited living.
It's time for those of us in the Christian Church to exercise our imagination and boldly step off of the sidewalk to a place of imagination and limitless possibilities, a place outside the well defined boxes we expect to find -- beyond the solid footing of the known and into the sometimes shifting sands of the unknown.