I am not sure I have ever been so excited about something we are offering in the studio as this book study and I will tell you why. I have to be honest, I have struggled pretty hard with my Christian faith throughout my life. As a child, I just couldn't understand why I was being told my friends who weren't going to my church would be excluded from an eternity in heaven. This just never sat well with me. As the sophistication and maturity of my faith grew this exclusionary piece of Christianity in general continued to be something I struggled with, as there are so many people I have loved over the years who would be excluded from what I have been told is "the Way". Another difficulty in my faith came after spending time doing social work with domestic violence victims and refugees as well as my time working with human trafficking victims. I began to question the goodness of God, or perhaps his ability to prevent evil. This classic problem of evil question or "Epicurean paradox" was a real stumbling block to me. The ancient philosopher Epicurus said, “God, either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and is unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able.” For me this question burned painfully after seeing some of the worst of humanity in my work. But in essence it refined my beliefs and the doubting actually burned away what was perhaps false in my religion. I am still on a journey wrestling with my own faith, trying to balance it in humility with my own life experience as well as what I have been taught in Christian scripture, tradition and liturgy. Reading this book, The Universal Christ has brought a lot of clarity and direction to my path in how I see the world, its people, creation itself and Christ as a force of love within me and everyone else.
Mary Alexander and I will be leading this book discussion for 9 sessions starting June 22. We felt it was important to have people leading this study from two different perspectives--one coming from a place within the Christian Church and one from outside traditional Christian circles so that anyone coming to the table would be assured that there is no agenda to this class, except for growth, a humble and open dialogue and a non-exclusionary acceptance for all people of all faiths or no faith. While Mary doesn't identify herself as a "Christian" she has a deep, practical and practiced faith in the power of love. Her interaction with this book has transformed her understanding of the concept of Christ and the Christ consciousness while she still maintains her skepticism about how Christianity is practiced today.
As for me, this book is continuing to help me find a relevancy in my faith. I have begun to perhaps rebuild after my "Post-Evangelical" experience and have begun to explore how my deeply rooted faith in Christ can continue to be practiced in love even though I don't resonate with many in the Christian Fundamentalist or Evangelical world anymore. As a follower of Jesus and a student of yoga, centering prayer and meditation, I believe that there is a deep and loving thread of Christianity that is still relevant today and will always be. This book is changing my view of the whole universe in expansive ways.
I hope you will join us in this discussion and journey. We have created two ways to do so whether you are near or far from us physically. We would love for you to join us in studio for live discussion or online through our live Facebook group.
Click here to go to our book study page and learn more.