Four dead-end roads

How to arrive at a truthful and (if possible) joyful life? This is
justifiably the desire of humans, and it’s my desire. I tried several
ways:

  1. Child-like accepted faith. I accepted to have found
    truth and a joyful life through Jesus, without thinking about it. This
    failed when I began to think about it in ~1996.
  2. Intellectualized fundamentalist faith. I was absolutely
    convinced to have found truth and a joyful life through Jesus, as I
    collected and thought about and accepted all the fundamentalist’s
    arguments for believing in Jesus. This failed in beginning 2005 when I
    realized this had shifted me to a legalistic, joyless, strained life
    with deliberate but not necessarily true convictions.
  3. Experienced faith with emotions. This was the best time
    yet: I got to know Jesus in a totally different way as a loving,
    gracious friend and saviour. Along the way, I throwed out many
    legalistic and otherwise strained convictions and wrote about that. But
    the best thing was that I experienced God personally in concrete ways,
    including some few supernatural experiences that I accept as genuine
    even today and honest, precious relationships to friends. That was
    really a time of joyful life … it ended in first half of 2006 when I
    experienced God no longer in these ways and then started to question
    the genuineness of some of these experiences, and the validity of my
    emotional reactions to them.
  4. Demystified history-backed faith. The following time was
    filled with many philosophical considerations about God, genuine
    experiences with God, valid emotionality etc.. It resulted in throwing
    out many opinions I once held and now recognized as non-genuine,
    mystical and religious … as documented in my blog articles. The
    result was an intellectually justifiable faith in Jesus, and if only as
    the basic conviction that Jesus is the Christ if there is any God
    at all
    (which is also
    faith
    ). My faith was now founded in the historical facts about
    Jesus and the hope to find contemporary miracles of God in the Second
    Acts project (see my article “My
    vision for my life, as a mindmap
    “). This ended on Tuesday
    (2007-11-13) when I realized that this course would lead me neither to
    joy nor truth: it is the stressful, self-navigated philosophical course
    of a desparate seeker, therefore something that excludes joy; it also
    excludes joy as it would not lead to any new experiences with God,
    emphasizing thinking so much, not doing; and it would not lead to a
    confirmed conviction of truth in the short run, as Second Acts is
    rather a long-term project.

Fifth start: Jesus-led practical faith with experiences

My above mentioned human desire for a way to truth and life is
acknowledged by Jesus as he promised all three: “I am the way, and
the truth, and the life.” (John
14:16 ESV
). Jesus even promised to be the way to truth and life
himself – which is the new idea for my fifth start: to let Jesus be the
way. Another way round: if there is an Almighty,
there’s no need for me to live this stressful seeker’s life, as God is
then able to lead me to truth and life anyway; and if there is no
Almighty, there’s also no need to live this stressful seeker’s life, as
there’s nothing to be found.

Now, what shall this analogy mean to “let Jesus be the way”?

  • Stop to find out yourself. That is, at least for me,
    stop the current habit to philosophize, as it makes stuff really
    complicated and mostly joyless. The only alternative to excessive
    thinking is to start doing something. Which will also result in more
    practical articles in the future.
  • Expect God to navigate your life. That does not mean to
    just sit and wait, but to stop worrying where all this will end. As,
    such worries are implied in a self-navigated life: the problem is
    navigation when you neither know where to go nor how to get there.
    Letting God navigate, however, implies to not expect him to adhere to
    your own plans (as I proudly did with my agenda how to find truthful
    and joyful life). But you can trust him to strictly adhere to good
    plans 🙂 Only if you let God navigate, you’re going to make
    experiences with God; when deciding all for yourself, you’re going to
    make experiences with yourself.
  • Expect God to find ways to answer your questions. I
    won’t accept
    unjustified a priori statements about God and how he wants to navigate
    my life, and also, I won’t return to finding out myself about God and
    how he wants to navigate my life. But I expect that God will find ways
    to show me the truth about him and how he guides people, in a way I can
    justifiedly accept.
  • Expect God to find ways to confirm himself by experiences.
    Philosophy shows what could possibly be true, but one needs
    to experience facts to know for sure. But, stop searching those facts
    yourself, as that’s stressful and joyless. Personally, I expect God to
    show himself in my own practical life … and  to let me know what
    he does currently in this world. Wherefore I want to pursue this Second
    Acts idea further, but in a not-so-desparate way, expecting God to
    correct it or make it succeed.
  • Find your flavor of a lively, relaxed, simple relationship to
    the Father, Jesus and the Spirit.
    There’s no need to dig up again
    legalistic or fundamentalist  practices of faith, but you need a
    pratical faith to get out of the theoretical realm. See below for
    concrete ideas. Whatever form you choose, put emphasis on a proud-free
    relationship that has room for collecting concrete experiences with
    believing God.

Caveat: these elements of “letting Jesus be the way” may sound as if
one should expect an immediate, 24/7 relationship with God. This is not
the case (see my article “The
third way of life in this world
“). You can expect God to
navigate your life, but it is unclear in what way and when you can
expect this. You’ll have to try yourself. From my experience I conclude
that it can be very different form immediate, audible or visible words
😉

Practical ideas for practical faith

As said, you’ll need to let God choose the experiences you make in a
radical-practical faith that’s led by God. All we can do is to durnish
an environment that fosters practical experiences with God. Here are
some ideas, but as I’m right at the beginning I’m quite clueless and
would appreciate any additions. What is very obvious is that practical
faith needs practice: thinking and talking alone has neither power nor
effect. One cannot learn how to live with God practically from
philosophizing and blogging (as in my case).

  • Fill the day with people. Whatever filled the day that
    was not practical faith, it is worth to be replaces by just that: by
    the simple and beautiful activity of having community with people
    sharing practical Christian love and building authentic relationships,
    which is very precious. One practical idea: when living alone, one
    might move to a flat-sharing community.
  • Collect some inspirations for outer forms. The goal of
    every outer form of faith is to support and foster the practical
    relationship with Jesus. You may look for new forms if you find
    inadequate what you know; for example, look at some things
    the emergent church movement does. Any outer form that supports even
    such basic things as memorizing what you know to be true is worth to be
    considered. This may include appropriate dealing with music and lyrics.
  • Find your positive access to the Bible. Whatever problem
    you may have with the Bible (or, more precisely: human conceptions of
    the Bible), it is the most important document for the Christian faith.
    Therefore, face your problems and find for yourself how to dig up that
    buried treasure. I once made good experiences with the four gospels,
    getting to know Jesus in a new way. And with changing the translation
    … . Also, I made the experience that faith can become quite arrogant
    and overcomplicated if one forgets the basics … which are spoken
    about in the Bible.
  • Collect your prejudices against God. After a frustrating
    period, it might be a good idea to find out what exactly is ones
    frustration now. That avoids an overall, diffuse disclination and
    fosters to consciously lay down these issues and try to learn about God
    anew.
  • Invest into honest, authentic friendships. This
    includes: daring to trust without fear, daring to be open and really
    (!) honest about yourself, daring to be interested in other people (not
    just their abilities or gifts), daring to enter a dynamic relationship
    without knowing the direction, talking about
    unconvenient matters, daring to struggle with each other (in a
    constructive way) and learning to do so.
  • Start to believe again in everyday life. Pray and
    believe, as those who do not pray won’t receive. It might be a
    difficult time to learn why so many many prayers do not get answered
    and what God really wants, but without starting to pray one can never
    arrive at positive experiences with God’s gifts.

Start date: 2007-11-16
Post date: 2007-11-16
Version date: 2007-11-16 (for last meaningful change)

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