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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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)