On A Dark Night: part 2

More than ten years later, I begun to be aware of other Christians who really loved God, served Him but did not share the same beliefs as those of the fundamentalist persuasion. This wasn’t even a new kind of Christianity but these were Christians of many mainstream denominations.  However, learning that they didn’t view the biblical texts as literal truths shocked me to the core and challenged my faith even though I had never placed my faith wholly in the bible alone.  It didn’t help matters that I learned all this while going through a very difficult time in my life.  So I stopped going to church completely and I clung to God in a rather desperate way, no longer knowing what to believe except that He loved me.  The problem was that the love of God I had been taught was merciful towards unbelievers wanting to repent but conditional to those who already believed (you should know  better).  It was the kind of love that we humans often administer, hence God made in our image.  So I began to doubt that God could yet love me.  I read books of different thoughts and beliefs some by Christians and some not wondering where do I now fit in. I went through this inner struggle for ten years.

The ten years pains me.  It is a confession I guess.  For during those ten years I lived in my head and I served my struggle instead of actively serving others (outside my own family).

But then came the breakthrough.

*On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

After purging much of what I had formerly believed in, my house was at rest and I was able to respond to God once more.  Through writing and meditating, I began to unite with the heart of God and know the depths of his love.

*In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my
heart.

So am I a Post-evangelical? Here is where my heart is:

I believe and long for everyone to be in touch with their spirit and have a relationship with God.  I also believe that everyone should be a free-thinker and not have religion forced upon them.  There is no value in believing what others dictate to you so it is important to work out your own beliefs.  I believe one can be aided in this with a spiritual counselor who doesn’t dictate but helps you to work it out. The reason I wish for everyone to be in a relationship with God is because of my own day to day experience which has led me to believe that although we are all capable of loving one another and serving one another and feeling compassion, our loving compassionate nature becomes charged when we are ‘plugged-in’ to God.  However, being plugged-in doesn’t mean going to church or having a particular belief system.  It means uniting one’s heart and spirit to the heart and spirit of God.  It is with unity that we become aware of God’s heart and purpose for us and it is with this unity that transformation begins.  This unity is deeper than being filled with the Holy Spirit but not necessarily exclusive of it.  There is a danger of one getting caught up in the experience in that it can become something which we desire for what we can get out of it. God’s Holy Spirit is a gift not something we should selfishly seek as a sort of spiritual ‘fix’. However, to seek a unity with God is to have the desire to sit at his feet, to learn from him, to know his heart and to allow His heart to transform yours.

*Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

I desire this for everyone because it is wonderful beyond words, essential to one’s spiritual growth, makes life easier on so many levels and can lead to global transformation. However, it is not something you can rush into or rush someone else into. Jesus cared about the heart of a person, the kingdom of God within.

* I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies

*Excerpts from the poem Dark Night Of The Soul by St John of the Cross

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6 thoughts on “On A Dark Night: part 2

  1. Too bad there aren’t more people who have been able to discover their spiritual roots as you have. In order to understand God, a religion is not required, and a church and a holy book were never intended.

    • Hi and welcome. I suppose it is what one means by religion. 🙂 Once we have a certain amount of conclusions about God, you might say we are in a religion. However, spirituality is what is needed foremost. Religion without spirituality is dry as dust.

      Scripture is there as a guide. It is also an interesting insight of the development of people and how their perception on life has changed over the years. However, most importantly for me are the stories about Jesus because Jesus is how God expresses himself. Yes, we can experience God for ourselves outside religion and we can know the heart of God outside reading about Jesus but perhaps only to an extent …and perhaps we need it to spur us into contemplation so we can seek understanding and gain wisdom. It doesn’t mean we ever arrive to all the answers , in fact the answers are often the questions themselves.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart here. I especially liked: “the love of God I had been taught was merciful towards unbelievers wanting to repent but conditional to those who already believed … the kind of love that we humans often administer, hence God made in our image.” That is a powerful statement. and of course the opposite is also believed: UNmerciful to unbelievers and unconditional to those who do — therefore sitting in judgement of others, thinking ourselves “holier than thou”
    Any wonder why some choose NOT to believe? We are a messed up lot, but God loves us on our journeys. Thank God!
    Blessings of Peace, Jody

    • You’re right Jody, it is both ways and either way it is a reflection of the person making the statement, perhaps it is difficult to fathom the depths of God’s love at first because our stand point of love is so limited until we go deeper into our journey with him. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Just wanted to note how much I enjoyed this two-part series, Teresa. The journey from what we’re told, to what we know and recognize within can take quite a bit of courage to navigate. And I think we have to be careful… in our desire that others know the experience of God that we have discovered, it is important to remember that words can obscure experience itself. So many good-hearted and passionate people don’t believe in “God”, but have embraced philosophies of introspection and Love which also lead to this experience of unity you describe. We forget that our experience of God is unique… our relationship with God is as unique as we are, or rather our uniqueness as beings is derived from the fact that there is only one God-Teresa relationship in the whole Universe. I think you have more than one child? You have unique relationships with each, and yet you remain Teresa… There is so much beauty and mystery when we allow ourselves to experience the richness of it, without worrying that we’re doing it wrong…

    Love
    Michael

  4. Hi Michael, I always appreciate your comments! I absolutely agree with you. Our experiences in getting to know God are as unique as we are. I also agree that words can get in the way of how we express our experiences. Words fall short for me though I try.

    I also like what you wrote here: ‘So many good-hearted and passionate people don’t believe in “God”, but have embraced philosophies of introspection and Love which also lead to this experience of unity you describe.’ This is something like what has been gnawing at the back of my mind. An Atheist would not say he is not ‘spiritual’ because he doesn’t believe in ‘spirit’ but may be in touch with what I would call his spirit nevertheless. However, can they experience the unity of love with God though they do not believe? :::::Thinking as I am typing::::: I think yes, at times it probably does happen, such as when one is gazing at a night full of stars or a majestic mountain or the Grand Canyon and we are fully in the present moment and experience that sense of awe and something in us seems to swell and calls out to us. I believe we are all connected to God though we may not all realize it. To respond to that connection, that calling we sometimes feel when we look upon grandeur and beauty is the beginning of that unity and that unity transforms us not because we are trying to be transformed, but because we have begun to share the eyes and heart of God. I don’t know for sure but I hope you are right and that it can happen to everybody. It is that continuous experience of unity that I wish for everybody for no other reason other than the reason of love. Love is so good for us! We need it in us and through us and around us.

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