It is probable that God was designed by humanity in order to make sense of the life experience. And still, there is an obvious “Other” present in the universe, and that for me, is God. I’ve explored, and I regularly practice, a variety of ways, paths, or connections with God. I appreciate the value and contribution of Judaism, Buddhism, Native American Spirituality, Islam, and also the Atheist perspective. My faith life has been richly impacted through open-minded relations. Ultimately for me, Jesus Christ most effectively reveals God. I’m not speaking of the Jesus Christ depicted and restrained by humanity. The Christ that reveals God for me is the Christ of the gospel stories, the Christ of open-hearted, compassionate, and ridiculously inclusive love. Yes, my God is much more than any limit I can possibly imagine. Jesus was not the dictator of God’s grace, and neither am I. Jesus did not shape God into what he wanted God to be, and neither shall I. God is not owned by us or by any one religion; God is the reality of things far greater and more powerful than the restrictions of our lives. This world and all its craziness is a dwelling place for this divine interaction.
I am an ordained member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and I consider myself the luckiest clergy alive because I get to serve the dynamic congregation of Community Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids. I’m a strong Presbyterian because its governance includes the voice of lay leaders, and I am passionate about individual connections with God. Mutual responsibility and accountability is powerful. My undergraduate studies were Ministry and Psychology in La Crosse, Wis. After graduation, I went immediately to Kentucky where 13 years ago I earned my Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I am currently working on my Doctorate of Ministry at McCormick Seminary in Chicago. I do not live or lead by threat of divine retribution, neither do I live or lead with the hope of divine reward. I live and I lead by the grace of God for the hope of the world.
With this column I intend to bring a progressive Christian voice to the table of conversation and consideration. I will discuss a variety of topics and how my faith interacts with them. For example, non-literal translation of the Bible and biblical criticism, the concepts of heaven and hell, resurrection and crucifixion from a non-traditional lens, interfaith relations, as well as my perspective on current social issues such as the migrant crisis. I invite you to see what I have to say in future columns, and engage with me by sending questions for consideration directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.