This post is from my former blog, but because of the enormous amount of inspiration I weaved into my writing, I found the need to repost it here. I hope you enjoy it!
Here I am, sitting in front of the computer, wondering how to begin. Should I be terribly forthright about what I am about to tell you? Or shall I skip around, hovering over surrounding topics and never really saying what needs to be said? It is definitely quite difficult to decide, probably one of the many outcomes of my fear of speaking my mind. Well, most things have to start somewhere I guess. So. . . . Full speed ahead!!!! ;-D
First off, I will tell you that my daily usual thoughts have been altered dramatically. In good ways, of course. And that all of this came about from reading a book. Yes, to all of those people out there knowing how much of a reader I am, you are probably shaking your heads saying “sounds like Ty.” And it is true, my life has been influenced by a book. I am proud to say it! This book I am speaking of, is none other than The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. If you have already read this marvelous masterpiece of thoughtfulness, or have heard of it, than you can pretty much guess what kind of ideas this blog post will be centered around.
During my read of The Shack, I felt fulfilled. Almost like the last piece of a puzzle was finally being put into place. To emphasize this, I will try to explain the ways I felt about my spirituality.
For a while now I have thought that some presence or maybe just intuition was guiding me, leading me to find some form of enlightenment. This has led my overall spiritual-self to growth and prosperity over the past two years. Everyday, I would realize something new, a happier way to live my life and reconnect with God. I slowly began to draw these related thoughts together, pondering them and opening up my curiosity. This was the beginning of my path to living a healthy relationship with God. Now, after reading The Shack, I feel I have at last found what I have been led to discover. Or at least, I have hit a milestone in my journey.
I bet you are wondering how a book could conjure up such thoughts, eh? I guess I will have to tell you a bit about The Shack.
Let’s start with a simple summery. This book is a story about a man whose young daughter is kidnapped. All evidence suggests that she was brutally murdered. Her dress is found, covered with blood, in a shack deep in the forest. But her body is not. After struggling with depression and family troubles, Mack, the father, receives a note apparently from God, inviting him back to the shack to meet. Mack travels to the shack and spends several days with the Trinity who show their selves in various human forms. During his stay, he discovered that God is truly the definition of love and in the end, he formed a strong relationship with God.
I really connected with the story for many reasons. It showed me that God is not the stern, imposing, and strict force whose wrath is dealt on the sinners, that some people believe he is. He is kind, forgiving, nurturing, caring, and most importantly, Love.
I am not very big on the bible. I mean, it has good intentions, and is certainly a fabulous piece of literature. But really, it’s not the word of God. It’s the word of man trying to BE God. How or why would God impose a set of rules for us to follow, if when we break them, we must repent or be sentenced to an eternal damnation in hell? Just the shame and bad emotions felt when you do something pretty wrong is punishment enough don’t you think? I believe the bible is something we should look to for inspiration, not something we should let rule our lives. Having an internal relationship with God definitely more important.
The Shack opened up my heart to God, maybe not externally, but definitely on the inside. My way of thinking has changed. I no longer feel a need to classify myself as religious, or find words to capture what I believe. That would be limiting what I feel internally. For those of you who are still confused as to what I am trying to say, I guess I could make it easier by classifying myself as Spiritual But Not Religious. That is as narrow as I can make it, except for maybe Spiritual Eclecticism.
There is so much more I wish to discuss, but by this time, I am most likely boring you with my continuous ranting. So I’ll do you a favor. If my writing is uninteresting to you, or maybe my topic of discussion is something uncomfortable to talk about, then stop here. This is a pretty good half way marking for this post. I do not wish to anger or bore you. I will now be flowing into a slightly deeper discussion about roughly the same topic, but just more detailed I guess. For those who wish to continue in my post, please do so. I welcome you to the spiritual side of me. ;-D
As I said earlier, God is truly the definition of Love. I believe this, but I am just beginning to incorporate it into my life and express it externally. That is why I believe reading The Shack was more of a milestone in my journey than the end of the road. I feel like I should explain the path I’ve traveled a bit more fully.
I cannot remember the exact date this path opened up to me but I am guessing it began about two years ago, my curiosity and openness about three years ago. It sort of started with my interest in finding my political party. I know, why would I be interested in politics? Well, I seemed sort of lost at the time. I didn’t know who I really was. Finding a political party that suited me was kind of a way of fitting in with people I thought I shared the same interests with. When someone asked my about myself, I could refer to my political party.
For a while, I simply thought of myself as a Democrat. It seemed to suit me much better than Republican. But then, once I started to learn more about the parties, I eventually just sort of referred to myself as liberal, as I still often do today. That was the first step in the broadening of how I classified myself. I am very inclined toward the pursuit of freedom. Anything that will give me more freedom, the happier I can be.
Actually, for a short period of time (a couple months) I began to think of myself as Independent. But I soon dropped that as my interest in politics began to wane. I now research the minor political parties which are often overlooked such as The Peace and Freedom party, a very small party in the state of California.
My sights next turned to culture. For a while I had a deep passion for traveling. I still do actually. I felt a yearning to learn about different people, the foods they ate, and what they believed about life. I began doing a lot of research, finding out which countries I would like to visit or even move to. I found I really liked Canada, Australia, and many or most European countries.
This interest in culture sort of broadened and evolved to incorporate religion. I began researching different religious beliefs along with my cultural research. Like I stated in my previous blog post, I was led to several different religions. They sort of gravitated on the principles of freedom to believe what you wish, a very loose set of guidelines, and an acceptance of many different ideas. I was very open-minded by this time.
Slowly, I began to realize that I had trouble following just one path. I believed that all paths were right and I could just pick and choose which one to follow. This was my time of religious eclecticism, which was not that long ago actually (referring to my last blog post).
And now, just very recently, I have gotten to the point of dropping religion entirely. I find that it is too limiting for my spiritually. Usually, it is considered a part of religion, that spirituality is encompassed by it. But I believe the opposite. I believe that religion can be a part of spirituality. Sounds confusing huh? ;-D
Well, these are the emotions I am feeling currently. I have explained the path I have been led to. I have been greatly influenced by The Shack. I find it an excellent read, worthy of both positive and negative criticism. I recommend it to anyone who is spiritual and shares a relationship with God. I hope you enjoyed my review and I wish you an excellent day. May you be blessed with laughter, joy, happiness, and Love.
– Ty Crisp