S05E05 – Silence, Mystery, and Relational Presence

Photo by Anni Roenkae on Pexels.com

In this episode we explore the remarkable difference between the silence and absence of God in the spirituality of the believer and of the mystic-to-be. This is a very important discussion for anyone wanting to gain a sense of God’s drawing near and withdrawing. And especially important for anyone wrestling with a relational disconnect with God.

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Miniseries Episode 6 – ORT – Finale

In Episode 6 of our miniseries on Open and Relational Theology Tim and Steve reflect on this series and orient themselves on Season 5.

It is also our first ever book giveaway episode! Thomas Jay Oord, of the Center for Open and Relational Theology, was kind enough to send us some copies of his new book to giveaway to some fortunate listeners. Like and subscribe to our podcast, write a post on FaceBook about your favourite episode, take Tim and Steve in. We’ll draw winners from among those who do and message you via FB to arrange your copy.

Urban Mystic 2020 and 2021

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

This has been quite a year following on from last year with a continuing pandemic exacerbating the frayed edges of our society. The picture above is kinda how I’m feeling 😂. Half-way through 2019 I made the decision to stop supporting existing churches and serving as a missional coach encouraging institutional expression of the church tied to ‘the doing church paradigm’. This enabled me to complete my Masters in Theology (Spirituality) and raised the question of what on earth to do instead. This decision resulted in a tremendous amount of anxiety as I needed to consider what the expression of my calling is to be when leaving all the institutional opportunities.

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On abandoning abandonment

My morning photo

There’s a well known piece of writing “Footsteps in the sand.” Its about someone walking a beach, looking back, and noting there to have been a pair of footsteps followed by a single set. When asking why they’d been left to walk alone, God responds to say, “That’s where I carried you.” And though that’s true for many and offered as an encouragement it falls short of two further legs on the journey. There’s a point in everyone’s journey where God abandons them and another where they abandon God. The footsteps story may speak to one part of people’s journey where God may have carried them (and not everyone experiences this and we need to discern whether they have before offering this as though they ought to have), but offering “Footsteps” to those abandoned by God is unwise, ill-discerned, and unhealthy. Similarly, to offer footsteps to those enduring a period of the abandonment of God by them is likewise ridiculous.

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Moving everything online

Thanks to freepik

This post is a quick update on the work of the urban mystic. I’m currently moving our courses online and busy setting up a Patreon page to raise more support toward the work (a huge thank you to those who support the work of the urban mystic). In this post I want to give a brief update on where I’m at with the moving the courses online.

So far I’ve scoped out all the video and audio segments needed for the 7 Key Relationships (7KR) and The Trinity Sessions (TTS). These two courses are a natural first step. Turns out this is a monumental task! But it is going to be so worth it (FYI I’ve never produced video before but that won’t stop me 😜). The core component to each course is and will always be a weekly participatory Zoom session. In addition, 7KR includes three one-on-one sessions with the facilitator and TTS two one-on-one sessions. Of course participants can schedule more if they choose. These are simply the minimum touch-base points I’ve discovered over time end up being good. In this sense both course are ready to go. There is, however, one monumental snag.

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Deconstructing with John van de Laar

Our guest for two episodes is a writer, musician, public speaker, composer, poet, liturgist, graphic and web designer with a Masters Degree in Theology. He recently resigned from serving as a Methodist minister. He has over 40 years of experience in spiritual practice and ministry seeking to establish a new kind of spiritual community that breaks free of the limitations of geography and specific times for the community to gather. EvoFaith turns spiritual practice into an on-demand, 24/7, global experience.

You can find out more about EvoFaith and get to know John van de Laar through our conversation over two episodes airing Thur 6 November 2020.

Find out more on https://evofaith.com/. Listen to Episode 1 and Episode 2.

John van de Laar

Our Podcast – Season 2

We’re working on our podcast for season 2 and are recording and editing all the sessions ahead of launching the series. This helps us create a coherent series and also up the production standards.

In season 2 we’re speaking to a bunch of people who’ve been in and left professional ministry. We explore their initial experience of God and journey into ministry. This follows on to their journey out of ministry and into their thoughts, into their deconstruction of the doing church paradigm centered on the institution of the church.

Reliability of personal mystical experiences – Part 4

This post is in support of the Episode 12 Understanding personal mystical experiences Part 4 on our podcast. There I referred to a research project I did doing church. Below is the data:

Time spent in worship is the musical component primarily consisting of praise and worship with a little bit of prayer and commenatry.

Time spent in worship

Time spent in miscellaneous activities includes all the community related stuff such as tithing and a second preach on tithing, sacraments, marketing, report back, news and announcements, etc..

Time spent in miscellaneous activities

Time spent on the message is literally time spend preaching. This is, paradigmatically and practically, the focus of church services. The main event is the preaching and teaching in whichever form it is given.

Time spent sharing the message

Time spent as ministry time is specifically understood as the activity of tangible and experiential meeting with God. Out of the selection of churches, only one actually included this.

Time spent as ministry time

This breaks down in some handy graphics as shared below.

Visually priorities when doing church

Our first Podcast is up!

Screenshot from urbanmystic.podbean.com

We have launched our podcast (finally, here). In the first episode we introduce Urban Mystic and dive right in with some caveats and definitions. This series is a deconstruction of faith along with an exploration of spirituality, religion and mysticism. If you’re interested in what lies after religion and in a relationship with God apart from religions as they’ve been on the past then this is the podcast for you.

In this first episode we begin our exploration of the problem of God. As people were capable of relating to, or having a relationship with, everything from ideas to objects to persons. This is very important when focusing on people’s experience of and relationship with God. It’s particularly important when recognizing that two people standing in the same place can see the world in entirely different ways, so when several people say they have a relationship with God there’s a world of difference between relating to the-idea-of God, to the God-of-faith as institutionalized God through objects and institutions, and to relating to the Person who is God.

Busy season!

I completed my first draft of my M.Th. in Christian Spirituality over the weekend and am working through final edits toward submission. With my total focus on this I’m out of the posting to blog loop. I’ll be back posting next week with news of my first book 🙂