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.

Continue reading “On abandoning abandonment”

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.

Continue reading “Moving everything online”

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 🙂

This year I skipped the conference …

In 2017 I returned to making the problem of God my professional focus and therewith transitioned from a ten-year break doing whatever my hands found to do. Before that break my primary work was with people on the same trajectory, albeit with different faith commitments, wrestling with the problem of God. Some were people starving for an authentic relationship with God within the church on their way out. They were tired and frustrated and many were abused and exploited by the church. And they would experience God draw near in Person and find some refuge in other churches and home groups. But I mostly spent my time with those who had long deconverted from Christianity and were now wrestling with what to do and make of their belief that “God is not” now that they had experienced God. And by “experienced God” I mean they had experienced God draw near in Person to speak directly and immediately to them and even bring healing to some.

I thoroughly enjoyed all sessions including courses, seminars, cuppas and gatherings with people. But part of the process was transitioning people over from the work I was doing to the regularity of church attendance. Both kinds of people, those finding God as Christians and those finding God as the long deconverted, experienced a strong discrepancy between wanting to further develop a relationship with God and the expectations and demands of the church that people not only do church but make church synonymous with worshipping and hearing from God. They were in church to pursue a relationship with God and rejected for being questioning and self-educating and for actually expecting to be meeting with God in and through church. But they were disappointed. It took from six months to a year for people to come back to me and not that “church is not about God”. And not only were they right but I agreed with them. Their tragedy was devastating for me. I’d see people literally transformed and renewed by experiencing God leaving as emaciated and frustrated as they were before that. But few supporting were willing to explore this and everyone beloved the answer was to plant yet another church.

Continue reading “This year I skipped the conference …”

Why do I have this blog?

Having just rebooted my blog I have to pose the question, “Why do I have this blog?” Over the seasons my blogs mixed my personal and professional thinking with what’s interested and concerned me together with my hobbies and interests. In particular, this blog was reflective but created trajectories rather than went somewhere. This left the blog without coherence, which may have been ok except that it’s never sat right with me. Continue reading “Why do I have this blog?”


Rebooting a blog is always a challenging decision to arrive at. This is the second reboot of urbanmystic.blog. Most of what I’ve been posting has been sparked from work-in-progress projects and activities I’m engaging in and this has resulted in trajectories opened through blogging that I’m not going to get around to blogging through. I’d rather the blog exist with its own meaning and purpose that’s contributing to the work of Urban Mystic and the three key conversations we’re exploring – de-/re-constructing church, the problem of God, and cultivating spirituality.