Season 3 Episode 1

My mic for recording and current space

This week we launched Season 3 of the podcast of the urban mystic. Listen to the episode online. There’s also a new website up and a Patreon. Here Tim and Steve discuss the series focus and that the podcast of the urban mystic is only the tip of the iceberg.

Our focus for Season 3 is on the tension between faith and experience. This is as faith meaning belief in God on the basis of faith and not experience. It means accepting God on the foundations of faith as meaning the authority of the Bible or Church. So the tension between ‘faith and experience’ is actually as between ‘faith and relationship’. Are we expected to believe in God apart from experiencing God? Does it makes sense that we relate to God apart from relationship with God? Does this personal God only relate to us indirectly through the historical Jesus and the Bible? Explore this with us in Season 3. Listen to the episode here.

The work of the urban mystic includes one-on-one conversations. We also see people one-on-one either in person for a cuppa or online via Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp. These are conversations similar to what we have on the podcast. These conversations are personal and include questions that emerging from listening to the podcast and from people’s lives, stories related to God’s absence and presence, and even people challenging our thinking. If you’d like to connect with us, fill out the form on our website.

The vision of the urban mystic is much larger than the podcast. We seek to encourage individuals to adopt the practice of the presence of God. And we’re working toward bringing our courses online which have a proven track record of enabling people to adopt a relational paradigm. In the longer term we foresee a network of individuals sharing the value for intimacy with God gathering and practicing the presence of God. Please connect with us via our website if you’re inspired by this vision.

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.

From selfie-culture to our authentic self

I was watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. It is a period piece set in the 1958 in New York City and tells the story of a Jewish and female comedian starting out quite by accident and with talent. There’s so much detail in the story that makes it incredible as a feminist story without being feminazi – something so appreciated. So there’s a lot they’re saying with the story they are telling and ton more they’re implying. Overall its remarkable storytelling and insightful social critique. Well done to the writers and actors/actresses!

There’s a subtle scene repeated in Season 1 between Mrs. Maisel and her mother. In one scene, Mrs. Maisel goes to bed with her husband and after he falls asleep gets up to take her makeup off and then “dress” herself for bed. Then before he wakes up she wakes up to go and do her hair and makeup to hop into bed and pretend that she’s been asleep and wakes up as she’s made herself up quite naturally and effortlessly. This scene is repeatedly similarly with Mrs. Maisel’s mother and she has a conversation around this with her husband toward the end of the series.

Continue reading “From selfie-culture to our authentic self”

E ≠ C & C ⊬ E

In the past year I’ve mindfully responded to Christian leaders who argue for church as synonymous with knowing and relating to God and for church leavers as somehow needing to make their way back to the church in order to make their way back to God. I’ve questioned their assumptions regarding church leavers and opposed them making the formal and institutional expression labeled church as synonymous with the church itself and with knowing God. Yet while Christian leaders do note that their life’s work amounts to temporary refuges amidst the broader formal church they are either unable or unwilling to accept that such exceptions simply aren’t enough to redeem the broader church or the paradigm behind it. Clearly the “doing church paradigm” is so strong that it defines the faith for them and in turn they define the faith of others in relation to it. And though they can recognize the difference between good or healthy and bad or unhealthy churches that they can’t recognize such churches as expressions of a highly problematic paradigm they have bought into and continue not only being guided by but also which they bolster, reinforce and promote. They are then complicit in perpetuating an extremely concerning “doing church paradigm”.

The power of paradigms is that you don’t see them while seeing everything through them. They are invisible yet guide our thinking and behaving. And because they’re invisible we don’t work with our paradigms while all your work is guided by them. Paradigms are unconscious and deeply rooted within us. And Church leaders are locked into a “doing church paradigm” and, in turn, lock others into this paradigm by doing church and making it central in every way. Continue reading “E ≠ C & C ⊬ E”

Church EULAs are non-binding

This is an important conversation for church leavers. It is important that we consider whether the Bible supports an independent journey with God centered in our relationships or whether people are contracted into service to the Church. Can the Bible be used as some form of End User License Agreement (EULA) by the Church to contract Christians, new and old, into weekly attendance, tithes, and volunteer services? Or does it encourage an independent relational journey with God throughout one’s life centered in their relationships?

Continue reading “Church EULAs are non-binding”