I thought after the last year or so of evolving rants and raves, it's possible that no one has a clue what I really believe. So I thought I might put together a sort of Statement of Beliefs. But you have to remember that this is a very fluid thing, and if you ask me next week things may have been amended. I've been passionate bout truth and integrity with God all my life, poured everything into trying to understand him and his ways. Studied and read who knows how many books, been through all the doctrines, streams, movements, loves, disenchantments and come out the other end realising that life was meant to be very simple.
I should start by saying that one of the most important things in terms of how I come to my beliefs is the recognition of paradigms. I'll probably do some specific writing about this soon, but for now I should say that every human has a complex set of paradigms, that are unique to them, through which they view, process, and react to everything they perceive. In terms of spirituality it makes communicating concepts to each other far more difficult than we think.
So the way I perceive, process and respond to a statement like "love your enemies" is different to every single person on the planet. Of course there would be a lot of similarities, but often the devil is in the detail, and that's what undoes us more often than we care to admit. My beliefs are extensions of my personal paradigms that I have grown into through my life's experiences and colour every aspect of how I understand God, people and life in general, whether I recognise it or not. All I can do is recognise that fact, and be open to God changing it as he sees fit.
My understanding of scripture has always been non-literal ever since God zapped me when I was 15. I then spent years trying to change my mind about that. I've now given up and gone with my heart. The bible isn't and never was intended to be taken literally and is not the inerrant Word of God. I think its a collection of writings that express man's efforts to understand God within specific cultures and contains much truth, pointing to the true nature of God and his heart for all mankind, despite being full of error and contradiction. But I also believe we have Holy Spirit first and foremost to guide us in everything and the bible isn't necessary for salvation or life in God. Its a good reference book if you can sort it out.
I believe that Jesus was central to God's relationship to humans, giving us a focal point, an image, of how he expressed humanity, so that we wouldn't have to feel isolated, condemned or a failure. He wanted to show us what he really thinks of us. In terms of anything he accomplished spiritually, it was done "before the foundation of time", so affects all people through all time whether they know it or not. The details of that are interesting to work through, but not necessary to know for life and relationship with God. I no longer care to argue about "the blood" sacrifice, penal substitution, appeasement for sin. Its all way too ambiguous and contentious, and in the end, no matter what we think about it doesn't change God's love for us and our relationship.
I believe God lives in union with us in every sense of the word. He's intrinsically part of every atom of our being, giving us unconditional worth. We are not God, but are "entwined" with him, part of him. He holds us together and infuses us with all that he is. But we are unique from him. I also think God is expressed through a "trinity" although not some storybook concept of a king on a throne, a bearded Jew and a ghost wafting around. I think God is expressed in three unique forms that can be many things to different people and cultures.
I believe God did not limit his actions and revelation of himself to one race/culture and then bind up the entirety of his revelation into one book. He showed his nature and heart to all nations and loves and accepts all people. He will not lose one single person he has ever created, and will eventually either override their so called free will to save them from themselves, or at least pour out his love in such depth and power that all will be unable to resist. Preferably the latter.
I believe God couldn't give a toss about doctrines and theology. All he wants is integrity of heart, to allow him to love us, and that all life comes from that simple belief and action. We will then love simply because he loves us. The greatest joy we then have is to pour that love and life into the world - to bring them to the same realisation - that they are loved, accepted and can have fullness of life now!
I believe that life can be a bitch, and that God isn't going to make everything peachy just because he loves us. Not everyone will be healed, and we don't have to worry about it. Miracles may or may not happen, people may or may not be raised from the dead, and it doesn't worry me one way or the other. God is interested only in relationship with us. All the other stuff is purely an outcome of our relationship.
I believe there are universal principles governing how things work in the spiritual realm and anyone (christian or not) can tap into that to see manifestations, miracles etc, and their use/prevalence is not an indicator of God's blessing/anointing on anyone. I also think faith can be included in this category, and that complete undoubting belief has a power of its own.
Well, that's sort of scratching the surface really, and hopefully more will be elaborated when this book I'm writing ever gets finished. It would help if I didn't keep discovering more about myself.