Sick of labels! Thats what I am!
Sick of having to define myself by a specific belief system - by doctrines, theology, denomination or even a religion.
When I first encountered God, it was outside of any religious structure. It was pure and life giving, with no regard to anything religious. It wasn't even Jesus. It was simply an overwhelming revelation of love and acceptance by God.
The next 40 plus years were spent trying to categorise and analyse that experience, under the guidance and influence of "the church", simply because the closest thing to anything spiritual I could hang this experience on to was the local Anglican church where I played the organ (I was a classical organist in my youth, but that's a whole other story).
It was a journey of shaping and defining that experience, turning it into something tidy and quantifiable. I jumped through every hoop that was put in front of me, but I never found what I was looking for. Nothing ever fit the original encounter.
So here I am, having now spent years unravelling that journey and discovering how useless and irrelevant all that classifying and labelling was - realising how much damage I suffered by trying to adapt to a system of belief that was at complete odds with my core identity in every respect. I'm not talking about sexuality (although that is a whole other story as well) but my identity as a spiritual being. I discovered that a deep cognitive dissonance had eaten away at my whole identity to the point where I had no integrity. I acted out the christian life as prescribed by traditions based on the subjective interpretations of an ancient book.
But my heart knew better. It always has.
It knew about unconditional love. It knew about freedom and peace, joy and compassion. It knew who God is all the time and quietly refused to be manipulated, abused, insulted, humiliated and labeled into a neat conformed package.
So I can now finally feel free to drop the label "christian". Its no longer something I feel comfortable with. Its a label that doesn't describe me in the slightest. In fact, the image associated with that label is basically repulsive to me, although I have tried to maintain an attachment to the label for the sake of maintaining relationships.
So what do I believe?
It changes and grows. There are many core concepts that I find christianity has a wonderful grasp of. But there are many other christian beliefs that simply defy the very nature of the universe, humanity and God himself. I'm not even going to bother listing those things because you will only want to define me by them anyway. And I will continue to do the same to you, although its becoming much easier to look past those beliefs and paradigms to see the human inside, the love inside, God inside.
I have returned to the place God revealed himself to me, and started rebuilding without "christianity". Make of it what you will, call me backslidden or a heretic. But one thing I do have is integrity. I also have a greater sense of love than I've ever known. I no longer get suicidal depression, and genuinely feel a greater love for people.
So there you have it. I'm Jim - not a christian, not a buddhist, not a calvinist or arminian, not Hare Krishna or new age, or any other age. I'm just Jim on an awesome journey of spiritual discovery.