Tuesday, September 4

Discovery: Not All Religion is Rosy.


I was stoned – and fighting weakly, as it seemed that a gang of demons were struggling to gain full control of my mind! I had eaten some “magic mushrooms” that night with the intent of connecting with my animal “spirit guide.” Would it be a hawk or an eagle? What hidden wisdom would I discover? After eating the mushrooms, I had followed my impulses and driven out to a swamp out in the county, and taken a walk through the boggy woods. As I walked, the drug began taking a stronger hold, and so would the “animal spirit” sensation. Not a soaring hawk, or any other romantic notion, but I began to feel like a skulking wolf on the prowl. It was as if some other personality were settling in around my own like fog onto a smoking candle! Leaving the swamp, I began to drive back to town. Somebody I recognized was out hitchhiking, and I pulled over to give him a ride. As soon as I did, this strange personality started to close in on me. Under my seat was a long butcher's knife from my food service job, and I was getting this strong, other-worldly, urge to kill this man for food! 

Looking back, it is still frightening to think of how that might have ended, with the sheriff's office trying to figure how a car had left the road with the grisly remains of a full-on knife fight in the front seat. Looking back, at the time, I saw that man a day or two later. I didn't tell him what had been going on with me, but he said that he had been aware of a really evil presence in my car that night. I had devolved into an odd kind of scavenger, always on the lookout for the next thrill, and all the time seeing myself as one of the “religious” kind of beatnik as I read the books that were popular on the religious scene of the day –books on meditation, Chinese philosophy, and, until the swamp incident, something that was being sold as a Native American spirituality. “Organic” psychedelics, mystical music, occultic mysteries, and dangers like death and prison all combined to form what I felt was my “religion.”

Wednesday, August 29

X-Formation: The Beginning!


My trial title, X-Formation, is a bit of a puzzle. We know “X” from school as the unknown factor,. What we are talking about forming, we really don't know. In fact, St. Paul said, “We do not know what we shall be, but we know that, when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” While most of us read that verse as if it is about seeing Christ up close in the next life, isn't the Christian life here and now about seeing him more clearly, day by day? I used to work in electronics, and some of the common words we saw on diagrams were xfmr and xstr, for transformer and transistor. “Trans,” meaning, “across,” was printed as “x.” Again, the Bible calls for each of us to, “be transformed, by the renewing of our minds.” It is that transformation that allows us to know God's will (in that same verse), and, knowing it, to be able to pray, and receive, according to his will. So, this book could have been named, How to Know the Will of God, How to Get Your Prayers Answered, or even, You, Too, Can Predict the Future! I prefer X-Formation. Finally, the X stands for the Greek letter, “Chi,” which sounds closer to “key” in our language. We see it as shorthand for “Christ” in “X-mas,” and the Person of Christ is “key” in this, key formation of Christ in us. St. Paul, again, wrote, “Little children, for whom I labor and travail until Christ be formed in you..” And isn't “Christ in you, the hope of Glory,” and, as St. Peter wrote of, “being made partakers of the divine nature...” God's goal for each of our lives?

Tuesday, August 28

To all friends, relatives, subscribers, and passing curious - This blog is now the home of X-Formation, a closer look at the practices that make up the way of life called Christianity. It is the first of a series of "I've got so much to learn, I'm writing a book about it" studies. On the burner are another book on spiritual transformation, healing, and freedom; and a fresh look at freedom from divorce (on either side); and the lessons we, today, can learn from such folk as the early Celtic Christians. So, stay tuned, tell your friends, and be ready to talk back!