Deciding on the next conversation to follow-up on part one of the most impactful episodes, and why, from last year was a hard one for me. As I’ve said before, each episode holds a special place for entirely different reasons; and yet, as I’ve given it thought over the past weeks since the post about the Eternal Current (if you haven’t read that I’d recommend it) the episodes and corresponding conversations that come to mind for me are the ones with Alexander Shaia.
I say “ones” for the simple reason that we recorded two episodes in a very short amount of time, and but for the world they were spaced apart by many weeks. But why these? Why Alexander? Let’s jump back a little.
I’ve listened to podcasts for as long as they have been available, or as long as I can remember anyway (PocketCasts thank you for existing on Android..I digress) and more often than not in the past, they were not religion related at all, honestly they still aren’t. Instead they were your usual affairs: NPR, Radiolab, Planet Money (don’t judge me I am a banker and it’s super interesting) , Serial (season 1 was so good…since then though..meh) but if shows tepidly stepped into faith I either, wasn’t interested, or unaware—probable a little of both. Then 2017 happened.
I often mention a close circle of friends in which anything I’m processing is fair game and the conversations we have are 100% all over the place, but the space we have created is entirely necessary and I know we all are intent to have it remain that way. Because of this honesty and transparency we often share all sorts of pieces of our lives with one another when one of us shares something and says “read this” WE DO. Though it’s not often thrown around as that amount of trust and honesty has been hard earned, but well worth it. I hear you saying right now: “Why does this matter?” Well see my friend, Ryan, shared this quote from Alexander,
“Myth is a story that is so true that it can only be told in metaphor.”
Let that sit with you! I mean really sit with you! That sentence can be mulled over and over and over and still have huge ramifications. It piqued my interest and so I do what anyone should do...
“Hey Ryan! Who is this guy?”
Ryan mentions a Robcast — this is when I realized Rob had a “cast” ( I know late to the party). So I found one and dived in. I only made it about 15 minutes when I realized I needed to dig into this more.
I buy Heart and Mind, Alexander’s book, and begin pouring over it.
It. Blows. My. Mind. Honestly that’s not the best way to put it. It shifted the lenses that I filter not only the Gospel through but so many other aspects of life.
So, I shoot Alexander an email at probably the worst time to be sending an email to him. And then I forget it and move on to go through the holidays; still reading the book. Still wrestling. Still growing, still stretching.
Eventually, through a lot of patience, on Alexander’s part, we nail down a date. Questions lined up — and go.
And Alexander does what Alexander does. He takes my questions and reframes them through the lens of the Quadratos and it’s turns into the fantastic two conversations (really love the one on Easter). But it’s not the convos that changed me, necessarily, it was the journey. It was a line that he said, two lines really, and writing this now I can see the thread that binds these stories of these episodes between Aaron and Alexander together.
The Quadratos views of scripture are not the only way to view the gospels, but one way among many.
We don’t go and take God anywhere. We don’t go and take Jesus anywhere. We go everywhere and invoke that the spirit is already there, Jesus is already everywhere. Jesus is the grain of sand across the cosmos — go discover what that far part of the cosmos has to teach you about Jesus.
I can see now, in retrospect, my views of Christ shifting. I look back at my notes, fears, and struggles and see myself wrestling with the concept of Christ as being more than what I thought. And that change hurt, as all changes do. That change broke parts of my faith, parts that I didn’t want broken, and made me hold with intention and reflection how Christ is speaking. You see the change for me was the paths.
Before, and often still, I come upon a roadblock or a new perspective and tend to try to tackle it with logic, as if surely my intellect, whatever it’s measure is, is enough to hold pain and contradictions and growth. Spoiler alert — it wasn’t — and neither is yours.
These paths slowed me down, making me wrestle and see pain for pain, beauty for beauty, growth for growth, and grace for grace, and love for love. If you’ve read Alexander’s work you’ll know that this is the story to life, to all our lives, and I find it’s helped me, personally, so much.
I’m still learning to allow both heart and mind to equally voice my spirit, but I have this convo to thank for it.
I’ll leave you with one of the portions of Heart and Mind that I continue to chew on for this season of my life and journey (emphasis mine):
Any over exaltation or arrogance we might have had from our time in the third path needs to be tempered now. ‘“Go slowly” is the very first counsel we receive from Luke. We are asked to shelter our revelation, newly birthed, so that Spirit can nestle deeply, maker her home in us comfortable and her course to our inner selves wide and unobstructed. In this way, the messages of Spirit can live side by side with those of the ever-chattering, control-driven intellect and receive equal attention. We discover that when Mystery is our in-breath, our ego-self will find it easier to quiet and be more patient. - p.293
If you haven’t heard either of the convos mentioned here you are: