Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual summit called, (What is) The Future of Christianity (?), hosted by the renowned evangelical pastor, author and theologian, Brian McLaren.  Brian told the story of his oldest son’s foray into undergraduate school, and the lesson his son brought back on his first holiday home from university.

Having been raised in the evangelical church as a young child, the Church was a worshipping and serving community with the values he was taught as Jesus’ own. This was what “Junior” had in mind upon his arrival at college.  Soon, he realized that things were quite different from the way he had been raised and taught; the values and concerns were different too.  His parents asked him what kind of worship and service community he had found.  Junior replied, “Christianity means something different out there.”

Long before I knew anything of this broadcast it had become apparent to me and probably to you, too, that Christianity means different things to different CHRISTIANS; so where does that leave the CHURCH?

Now, we can debate all day about how some of our siblings in the faith have bastardized the word, Christian, in ways that no longer identify as Christ-like, but that is not the intent of my reflections.  Instead, I believe EACH one of us is called at this moment in Western Christianity’s history, to consider what does being a Christian mean to me?  How do I live into and out of my understanding of the Christ-life as I live it?

The summit had notable panelists including Richard Rohr and Barbara Holmes all bringing their own perspectives about what is next for the future of Christianity.  There were strong and provocative statements to explore and yet the most thought provoking for me was the need to look at my devotion.  What (or to Whom) am I devoted?

In an age of relativism when the notion of being fervent about anything seems foreign, the one who professes the label of Christian will have to determine whether their devotion is to the Christian Church (as it exists in the West), the Christian community (as it exists in individual sites in the West) or to Jesus of Nazareth later called the Christ or anointed one of G-D.

Every endpoint of each will lead us along a different path and NOT all paths will lead to that which I believe we seek:  Peace, Joy, Love, Compassion, Inclusion, Justice, Transformation, Healing, Reconciliation with G-D and with Each Other.

For me, only one path will lead us there; only one devotion is first and foremost among all others and that is a true devotion to the deathless Presence of Jesus the Christ. This Presence of the Risen Christ is even within each one of us and is sometimes called our Higher Self or True Self.

Our devotion to our Higher, True, Christ-Self will automatically bring us to the shore to which we are all sailing for.  It will take us all HOME.

Steven Covey, in his book THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, stated that one of the ways a person maintains their effectiveness is by “Beginning with the End in mind.”  The teaching and preaching of Jesus of Nazareth was ALL about having the End in mind.  He called it the Kingdom of G-D or the Reign and Supremacy of G-D.  He said it was closer than folks imagined.  He showed it by doing things that were countercultural to the “norm.”  It was that End for which he physically died a traumatic death.  Yet, even his physical death was NOT the end of the Divine story.

When we devote ourselves to the Presence of the Risen Christ within, we align ourselves with his message in words and behaviors of healing, health, and wholeness.  Of course this is a far cry from where we find ourselves right now, but I believe it is where many of us are headed.  Everybody gets to choose.

Junior was correct, “Christianity means something different out there.”  What does it mean to you?

Pondering with Love,
Freda Marie+


Dear Folks,

The moniker “Christian” has been hijacked lately, disconnected from its meaning as a practice that seeks the well-being of others. I have heard it wielded as a weapon that chooses power over instead of suffering with, exclusion instead of welcome, fear mongering instead of love. Here’s another way to think about it.

Every one of us has a wound inside, maybe several: an experience of loss, of meanness or betrayal that feels like death. The miracle is that life can begin there. When we let ourselves be met by Spirit in that wilderness, trusting that healing can come from what’s broken, we can hear a holy voice speaking.

“You are the one that I have created, and in you I am well pleased. Go! Love! Live! Bless and feed my sheep. Whatever tomb you’ve stumbled into or been thrust inside, wherever you feel most stuck or lost or powerless, God can stir hope there and raise you up.”

Jesus gave himself to others, made space for them, believed in their potential, loved what he saw despite our foibles. He knew that love denied in one place can be born in another. He taught that love gives us the means to triumph over all that separates us from each other, from God, and from our best selves. He showed that love never dies.

Hidden just below the surface these days is a world of people with broken dreams or hearts or terrors in the night… people whose relationships are rocky, whose children are in trouble, whose jobs are unfulfilling, overwhelming, or shifting in some disconcerting way… Some folks are sick or scared to make a change, hungry for food or meaning, grieving the loss of a loved one or a cherished culture or both.

Many days you wouldn’t know it to look at us, because we function on the cheerful surface most of the time. We keep our pain to ourselves, the way our parents taught us or our coaches expected. If we cry, its into our pillows at night or in the car driving down the highway. Stiff upper lips are a badge of honor, we say, as if holding anger or sorrow at bay is a way to deal with it. But as Anne Morrow Lindberg wrote in Gift from the Sea, the tide comes in eventually bringing everything with it… Do we really think no one notices our anger or sadness or exhaustion?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some particular form of asceticism (as a sinner, a penitent, or a saint), but to be a man” or a woman as we are intended to be: fully alive and engaged with the world, reconciled with ourselves and each other, compassionate toward all. “It is not some religious act which makes a Christian what he or she is, but participation in the suffering of God” in the life of the world. (The Cost of Discipleship) If we will let it, the very pain that lays us so low today connects us to every other person who ever lived, and so equips us to be healers ourselves. The cross isn’t the end of the story, but the beginning.

Will you go and say, “Tell me who you are and where it hurts,” to your brother, the stranger, the friend, and the foe?


Have you ever had a secret that was so good, something so wonderful that happened or was about to happen to you that you simply could not keep it to yourself?  I have learned a secret that is so good, I simply must share it with you!

I was studying the Scriptures describing the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary recently, and I imagined the kind of excitement and joy which drove Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth’s house.  I could see them together sharing their delightful news of new babies with each other.  What joy and laughter they must have shared, and what fears and desires for the future they must have mulled over together.

But reading their story of what G-D did in these two ancestors lives led me to a more important question for myself:  What exciting thing is G-D doing in my life?  What is G-D birthing in me?  What about you?  What is G-D creating through you?  Remember, “nothing is impossible with G-D.”

What new perception, observation, thought, attitude or disposition is being birthed in each one of us at this moment in time?

Life is all about change.  Just watch nature do it.  Change may be a given, but real transformation is mindful because it is also conversion or metanoia; the repentance that Jesus preached about.  It is a process that bears fruit because it is grounded in Intention.  That intention is to BE our Best Self– our Highest Self—our Divine-Self.  Transformation is the Way for those who choose to follow Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ. We are transformed into our Highest, Best,  and Divine Self.

The beauty of this transformation, though, is its ease.  I am discovering that once I get over my fear and inertia and lean into the unknown, I realize I know what to do.  It is the Spirit of Christ who dwells within that unknown space inside of me—leading— when and if I choose to follow.  As I follow I feel free and life and living becomes truly easy.  Making decisions feel easy.  I have discovered that the struggle of suffering through choices is NOT G-D ordained in the least!  Decisions are often not easy because we are afraid to go there…into the unknown place where G-D dwells.

I even have a new mantra to go along with my new birthing process: “I know what to do and I do it with ease.”  This mantra reminds me that what is truly ME (my highest and Best and Divine Self) knows and if I choose to, I can act accordingly.  This does not mean that circumstances around me have changed, but that I have learned a new, different, and life-giving way of perceiving the circumstances in my external landscape because of the transformation of my internal landscape.

So, I wonder if Spirit has laid a seeming impossibility upon your heart, that you feel driven to check out, test out, or see bear fruit?  Who are you intuiting would be a sharer of this new thing you are birthing? Jesus has other sheep who are not necessarily in this fold called Church.  There is no exceptionalism in G-D’s kin(g)dom.  The person you wish to share your new idea with may not be in our common fold.  That is okay.

There is too much of this Present Darkness that we “Christians” are throwing up our hands about and thinking and speaking in ways that accommodate the current systems of the world…from economic, to political, to social.  Although we live in such times as these, who says we are not here to become our DIVINE and Highest Self in the crucible of this epoch of time?  We are invited to choose transformation with Intention.  Go ahead and lean into the Unknown with me!

Emmanuel!  GOD-is-WITH-US!

Choosing to breathe faith & trust with EASE,

Freda Marie+