Skip to main content

My Contemplative Writing Journey: A Failed Christian

I come to Contemplative Writing as a failed contemplative and a failed writer and a failed Christian. 

Let’s take the last first. I am currently immersed in a Lenten Discipline where I’m offering a Contemplative Writing Prompt each day of the liturgical season. Lent is a religious season. The season runs for the forty days that lead up to and prepare for the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross. My contemplative writing practice is full of the Spirit. It regularly brings me into the presence of God. In the two weeks I’ve been pursuing this discipline, I’ve only mentioned Jesus once, and that was in a song. 

A Failed Christian: Where is Jesus?

Exhibit number two. My first published book was about making crosses from broken and found objects (Making Crosses: A Creative Connection to God, Paraclete Press.) The cross was the execution device Jesus died on. During the editing of the book, my editor said, “For a book about the cross, you don’t talk a lot about Jesus.”

Exhibit last. In 2007, I facilitated the formation of the Door of Hope Writing Group. I was encouraged to do so by a priest. His suggestion came in a class of a Christian organization, the School for Servant Leadership. The one we were serving was Jesus. During my eight years at the Door of Hope, I can count the number of times I mentioned Jesus the Son of god. Mary the Mother of God, all the time. Jesus, not so much.

Yet, Jesus is the foundational rock of my religious belief. For me, everything starts with Jesus. It has been so ever since I saw him in the Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi, and he told me to pin my faith on no one but him. 

So, what is going on? 

Insight on a Contemplative Writing Journey, perhaps

I practice a Christianity that is triune, though everyone in my Episcopal Church pretty much hates the Trinity. The Trinity is God, the Spirit, and Jesus. God is the physical presence of goodness in this world that I can feel and sometimes see. The Spirit is that force which translates the goodness into words and thoughts for me to understand my place in the world. Jesus is the one who guides me on how to be who God wants me to be in the world as told to me by the Spirit. Those are my definitions. 

Christianity is supposed to be a tripod table, as it were, upon which our faith balances. Churches don’t balance all that well. White evangelicals have sliced off the Jesus leg so they can focus on stuff he didn’t focus on, like abortion and an anti-LGBTQ agenda and being “anti-woke” in general. Us Episcopalians and Presbyterians have hacked at the Spirit leg so we can be more uptight and respectable. Some Baptist churches talk so much about Jesus, they don’t leave a wedge for God. These are my gross oversimplifications of how we interact with the Christian religion.

The Trinity is essential to the religion I practice. But the only time I talk about Jesus is when I’m explaining why I’m reacting to God and the Spirit the way I am. Jesus leads me to God. Then I spend all my time talking about God. The Spirit. God. The Universe. God. The goodness in the world. God. Not Jesus.

See? I come to my contemplative writing journey: a failed Christian.

Next installment: a failed contemplative.

A reflective statue in the NOMA Sculpture Garden to accompany my Contemplative Writing Journey:  A Failed Christian
Self-examining my contemplative writing journey: a failed Christian

Contemplative Writing, contemplative writing as a christian

Comments (8)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *