While some people hear “spiritual misfits cultivating abundance” and instantly know Abundance Reconstructed is for them, others find themselves a bit uncertain or even a bit repelled yet still curious.
So what might it mean to be among spiritual misfits cultivating abundance? Obviously no two stories are exactly the same, but here is some of mine. Perhaps you will find it resonating with some of yours.
Seeking Being and Belonging
I have always been a misfit. At the very core of my being I knew I did not fit within the structures that surrounded me. Over time, I came to describe it as feeling like a foreigner in my native land. I felt like an outsider at school, at church, in the Boy Scouts, and even at home. While performing in certain ways and meeting certain expectations cultivated an illusion of belonging, very little of it felt true to me. It was a lonely way to grow up.
One of the clearest moments where I truly felt seen came while, of all things, watching TV. In 1997, the year I turned 23, Apple released their iconic commercial, “Think Different.” Even as a diehard PC user, as I listened to those words and lost myself in the imagery. I knew there was something in them that was true about me. I sensed the possibility of both being and belonging. Maybe the commercial stirs the same response in you.
Becoming a Spiritual Misfit
Once I embraced my misfit self, I spent years trying to embody it, yet it often felt forced. Like the Patriarch Abraham viewing Ishmael as the child of promise or Moses seeking solidarity with his people by killing an Egyptian, I forced thinking different into my current framework. That meant taking conservative Lutheran theology, something that cultivates shame by starting with human depravity, and trying to make it winsome.
What I failed to realize was the vile impact of this belief system on my soul and my relationships. Lutheranism’s focus on depravity convinced me I deserve my childhood trauma, amplifying the resultant depression and anxiety. Then, when I engaged in dysfunctional coping mechanisms, quick to forgive Lutheranism dismissed the pain I caused others.After all, Jesus died for that sin.
Spiritual misfits often struggle with Western Christianity. For some, it is the conservative takeover of American Evangelicalism. For others, it is the obsession over seemingly impossible moral standards or demonizing certain groups of people. Still more see a faith that looks nothing like Jesus. Then there is the notion of a loving God sending people to hell.
While those were not my issues as I sat down to write my dissertation in the summer of 2015, I am amazed at how seeking answers to my own questions addressed many of these issues. In the end, what was supposed to be the culminating project demonstrating my mastery in spiritual formation turned into an exercise in spiritual deconstruction. My reimagined faith, something that appeared as I read the Bible from a different perspective, is summarized in these five posts:
- The Bible Is Not the Word of God
- Jesus Isn’t the Only Son of God
- God Isn’t Offended
- Jesus Didn’t Die for You
- It’s Not About Going to Heaven
Spiritual Misfits Cultivating Abundance
Stripping down this summary even further, I would say the Bible tells the story of a deity who invites humanity to reject living by power and embrace living by love.
Among other things, this means, rather than crafting images of how we want others to perceive us, we dare to reveal our true selves. Moreover, we invite others to fully embody themselves without judgment. In doing so, we cultivate the abundance of belovedness by boldly declare that everyone and everything belongs. This simple foundation invites us to transform how we think about ourselves, our relationships, and the world we live in.
Each week, the Abundance Reconstructed Newsletter seeks to open our eyes to both power and love, so we can boldly step into love and be spiritual misfits cultivating abundance in our own lives and in the world around us.