1. My philisophical investigations.
In particular, I used my “tripolar graphics” to map from Character, Community & Reality into Intention, Emotion & Reason, which interpolated into Spirituality, Sensitivity & Rationality. This later proved a useful tool for analyzing what I saw as the distortions of existing Christian traditions (and the source of their conflict), and thus why transformation offered the hope of reconciliation.
2. My religious background.
Though my parents are moderate fundamentalists (which may explain my fondness for oxymorons), we grew up in an increasingly liberal Lutheran church. I fled that for evangelicalism in college, which later incorporated charismatic elements through Peter Wagner’s 120 Fellowship in the mid-1990s. In 2003 I joined a Vineyard church plant, where the pastor gave me Bill Jackson’s Quest for the Radical Middle which conceptualized the Vineyard as the radical middle between evangelicalism and pentecostalism.
3. My psychological journey
During this time, starting in September 2003, I’ve been undergoing intense counseling with John Isaacs of SBCC. This in turn reflected a spiritual drought I had experienced since the early 1990s, which surfaced (but I soon discovered, didn’t cause) a variety of anxiety-driven and addictive behaviors. In short, I learne I had been intellectually emulating “humanity” rather than directly experiencing it. This led to nine months of reconnecting with my inner child (which culminated in this very blog), followed by six months of discovering my outer adult (which culminated in Geekz 2 Men).
What was scary about all this is that I had studied under some of the best minds in evangelicalism (Dr. Paul Toms, Dr. Paul Cedar, Paul Byer, Peter Wagner, Evon Hedley) and had never had this internal dysfunction recognized or challenged, much less resolved. For that matter, liberal acceptance and charismatic power hadn’t done any better. I realized there was something fundamentally wrong with my existing model of Christianity: my reason, emotions, and actions were not integrated with each other, or with true spirituality.
I am now convinced that the purpose of Christianity is transformation, by the Father through the Spirit into Christ. And while there is some good in all our Christian traditions and movements, to the extent we are settling for less than wholesale transformation (inside and outside) we are falling short of the glory of God. Not that we will ever achieve transformation completely, but we need to seek it wholeheartedly. Alas, too often we seem content to settle for social conformity, intellectual assent, or emotional experiences — even to the point of idolizing them, which is the root of much of our divisions.
The point of transformation (as a concept) is provide a framework for leveraging and filtering all the good that is out there, and placing it under the Lordship of Christ. The end goal is for me to become a whole person serving the whole God with my whole work — i.e., healthy, holy & happy.
Wish me luck.