Kathryn, it seems to me that you changed the subject toward evangelism and ignored the points of my post.
I’m glad you derive great meaning from your relationship to Jesus. I get meaning somewhere else now. Here is my testimony:
Before I denounced fundamentalistic Christianity, I was lost. I was narrow in my thinking, strict in my judgements and harsh to people who were different than I. I did get great experiences as a Christian, but they never filled that “hole” Jesus was supposed to fill. I heard He filled it with his Presence with a capital “P” but … NO.
So I had to ask myself.
When I asked why the hole was still there, I was blamed for not getting it right either with blissful platitudes or harsh declarations.
So, I finally realized that this is what every religion does. It tells you it will fill the hole with a being’s presence or ideology and then blames you when it doesn’t work.
Here is my take. “LOVE THE HOLE.” I choose to love the pain and loneliness within. I choose to sit with it. I don’t try to run from it or fill it. It is my friend and mentor that points to the truth with compassion.
That hole is most helpful when I don’t try to “fix it” and just accept it. I find when I do that I am braver and kinder in my approach to others. No matter what crazy notions I once believed in (and boy did I have some!), it was always there for me, waiting for me to wake up. Waiting for me to just be brave and look into it without blinking or shrinking.
As time goes on, it helps me let go of false notions and embrace the love that is reality itself. And even if I find myself in a hell, the present moment will still be there for me. The hole will ALWAYS be there, waiting for me to listen and stop running. And if I find myself in a heaven, it will be there too … waiting.
“This very moment is the perfect teacher. And lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” – Pema Chodron “When Things Fall Apart.”