In this episode John and Gregg are joined by John’s good friend Charlie, now from Portland OR. Charlie describes his current sense of feeling disconnected with God, something that John quite resonates with.
Charlie describes his experiences with Christianity, from his upbringing in a conservative church, through spending a term studying at L’Abri in Boston, to his current situation in Portland. Charlie explains that the time spent at L’Abri allowed both him and his wife to be able to work through some of their questions and doubts about Christianity and allowed them to continue to “be present” in a church environment.
John wonders about Charlie’s experience of both feeling connected and disconnected with God: what do these things look like?
Charlie answers this question in part by comparing his situation in Portland with a recent experience in San Francisco, when Charlie experienced a real degree of closeness with God.
During the latter part of their time in San Francisco Charlie notes that he experienced a particular closeness with God. He explains this as coming in good part through participating simultaneously in three events related to his Christian beliefs.
First, Charlie began therapy regarding anger issues, with the result of gaining greater self-awareness. Second, he began participating in church Bible study aimed at mid-career professionals and focusing on spiritual disciplines. Third, Charlie began participating in Donald Miller’s Storyline program.
Charlie noted a high degree of overlap between subject matter / content among these three endeavours, over a period of nearly 2 years. The result was that he perceived change and improvement in difficult areas of his life, with the accompanying sense that God was at work in this transformative process. Charlie also describes the helpfulness of certain practices, such as the Jesuit practice of reflection.
John wonders how much of Charlie’s comments on being connected with God resonate with Gregg?
Gregg explains that instead of connection or disconnection he more experiences feelings of being supported or not supported (by God). Gregg ties this in to his sense of vocation and how this has arisen out of a number of historical events that were very transformative and have had a lasting impact on him.