My name is Jonathan. I’m now 31 32 33
34 35 36 years old.
I am a web designer by trade an have had no formal training in philosophy, literature, or religious studies. I currently live in Rochester, NY Lebanon, PA with my wife Melissa and our daughter Kiera and our son Jacob. I used to love writing when I was in school, but I have not done it in a while, so I am a little rusty. Hang in there, I will hopefully improve over time.
The thoughts expressed in this website are my current logical reasoning and thinking on complex and sometimes controversial subjects, and I think of them as a work-in-progress. They are my best guess as a imperfect person who is still humbly trying to understand things, and I will probably change my mind on the details of them in the future. I consider myself a moderate evangelical Christian (as opposed to a conservative or liberal one), but
that doesn’t really sum up who I am and leaves open a lot of questions. I generally dislike politics because people involved in it have questionable motives and the information we read or hear about them never tells the whole story, or at least the other side of the story. Regarding the public face of Christianity, I am often saddened by things said by famous or outspoken members of the Christian community, so I do not like to associate myself with them (a.k.a the Christian Right). This being said, I guess I do share some core beliefs with them, and hope that they will continue to improve the way they communicate God and his values to our nation in their calling as publicly visible leading men and women of faith.
If you are interested, I included a longer description of myself below. Hopefully it will help you understand the guy behind the writing.
Ever since I was 13, I have always interested in understanding the spiritual side of life intellectually. My religious background has always been and still is moderate evangelical Christianity. I have always been driven by questions of of the spiritual nature. Who is God? What are His dreams, goals, likes, dislikes, and feelings towards humans and the rest of His creation like? What should we do with our lives and with the time we have, and what should our relationship with Him be like?
Where did I start in my quest to answer these questions? I first started with believing what people I respected believed. I believed what my parents and their friends in their church in their denomination in their religion believed. Just like every child does, in every culture, in every religion in every time since the beginning.
But that wasn’t enough. I had stumbled across something amazing, and simply borrowing beliefs from others about this was not enough. I began to think that not everything that my church, my denomination, or my religion was correct. Logically or rationally, it didn’t add up to me. I would have to find out things for myself. But my training in art had taught me a valuable lesson: that to become an expert in an area, you must seek others like yourself or wiser than yourself and learn from them first. So I did a lot of reading of religious books and articles by various authors, ranging from very liberal to very conservative. I listened to a lot of sermons and attended religious seminars and debated and discussed with a lot of people. I tried my best to hear both sides of the story, both the arguments of atheists and deists alike.
I am now 34 years old, and what have I got to say about what I’ve found over the past 18 years? I’m just scratching the surface, and I know very little.
One thing I realized sadly is that even though I’ve listened to a lot of wise and brilliant religious people, no one person is the final authority on spiritual truth, and I am chief among those people to be suspect. I find within myself a powerful desire that runs contrary to my nature that desires to know truth. This nature dogs me at every step, desiring not truth, but beliefs that cater to my selfishness and self-centeredness. I am a divided person. I need a guide, a measuring stick of sorts that I can turn to when I don’t know if i am divided or not, to see if the belief I just stumbled across is spiritual truth, or is a lie. Where is this litmus test for spiritual truth? Where can i find where God revealed Himself in its most pure form, untainted by men like me with less than pure motives for promoting what they believed?
I decided that my primary source of absolute spiritual truth is the Bible. In all my readings (which is not much compared to much greater scholars then I,) I have never been more spiritually moved or encouraged than when I read this book or read others who believed the revelation in this book about God to be true. Convienent, you may say, because my Judeo-Christian background believed this too. Not really. They gave this ideal of “Sola Scriptura” lip service, but in the end, it came down to what the pastor or the denomination believed and if you didn’t believe them, then you were an atheist in the making. My belief that the Bible was the absolute final authority on spiritual truth was a rebellion to my religion, not against its ideals, but against it’s man-made incarnation.
So I have found my companion on my search for spiritual truth. Spiritual beliefs come full force at me every day, from people from other religions, from movies, from TV, from books, and so many other places I can’t count them. But when I hear one, I want to see if it is true or not so I first compare it to what the Bible says about it. I have come across many spiritual beliefs, and many that are true and are backed up by the Bible often do not come from people who claim to be Christians. I love that. God is a whole lot bigger than myself and my small sphere of understanding.
To say, however, that the Bible is true is not enough. Many people claim the Bible is true and believe completely different and even opposite things than others all claiming that the Bible backs them up. So I began to aquire very restrictive interpretation rules for understanding what the Bible is saying, and to interpret as correctly as possible. I do not believe that the Bible has hidden messages intended for brilliant people in the 21st century or for supercomputers to crack, but instead that its original writers had something deliberate and straight-forward to say to the average man and women in its original intended audience.1 I believe that the Bible is not a model for how to live my life, but a story of how God has interacted with men and women throughout history. It is full of stories and poems about God, Him being the protagonist. The purpose in reading it is to understand the truth about God – what His dreams, goals, likes, dislikes, and feelings towards the men and women he created are.
My Purpose & Direction
My morality comes from a desire to be like the God of the Bible. I want to dream like Him, have goals like Him, dislike what He dislikes, and have the same feelings towards his creation as He does. I also want to live how he designed me to live. Living any other way than the way I was designed to live is a perversion. Conducting myself or behaving in any way other than how God would in the same situation is imperfection. I have in my position the fullest revelation of God in all existence – the Bible – so logically I am held to the highest standard – a higher standard than those who only have pieces, ghosts, or shadows of this revelation, of which is housed in lesser or greater amounts within their hearts and the hearts of all men and women since the beginning of time. This does not in any way actually mean that I am special, it just means that I have a greater responsibility to be moral and live right — God expects better of me than one who has had less of a revelation of Himself. He is very fair in this regard. He is strict with me, and more lax with others regarding their morality and the way they live.
My purpose for living is to be in a real and intimate relationship with God. This is not a selfish self-seeking desire, it is the way I was designed; not any different than saying wrongly that a light bulb (if it could think) is self-serving for wanting to light up a room. I am imperfect because I was not designed to be perfect. I am unable to tell and convince everyone about God because I was not designed to do so. My relationship with God will cause within me a desire to be better, like a newly married husband who loves his wife wants to love her better and to bring her joy, and it will excite and inspire me to talk to others about Him just like anyone who discovers something really exciting wants to do.
In my relationships with other people who believe as I do – I want to encourage them to continue in their relationship with God and to seek more deeper truth about him. I believe that knowing God better makes your relationship with Him more intimate, not unlike a married couple who love each other passionately and grow closer to each other over the years. With people who do not know God, I wish to be a good example in living as he designed me to live, and acting or behaving as he would. With my silent example and with my words I wish to communicate to them what God is like so they might continue in their search for truth as well, a search I believe will end in finding God Himself. Within the society I find myself living in, my goal is to slowly, little by little, sow seeds of love, compassion, and life in all my spheres of influence as an agent of what is good and what is right in a world that is full of hurt, pain, and hopelessness. This goal, I believe is shared by others who may not believe in God themselves, but share His qualities.