Larry Jordan

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Less Than I Expected

Sep 05, 2023 by Larry Jordan, in The Way

Recently, I posted about the joys of writing. The post was heartfelt and true, and it best reflects my feelings about writing, but it was not the whole story. There are some frustrations of writing, too.

After I completed the book, I had it designed and edited, and I printed a few hundred copies to distribute to families, friends, and influencers. Generally, the book was well-received, but there were some people who criticized the book -- constructively or destructively -- and I appreciate both.

If something in the book triggered someone, then I took a hard look at it, because I never intended to trigger anyone. Often, I saw that I didn't need to say it or that I needed to say it differently. Other times, I saw that I needed to say it, even if it triggered someone. Either way, the book is better for it.

There were some people who criticized me. One person said that I was "godless;" another person said that I was a "heretic." Someone suggested that I use a pseudonym, since the book is "provocative" and someone might want to hurt me. Why are questions provocative? Who would want to hurt me?

All theology is speculation. There are no consensus answers that can be tested or verified.

My response to people who disagree with me is, "Nobody knows. Reasonable people can disagree. You might be right." Sometimes, I add, "Now you say it." *crickets* It's alarming how many people think that they "know," that reasonable people cannot disagree, and that no one else could be right.

One Christian said that I'm not a "real" Christian; one mystic said that I'm not a "real" mystic; and one theologian said that I'm not a "real" theologian. 

I'm a reporter. I experienced some things, I read some things, I reflected on some things, and I wrote some things. Let's say that I reported on the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong. Would anyone ask where I got my astrophysics degree or whether I walked on the moon? No, of course not.

What is a "real" Christian? If we ask 100 Christians what they believe, we'll get 100 different answers. How could we conclude that one answer is more normative?

What is a "real" mystic? How could we compare my experience of God with yours, and how could we conclude that one experience is more authentic?

What is a "real" theologian? How could we compare my speculation with yours, and how could we conclude that one speculation is more informed? 

The journey is not all peaches and cream. Like most things, the process of writing involves some joy and some suffering. Like most things, it's worth it. 

The Way: Meaningful Spirituality for a Modern World is available for pre-order here: