A History of God
with Ian Lawton
No More Second Hand God
"In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better." Ellen DeGeneres
Feeling in need of a faith-lift? Looking for a safe space to talk about God?
This 7 week class will explore different ideas of God in light hearted and easy to grasp ways. We will apply the KISS principle to all the classic “isms”, from polytheism to panentheism and atheism. It will be informative, fun and above all, transformative. To paraphrase a Sufi proverb, the more you look for God, the better you come to know yourself.
Out of this class you may choose to upgrade your God for a newer version. Some may trade God in for something more self driven. Some will renovate your God-model. As facilitator, I have no axe to grind. I will share my journey, but encourage you to claim YOUR perspective. I will prod and probe different ideas about God, show the positives and negatives in ALL perspectives, invite you to test everything you hear and empower you to be true to who you are.
Some might resonate with the old joke about the man who slipped while climbing a tree. He grabbed a branch and was hanging on for dear life. After some time passed, he became exhausted. He looked up to the heavens and cried out: "God, help me, please, help me."
Suddenly the clouds parted and a deep voice resounded, "Let go!"
The guy paused, looked up at the clouds, then down at the ground below, then once again he looked at the clouds, before saying, "Anyone else up there?"
This class will address BIG questions, such as, is there anyone up there? More importantly, we will think about why it matters, and how beliefs or disbelief in God affects the way you live your life.
This is how the classes will flow. Each class starts with appetizers, some probing questions and fun illustrations. For entre we will unpack some of the major “isms”, and see the evolution of God through the centuries. Main course consists of 3 BIG ideas, something solid to chew on and digest in your own life. After a pause to loosen the belt of your consciousness, we move to dessert which will be a spirited exchange of ideas in the class.
Who Should Attend?
Those looking to explore the topic of God in a fun and light way. Explore your story and listen to the stories of others. Together we can upgrade how we experience God in the here and now.
What You'll Learn
Week 1. Divine Flatulence - Cause and Effect
"I believe in God and I spell it NATURE." Frank Lloyd Wright
Busting a Few Isms: Polytheism, Animism, and Determinism.
Big Idea 1 God’s Window- Everyone Sees a Different View.
Big Idea 2 The String of Time- Everything is related to everything else.
Big Idea 3 Wonder Without Worry- Live fully without fear.
Week 2. Divine Dialects - Talking About God
"Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation." Rumi
Busting a Few Isms: Monotheism, Atheism and Agnosticism.
Big Idea 1 Timeless Wisdom from a 2 year old- Experience Before Labels
Big Idea 2 Marcelle Marceau, miming the signs of the divine
Big Idea 3 God Is Not God’s Name
Week 3: God and Science
"If God were alive today, He'd be an atheist." Vonnegut
The Darwinian said to God, “We no longer need you. You wouldn’t believe the things we can do with the DNA from dirt.” God replied, “Get your own dirt.”
Busting a Few Isms: Deism, Existentialism and Humanism.
Big Idea 1 Putting Descartes Before Da Source - Humanity coming of age.
Big Idea 2 Waiting for God-oh Taking Responsibility
Big Idea 3 Evolution is God’s Upgrade
Week 4. God Shuffled Her Feet, the Divine In All.
"This is what I think God may smell like, unwashed new potatoes, a young child's slightly dirty neck." Anne Lamott
Busting a Few Isms: Panentheism, Naturalism and Mysticism.
Big Idea 1 Life is God’s Way of Staying Incognito
Big Idea 2 You Are God’s Body
Big Idea 3 Synchronicity Without Superstition
Week 5. Can You Be Good Without God? God and Morality.
"When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. After a couple of years, I realized that God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked God to forgive me." Anonymous
Busting a Few Isms: Altruism, Relativism, and Utilitarianism
Big Idea 1 God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Extrinsic or intrinsic motivation.
Big Idea 2 What Goes Around, Comes Around. Karma and goodness.
Big Idea 3 Knowing Why You do What You do; Paying Kindness Forward
Week 6. A New Trinity; God Within, Between and Beyond.
"I say God is inside you. You say, ‘That sounds preposterous – I don’t really believe God is in there.' I say, ‘Well, Why not try the Himalayas.’" Hafiz
Busting a Few Isms: Dualism, Humanism and Gnosticism.
Big Idea 1 Clean Frost From the Inside, God Within.
Big Idea 2 Cornflake Girl, God Between.
Big Idea 3 Let Go, Let God, God Beyond.
Week 7. en*theos, Living a Divinely Infused and Enthused Life.
"God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny." Garrison Keillor
Busting a Few Isms: EnthusISM, Optimism, Holism
Big Idea 1 There’s Always More.
Big Idea 2 Wholeness Party- The Potential of the Whole Exists In All the Parts.
Big Idea 3 Being a Co-Creator of Goodness.
Dates & Tuition
Date & Time: This course is available now for immediate download!
(If cash is tight, we offer a "Pick Your Price" model where you can choose to pay $175/$125/$75. )
What You’ll Get Out of the Course
- Grow to see that God has a history (and a little baggage)
- Graduate Theology In The Real World 101
- Clarify your own views about God (or not)
- Learn to rely on your inner wisdom more closely
- Take charge of living YOUR best life.
About Ian Lawton
Ian has been growing God Pods for over 20 years now, helping people and organizations uncover the seed of divinity within and grow from the inside out. Or as he says in his Twitter profile, he is a "Spiritual teacher of inner wisdom, divine love, deeper consciousness, oneness, peace, and abundance."
Ian originates from Australia, where he worked on Sydney’s inner city streets and saw the reality of human suffering first hand. He sought a spirituality that made a difference in the reality of life here and now. Ian loves talking about God with people in and out of church; the homeless people, the broken people, the creative people, the liberated people, the recovering people, the inquiring people, those on an honest quest for meaning. He meets them in pubs and on university campuses, in gyms and through social media. He stands alongside them at protests and bar lines. He even occasionally finds them in church.
In 2004, Bishop John Shelby Spong convinced Ian to come to the United States to lead an emerging group of free thinkers in West Michigan. Today Ian calls Grand Haven, Michigan home where he lives with his wife Meg and three children Hugo, Darcy and Raina.
Ian is an author and lectures internationally on contemporary spirituality, technology and change. He has been blogging and writing daily affirmations for several years and teaches regularly at C3 Exchange in West Michigan which is an independent, inclusive spiritual community.
Ian has also launched an online community with his wife Meg ―Soulseeds―that offers resources and services for people of all faiths and no faith. The Soulseeds network has grown quickly in the two years since it launched, with over 3000 website visits a day, over 10,000 Facebook fans, and over 100,000 tweeps. Its a fast growing and cutting edge social network of people interested in personal development, social change and the beautiful connectedness of life.
Ian has studied and read widely on philosophy and spirituality, including the likes of Ken Wilber, Elizabeth Lesser, Genpo Roshi, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Joan Borysenko and other leaders in universal wisdom and contemporary spirituality.
Praise for Ian Lawton
“Ian Lawton leads us beyond the death of religion as we know it and into the excitement of a post-religious, spiritual future. He writes with engaging verve and with profound insight. Those hungry for meaning in the Western world will relish this book.”
— Bishop John Shelby Spong on Ian’s upcoming book on Inclusive Spirituality
“I love it! You have done something great here. You are describing a very big movement and I love the way you have gone about it. I have high hopes for this book, Ian!”
— Elizabeth Lesser on Ian’s upcoming book on Inclusive Spirituality
“Over the past few years Ian Lawton has become one of my closest friends and colleagues. I absolutely love the fact he has, in his own words, “an impatient zeal for authenticity.” Ian has a rare gift of being able to deliver Sunday morning sermons, week after week, with no notes. He fully prepares a text version, but in the pulpit — actually, he uses no pulpit — he speaks without referring to notes.”
— Michael Dowd, America’s Evolutionary Evangelist
“Ian has masterfully led our organization through massive and exciting changes over the last 8 years. We have been liberated to become more authentic and our future is bright. We have become a grass roots activist organization where people are empowered to take initiative and be the change we wish to see in the world. People of all faiths and no faith come together, and share in the joy of being alive. As a community we participate in the evolution of a more loving, united consciousness.”
— Judy Swanson, Chair of the Board at C3Exchange in Grand Haven Michigan.
“Ian has helped to guide me through the biggest challenge of my life, the ending of a 20 year marriage. He has coached me to reclaim my power and create a whole new path. I couldn't have done it without him.”
— Coaching Client (name withheld)
“Since my husband died last year I am learning to live a strange new life with still a profound absence. I have found Ian’s affirmation seeds such a source of positive thinking - so original and intriguing in so few words. It is remarkable that day after day a new one appears with another way of looking at life and I welcome them to start the day.”
— Anthea, Soulseeds Subscriber
Ian Lawton is a spiritual teacher of inner wisdom, divine love, deeper consciousness, oneness, peace, and abundance. Learn more about Ian »