Here are a few of our favorite Big Ideas + Other Cool Stuff from Week 7 of Ian Lawton's 7-week course, A History of God
Ian Lawton 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 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 â€•Soulseedsâ€•that offers resources and services for people of all faiths and no faith.
In this course, we will take a look at all of the different ideas about God and sort out our own, probing deeply while having fun!
Let's check out some of our favorite Big Ideas from this week's class:
Big Idea #1: Was That God?
Ian told the class a story about how, as a teenager, he went to see a rock concert. The singer was a Christian. At some point during the show, Ian had an incredible experience. His body began to convulse, he had a great sense of shame about the things he had done wrong and a desire to live a life of integrity that benefits other human beings. The next day, at breakfast, his sister looked at him and said, “You’ve changed.”
The experience did change him. At the time, he thought that this was the moment he became a Christian. He became a better person and decided to go to a seminary.
Later on, Ian read a whole bunch of books and his world view shifted away from traditional Christianity. But the question remains – was that an experience of God?
Sometimes language and interpretation get in the way of experience. The German mystic Meister Eckhart composed the prayer, “God, rid me of God.” He was trying to see as if for the first time, to take away language and concepts and be able to fully experience the present moment.
Perhaps what was more important in Ian’s experience was not if it was God or not God, but the moment to moment reality of that transformative event.
Big Idea #2: Curiosity Versus Wonder
We use two tools to understand God: curiosity and wonder.
Curiosity is flighty and always on the move. Wonder has nowhere to go and nowhere more perfect to be. Curiosity keeps moving from question to question. Wonder remains still. Curiosity seeks out the extraordinary, wonder finds everything extraordinary. Curiosity craves answers, wonder allows questions to remain unanswered. Curiosity breaks questions down into more questions – wonder revels in how the pieces form a greater whole that is mysterious and beautiful.
As you seek God, work with both curiosity and wonder. Moment to moment, seek, and also accept.
Big Idea #3: Entheos
As a student at the en*theos Acadmy, you probably know that the Greek word entheos is the basis for the word enthusiasm.
What is enthusiasm? Great excitement.
In the 1600’s, this word had a purely religious connotation. Later on, it expanded to mean excitement for various things.
You can be cooking or waterskiing or in nature or with friends or experiencing love or being an activist – there are so many things that you can do and be enthusiastic about, so many things that can make you feel closer to the God within.
Emerson said on this topic, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Of course, enthusiasm can come in two flavors – passion, which comes from the inner spark and connects us to all of life, and fanaticism, which has justified the most horrible crimes throughout history.
Let us bring forth the passion, and leave fanaticism in the dustbin of history.
Other Cool Stuff:
Click here to join our community site where you can discuss the ideas you learn in this class with your classmates!
We hope you enjoyed and see you in Week 7!
-The en*theos Team