This year has been so beautifully transformative for me, and this course has been a constant source of enlightenment and encouragement from the get-go. I have encountered so many precious wow moments along the way and am continually surprised and in awe as I stumble along this wonder-full path of discovery. The first complete wow moment was in realizing that I am way more than myself, even to the point that the notion of my autonomous “self”, as I’d previously conceived, turns out to be of no substance without the collective influence and inspiration of its far more vast counterpart, otherness. Learning about our movements of desire, and understanding them as the entities that flow within the space between our intricate webs of relationships, pushing and pulling us beyond our control and largely beyond our awareness has been such an immense realization. Learning how our triangle of desires can so easily go wrong when two want the same object blew my mind, along with the fact that humans unconsciously detect and reflect the intentions of others with our amazing mirror neurons. And ultimately… The biggy: The epiphany hit that finding yourself desired into existence is finding God!!! (this wrecked me hard)

My next wow moment was in beginning to view scripture as a conversation between multiple theologies. This also meant no longer accepting the Bible as the inerrant creed I always thought it was, and instead realizing that it was a beautiful collection of ancient texts, written at different times, in various literary forms, by multiple, unique sources that each had specific motives and enemies and who also relied on selective memory bias. The point is that there are many different points within scripture, all intersecting in a truly unique way, forming a co-existence of contrasting opinions. The next enlightening realization within this train of thought was the significance of scripture’s radical conversation with its surrounding mythology. An amazingly enlightening moment for me was in learning that scapegoating was a primary tendency of developing societies, and how it was so well hidden within mythology. The kicker wow moment came when I learned that scripture began to differ from mythology in its unearthing of the radically contrasting narrative of the victim. Christ became even more relevant to me in terms of being the final scapegoat. He was the ultimate innocent victim who chose to suffer our failed system of violence in order to gently, so poetically reveal our flawed single victim mechanism, and in so also revealing that an act of violence is, quite literally and quite clearly, an act against God.

My view of evil was completely enriched from this course, opening me up to radically new possibilities of perceiving it. Learning about the gradual creation of a personified Satan, and being able to decipher different critical stages of its development has been incredibly freeing. The wow moment came slowly, both through delving into Israel’s progressive morphing of hassatan, and their dilemma of monotheism and theodicy. Then, looking at evil through a mimetic lens completely rocked me. My biggest wow moment regarding evil was learning that its source is what we hate and fear deep down within ourselves that we so often try and project away from us and onto that which then becomes perceived as evil. This was the central idea that rocked me: through our very accusations and projections of evil, we’ve fallen into the trap of perpetuating and energizing it. Then, in the Idols and Icons course, I’ve more recently truly begun fully realizing that my concepts of God are just concepts, and that my certainty and my correct thinking are no longer needed to manipulate my relationship with God. Grasping this concept has been so insanely freeing! ..And my most recent big moment was in realizing the possibility that God is being itself, experiencing through us, in a collaborative spirit that constantly begins again in creative, self-giving love. The idea that there is a space of infinite possibilities that we inhabit as we move from our tragedies and losses into a new way to start again is so extremely intoxicating!

I couldn’t have asked for a better year so far. Honestly, it’s been the best year of my life because I finally gave myself permission to explore deep within these depths of curiosity that have lead me to such freedom and peace. I so look forward to examining a deconstructed Jesus.