(This content is available at https://youtu.be/rEomoEsA7ws)
By Sarah Nyhan
Two people asked me this week to explain what I believe. So I think it’s time to cut to the chase.
My brother refers to the people I associate with as “‘The Shack’ people”. Others say I am a universalist. Those in the conversations I prefer use words such as Trinitarianism and inclusion. Even the word orthodox.
I used to be a label person. But not so much anymore. I feel like one of the main reasons for labels is to identify who is in and who is out. As you can tell from the title of this project, I now believe everyone is included. Everybody is in. Nobody is out. Of what? Well, we will get to that.
But for the purposes of trying to identify who I am and what I am up to, I guess the way I like to see it now is that I simply want to follow Jesus; I am a Jesus-follower.
I’m guessing people with big fancy words and volumes of doctrines would prefer I be more specific. Because there are important differences in what I believe and what others believe. But I don’t feel like I have to label myself in such a way as to make sure I differentiate myself from every other possible theological perspective out there.
Simply put: I want to follow Jesus. I want to share what that means to me. And I want to hear what that means to you.
And even if you don’t believe in Jesus, even if you don’t believe in God, I still think you were Created by Him, are in Him, and have something valuable to bring to the conversation. Maybe what pushes you away from “religion” is an important issue to be wrestled with. Not dismissed. Can my God handle your unbelief? Is He bigger than your unbelief? I think so. I think He wouldn’t be God if not.
So, the journey to this point started even before I was born. What happened to my parents, grandparents, and so on has impacted my life. But it’s only been a little over a year since I have been immersed in a new way of looking at things. And to cut to the chase: even a lot of the people I listen to will come right up to the edge of what I am about to say but then will back off and not fully commit. And I understand why.
To be sure, none of us really knows exactly what happens after we take our last breath. But my opinion now these days is that there is a Creator God made up of Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus. And we are in Him and He is in us. All of us. And when we die, I believe we are all safe in Jesus. Just like He rose, we will rise. And I don’t think any of that depends on anything we do.
Whoa. Are you still with me?
This isn’t something I even know how to break down and explain. I’ve never officially laid it all out before. This thinking is new to me as of a little over a year ago. And I hope to be able to think back and share how I arrived at this point. The story is so much bigger than me. It feels like an impossible task. But I trust God can use whatever I put out there. And I trust He will help me break this experience down into bite-sized chunks.
At the same time that I know I can’t convince anyone with mere words. This is about relationship with God. The whispers and the knocking in your heart and in your spirit will be the flow that I hope my words will come alongside of. I hope people who are searching and already here will stumble across this page and find a tribe. People who speak their language. People that they don’t have to explain themselves to. Or feel pressure to apologize to.
The difficulty for me in even beginning to address these things publicly is that I’m not interested in debating anyone. Or proving myself right to anyone. And although I’m flying below the radar a little bit right now, if the good news is spread then the bared teeth will be right behind.
I’d rather just live my life than fight. I’d rather just hide away and enjoy what is left for me in this place before I go on to whatever is next.
But I know the words of others led me to this point. And I can’t believe I am simply here to just consume. That doesn’t make sense to me.
We as humans are driven by purpose and meaning. Not in the legalistic sense like before. But as in there is a seed of desire that is unique to us and I believe pulls us forward to who we were created to be, what we were created to do. For times and times such as these.
And this is NOT everyone’s burden. I am not putting this on anyone else. But it is my great joy to be able to share what I find the best news ever. What has given me the greatest peace and joy. What has led me to true freedom.
So I press on. Hopeful and yet very much aware of potential stress that may ensue. But if God is for me… and I believe He is. For ALL of us. So much more than we realize.
I want to participate. I want to be right in the middle of the grand party. Right at the table. I want to be there as others wrestle with these things. Such an honor. And find my other friends I haven’t met yet.
Happy Sunday and I hope you have a great week.