The Journey to a New Relationship

Review: How to reclaim religion from the fundamentalists — if you can survive it

“Jesus is everywhere,” he says. “I feel His presence in my church.”

“You know that religion and politics don’t mix?”

“Yeah and I’ve learned that I will never agree with everyone. If I could, I would be a better person.”

This is the story of my friendship with Jim, his church, and his world view, my journey into his culture, and the two of us searching for a new relationship.

Jim and I met at a conference on global warming last year. He was sharing his views on how we human beings could be a force for good for the planet.

The way he thought about “good” is “the opposite of what we do.” We have a responsibility to stop doing things that do harm to our environment. And if we do, we get to live next door to the “greater good.”

Jim was an interesting man. He wore his politics as he wore his faith. At the same time, he was always generous with his time, sharing wisdom and love. He was generous with his time because he felt he had a responsibility towards the planet. He had to make the case for living in harmony with nature. He was determined to convince others that all of us need to re-think our relationship to our environment.

His church was the People’s Light Church, a non-denominational progressive church in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to ask him what he thought about the church, and how the politics affect the religion, but he was preoccupied with his message that we have to change our relationship to the earth.

When I got to know Jim and attended his church, he was already involved in activism. A few months after I visited, the church decided to send me off to his home to spend a Sunday with him. When I left the church, I said good-bye to Jim, and I was never sure if I would ever get the chance to know him again. He was still teaching his message and was still sending me off to see what he was teaching.

It was a strange feeling for me to be leaving the church in that way. You’re leaving the church because they don’t agree with your message. And yet

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