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My Search For God


Jim R
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I really started searching, in earnest, for God and a spiritual path in the late 1970s. I was a Detroit Firefighter with time on my hands. In between runs in a firehouse, there is time to study or watch TV or whatever suits one’s fancy and firefighters have plenty of time off and vacation time. I was a non-traumatized Vietnam Vet who just wanted to party and found others with the same goal. The Discos became my hangouts and I lost myself in the hedonistic pleasures of the time. During the day I was at the gym, working out so I could look good. But an awareness started to develop, mostly in those sober quiet minutes of a corner in the firehouse. There has to be more to life than the work a day lives of most, the hedonism of the baby boomers of the time, and the life and death struggles I saw daily as a firefighter and that I had seen in Vietnam. I started asking “What is it all about anyway?”

 

My father had been a Catholic and my mother a Protestant, and neither particularly religious. My mother later converted to the Catholic faith. I had gone to both churches growing up and had visited other churches with neighbors also. So I was a very ecumenical sort of fellow to begin with. Now as I started to search spiritually, I began visiting different churches and talking to different people of all sorts of different faiths. I read every version of the Bible and the book of Mormon to boot. I had learned TM years ago and had dabbled in the martial arts and yoga over the years and the philosophies that came with them also. I was beginning to develop a sense of mission of some sort. It was a spiritual mission.

 

I was getting pretty well burned out fighting fires and being single, with nothing holding me down, I decided to take a trip around the world. I had met a Jewish woman in one of the discos I frequented who took me the local Jewish Community Center and we watched some movies and a speaker talking about life on a Kibbutz in Israel. I decided to include a trip to Israel and a kibbutz on my world trip. As it turned out that is where my world trip ended and I spent several months on the kibbutz visiting holy sites and even talking to Rabbis and studying Talmud and Torah. I was brown haired with a black beard and quickly learned that being an American on a kibbutz, most people would assume I was Jewish. So after awhile I just shut up about not being Jewish, found that scholarly doors would open quickly if I were Jewish and just went with the flow. (As weird karma would have it, many years later I did one of those search for my ethnic roots and my family tree and I found out I may be part Jewish) I finally came home from Israel after a representative of the Israeli Defense forces paid me a visit and wanted to know when I going to put on a uniform and join up. I was also told that if I stayed on the Kibbutz a couple more months I may be drafted. By then I spoke some Hebrew and was trusted enough to do some patrolling because so many of the soldiers were in Lebanon. I decided that Vietnam was enough and that I was still an American and it was time to come home. I sure learned a lot about the roots of Judaism and the Bible though. (The Rabbis think the King James Version is a hilarious mistranslation by the way)

 

As the years went by I studied many paths and many ways. I was a displaced Detroiter and didn’t marry until late in life. I lived in different towns and worked in different occupations and studied spiritual different paths. I was a dedicated yogi for many years and did Kriya Yoga as taught by the Self Realization Fellowship out of Los Angeles. I picked up a Bachelors in Religious Studies from California State at Bakersfield.

 

I married at 40 and my bride was Catholic. My mother was still living and it seemed to make everyone happy so I was married in the Catholic Church and became a very good Catholic. I was a regular Mass goer and eventually a Lector and Eucharistic minister. I stopped short of the Deaconate though because once again that voice told me this wasn’t it I kept my studies up and basically was a closet Buddhist meditator and yogi while going to church on Sunday mornings and performing the prescribed ritual. Some might find this hypocritical but I live in a very rural isolated area and church is definitely not just about worship. In our area it is also a social event for rural isolated families and a community affair. As I continued to study ,it seemed as if everything I picked up and everything referenced something called ”A Course in Miracles”. {I was reading a lot of Religious Science and other “New Thought” material at the time} Finally out of curiosity I went on Amazon one day and ordered a copy.

 

Well I want to tell you I am one of those people that fell into instant love with the Course. I was somewhere on the Introduction page , I think I was reading ”Nothing real can be threatened, Nothing unreal exists” when the walls started pulsating and the world just sort of turned upside down and inside out and I knew found my path and what I had been looking for, for about 24 years. I instantly knew what my spiritual mission was.

 

That was 2001 and I have continued to grow in the Course. The Course in Miracles is definetly a mystical path and all one needs to find God and his/her place in the universe. I have found though that it takes too much discipline , time, and dedication for most people to stay focused on the path. I have finally understood that my spiritual mission is to not only teach ACIM to all who wish to study but also in progressive Christianity, teaching with the emphasis on the resurection not the crucifiction, love, tolerance, non- judgement, and emphasizing Jesus' two great commandments, Love God and Love your Neighbor.Those two commandments, just about sum up the teachings of all the world's great religions. I picked up a ministerial ordination along the way and along with my degree in Religious Studies hope to parlay that into a method for my madness. As karmic coincidence would have it, I should be a young retiree (56) next year with 10 to 15 good work years left and finally after years of study know what I need to do spiritually , how exactly I am going to do it, is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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I really started searching, in earnest, for God and a spiritual path in the late 1970s. I was a Detroit Firefighter with time on my hands. In between runs in a firehouse, there is time to study or watch TV or whatever suits one’s fancy and firefighters have plenty of time off and vacation time. I was a non-traumatized Vietnam Vet who just wanted to party and found others with the same goal. The Discos became my hangouts and I lost myself in the hedonistic pleasures of the time. During the day I was at the gym, working out so I could look good. But an awareness started to develop, mostly in those sober quiet minutes of a corner in the firehouse. There has to be more to life than the work a day lives of most, the hedonism of the baby boomers of the time, and the life and death struggles I saw daily as a firefighter and that I had seen in Vietnam. I started asking “What is it all about anyway?”

 

My father had been a Catholic and my mother a Protestant, and neither particularly religious. My mother later converted to the Catholic faith. I had gone to both churches growing up and had visited other churches with neighbors also. So I was a very ecumenical sort of fellow to begin with. Now as I started to search spiritually, I began visiting different churches and talking to different people of all sorts of different faiths. I read every version of the Bible and the book of Mormon to boot. I had learned TM years ago and had dabbled in the martial arts and yoga over the years and the philosophies that came with them also. I was beginning to develop a sense of mission of some sort. It was a spiritual mission.

 

I was getting pretty well burned out fighting fires and being single, with nothing holding me down, I decided to take a trip around the world. I had met a Jewish woman in one of the discos I frequented who took me the local Jewish Community Center and we watched some movies and a speaker talking about life on a Kibbutz in Israel. I decided to include a trip to Israel and a kibbutz on my world trip. As it turned out that is where my world trip ended and I spent several months on the kibbutz visiting holy sites and even talking to Rabbis and studying Talmud and Torah. I was brown haired with a black beard and quickly learned that being an American on a kibbutz, most people would assume I was Jewish. So after awhile I just shut up about not being Jewish, found that scholarly doors would open quickly if I were Jewish and just went with the flow. (As weird karma would have it, many years later I did one of those search for my ethnic roots and my family tree and I found out I may be part Jewish) I finally came home from Israel after a representative of the Israeli Defense forces paid me a visit and wanted to know when I going to put on a uniform and join up. I was also told that if I stayed on the Kibbutz a couple more months I may be drafted. By then I spoke some Hebrew and was trusted enough to do some patrolling because so many of the soldiers were in Lebanon. I decided that Vietnam was enough and that I was still an American and it was time to come home. I sure learned a lot about the roots of Judaism and the Bible though. (The Rabbis think the King James Version is a hilarious mistranslation by the way)

 

As the years went by I studied many paths and many ways. I was a displaced Detroiter and didn’t marry until late in life. I lived in different towns and worked in different occupations and studied spiritual different paths. I was a dedicated yogi for many years and did Kriya Yoga as taught by the Self Realization Fellowship out of Los Angeles. I picked up a Bachelors in Religious Studies from California State at Bakersfield.

 

I married at 40 and my bride was Catholic. My mother was still living and it seemed to make everyone happy so I was married in the Catholic Church and became a very good Catholic. I was a regular Mass goer and eventually a Lector and Eucharistic minister. I stopped short of the Deaconate though because once again that voice told me this wasn’t it I kept my studies up and basically was a closet Buddhist meditator and yogi while going to church on Sunday mornings and performing the prescribed ritual. Some might find this hypocritical but I live in a very rural isolated area and church is definitely not just about worship. In our area it is also a social event for rural isolated families and a community affair. As I continued to study ,it seemed as if everything I picked up and everything referenced something called ”A Course in Miracles”. {I was reading a lot of Religious Science and other “New Thought” material at the time} Finally out of curiosity I went on Amazon one day and ordered a copy.

 

Well I want to tell you I am one of those people that fell into instant love with the Course. I was somewhere on the Introduction page , I think I was reading ”Nothing real can be threatened, Nothing unreal exists” when the walls started pulsating and the world just sort of turned upside down and inside out and I knew found my path and what I had been looking for, for about 24 years. I instantly knew what my spiritual mission was.

 

That was 2001 and I have continued to grow in the Course. The Course in Miracles is definetly a mystical path and all one needs to find God and his/her place in the universe. I have found though that it takes too much discipline , time, and dedication for most people to stay focused on the path. I have finally understood that my spiritual mission is to not only teach ACIM to all who wish to study but also in progressive Christianity, teaching with the emphasis on the resurection not the crucifiction, love, tolerance, non- judgement, and emphasizing Jesus' two great commandments, Love God and Love your Neighbor.Those two commandments, just about sum up the teachings of all the world's great religions. I picked up a ministerial ordination along the way and along with my degree in Religious Studies hope to parlay that into a method for my madness. As karmic coincidence would have it, I should be a young retiree (56) next year with 10 to 15 good work years left and finally after years of study know what I need to do spiritually , how exactly I am going to do it, is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Amen

 

Or maybe the next 40 years!!! or 50!!! Who knows?

 

Fascinating story.

 

I lived in Dearborn 1982-88, was Pastor of Dearborn Woods Presbyterian Church. Many clergy in Dearborn & Detroit worked on easing racial tensions in those years. I trust it has continued.

 

Looking forward to more posts from you. I am glad you are here. As I said on another string, I share your enthusiasm for ACIM ad its wisdom.

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Or maybe the next 40 years!!! or 50!!! Who knows?

 

Fascinating story.

 

I lived in Dearborn 1982-88, was Pastor of Dearborn Woods Presbyterian Church. Many clergy in Dearborn & Detroit worked on easing racial tensions in those years. I trust it has continued.

 

Looking forward to more posts from you. I am glad you are here. As I said on another string, I share your enthusiasm for ACIM ad its wisdom.

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Thanks you Mystictrek! I will try and share your optimism for the length of my ministry and my longegivity

I have gotten healthier since starting ACIM, so maybe I will get a few more years in than expected. I never returned to Detroit, more of a rejection of urban life and the rat race than of Detroit itself . I live way up North in Michigan's Upper Pennisula now . I am going to need a lot of help from the Holy Spirit in my ministry as there are a lot more racoons, skunks, coyotes, rabbits, deer, and wolves, than there are people around here.

 

Love and Light

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Jim, you probably live farther north than I do. Brrrr. But there's so much of God's love to found in the quiet places, places where the veil is sometimes as thin as homespun. Best of luck. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

 

Mystic, I don't how I missed this, but if you live along the Erie Canal, you're not that far from me. I'm in Eastern Ontario, close to the Thousand Islands Bridge. I've been in your area a few times.

 

Love Jen

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Thank you, Jen for those words of encouragement.

 

Many people around here also say "eh". I had a place on Lake Erie near Colchester Ontario way back when I was still a Detroit firefighter and "eh" started creeping into my vocabulary. After many years this far North I say it quite a bit. A bumper sticker slogan around here is "Say Yah to da U.P., eh?" It is a play on the tourist slogan "Say Yes to Michigan. "

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Hey Jim, my hubby is from Michigan. I lived there for a short while.

 

I never got up to the UP, but I really wanted to. I lived there and never got to cross Mackinac bridge. :(

 

Living nearish to Detroit, however, didn't prevent Michigander-eze from creeping into my idioms and accent, donchaknow?

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