(Note: To give you some perspective, Gary S. Paxton is most famous for writing the song, “Monster Mash.”)
There is a significant behavioral clinical literature on “conversion experience.” It’s a well established phenomena in psychology. It’s used in all sorts of ways, not least in hostile interrogations. Everyone has a breaking point; you just have to find it. Oddly, you’d be surprised how many churches use the data in their evangelism training. It’s well known that if this conversion rests on experience and reason, it’s always reversible. To the degree it rests on emotion, it’s just a little trickier. Yet any good behavioral scientist will tell you there are some folks who can’t be converted because their loyalties rest on something totally out of reach.
When you come to a place where you are aware that something stakes a claim on your soul, it’s typical for this to manifest itself in a conversion experience. I’ve been watching the broader reaction from folks who commune with us here and discover that the heart-led existence requires some hard work. It undermines everything you previously believed, because it shatters the ground on which your life was previously built. Once your heart makes its voice known in your mind, the same logical process of the mind makes entirely new and radical demands. We don’t aim to convert you in our parish, but we are fully aware it’s a typical result that comes with shifting your center of awareness from your head into your heart.
In the pastoral sense, some of you have called on me, needing help to evaluate the competing demands that arise during that process. At a minimum, it will change your relationships with those around you because it changes your relationship with God and His Creation. Sadly, most of you are living very close to folks who don’t hear that call to the heart-led life, and they don’t find your changes easy to understand, and maybe they don’t tolerate it well. But somewhere down the road, you figure out once again who you are and what’s real, what matters. You get a grip on the conflicts and find peace with where God placed you. Maybe some relationships are permanently broken, but more often you simply come to terms with things. That’s what I’m seeing when you folks talk to me about it.
We teach that Creation is alive, sentient and willfully acting by God’s moral character. That’s the language used in Scripture and we take it seriously. We teach that heart-led living pulls you into this moral realm of reality, a place where your heart speaks in terms of moral convictions that inevitably reflect how reality actually works. You’ll never quite reach the end of new discoveries, things that you have to unlearn and face in a different light, but at some point you will find yourself feeling entirely solid, planted again in the Garden of Eden. You are at peace with this existence. You know you belong in the Spirit Realm with God, but are content to live here in accordance with His divine justice until your witness to His glory is complete.
That is our evangelism. We live and breathe that full connection with Creation and Creator. God uses this to speak to hearts now and then, and you’ll be called on to explain. Some way, some how, your calling includes some means of expressing what makes your life so different from theirs. I’m doing my best to offer a frame of reference so that the verbal explanation is within your reach.
But a critical element in our witness is also offering some measure of healing to people who suffer. There is almost zero probability that anyone you encounter doesn’t have some kind of gripe with the world as it is. And most of them aren’t handling it according to the reality revealed to us in our hearts. So we have whiners, activists, warriors of all stripes trying to change the world, directly or by provoking others, so it makes more sense to them. But as long as they are not living in their hearts, nothing actually possible will satisfy that sense that something is broken. We talk about how most of humanity lives in a fantasy world; they just know for sure what the answer is, but they can’t seem to get everyone else to go along. And we can’t avoid wanting to help them understand, but we also know they have to hit that teachable moment before they’ll listen.
That’s how it was with each of us, too. But once we unlearned enough lies and made significant strides in walking heart-led, we find ourselves always ready and able to offer something they need to hear. Even if it’s not part of our education and training, we find God steps in and puts the words on our tongues. It happens to me just about daily, some days several times. And if not the words, then it’s some other means of expressing and demonstrating what they cannot see for themselves.
Further, it’s entirely natural that, if you can get used to heart-mind “logic,” you discover you can see beyond the boundaries of time and space. That is, some part of you simply knows what’s at the other end of some path that people choose. Many of you will be reluctant at first to discuss what you see, but if you wrestle and patiently wait through enough times, you’ll see that your premonition was accurate enough and you’ll be more confident about it. Or maybe you’ve built up a load of bad habits about what you think could happen and it takes a while to clear that out before you can see more accurately. But it’s entirely normal for heart-led folks to sense the end result of a human endeavor because we sense God’s moral character directly. God reveals some measure of His plans through our convictions and calling, and we eventually get used to how that all fits together so that we become somewhat prophetic. I assure you it can be more common than you know.
And then, who can imagine what other miraculous gifts He will bestow upon you? It’s entirely natural that, upon making that conscious shift of awareness to the heart-mind, that you suddenly realize your communion with nature in itself brings a host of surprise abilities that lay dormant and out of reach of the intellect.
I’ve already mentioned that we are in a time of tribulation. Prophetically I can tell you that the globalists, feminists and other social lefties are going to catch hell in the coming years. A lot of what they believe they have accomplished will go down the tubes; their strongholds will be torn down. Since we are outside of the entire left-right political dispute and eschew Western Civilization in the first place, we can avoid the appearance of choosing sides. Sure, we have to agree that the lefties are trying to respond to some very real problems, but they are trapped in a worldview that’s just as false as those on the right, and don’t really understand the nature of the problems they see. Westerners as a whole confuse symptoms with causes. Stay out of their disputes. It might be hard to get to them to understand that what they consider morality is just heathen mythology, but we can at least point out that we see from an entirely different perspective.
Speak the truth from a neutral point outside their system. Leave it to God whether they can embrace it.