Lipscomb University, northwest entrance with purple flowers - Nashville, TennesseeBACKGROUND: This email was written just before my first meeting with C. McKelvey, Director of Lipscomb University‘s relatively new Center for Spiritual Renewal, which I learned about from my good friend Steve G., owner of Brentwood Landscapes, Inc. Dr. McKelvey is the first prominent representative of Nashville-area churches of Christ with whom I have discussed my true beliefs (or lack thereof, depending upon one’s perspective)… To some readers this may seem a trivial matter; however, it is anything but trivial when one has been raised in the Nashville-area church and sent to the most prominent local Christian school from first grade all the way through college — especially when one’s father is a locally famous professor at said private university. I abandoned Christian fundamentalism in my early 30s and have since made an effort to spread this message of truth: The way forward for all of mankind is to prioritize living according to basic universal spiritual principles ahead of all forms of rigid, exclusive, or fundamentalist belief systems — whether religious or political, focusing on the similarities rather than the differences.

Lindsley Avenue church - Nashville, TNDear Dr. McKelvey,
I hope you are having a fantastic week, and that you are enjoying this weather! I am also grateful that we were able to set a time and date for our upcoming meeting.

Over one year ago — just after your 2011 talk at the Lindsley Ave. church — I made the highly unusual decision to be completely frank and forthright with you regarding the details of the evolution of my spiritual and religious beliefs.

A brief summary of my spiritual quest

After much contemplation, meditation, and prayer, I have decided to go through with it: Openly discussing present beliefs is the right thing to do, despite the certain, inherent disagreement. I eagerly anticipate our meeting, but — of course — with the complete expectation of a friendly meeting free of any heated, religious debate or the generation of any resentment, animosity, or negativity.

Lipscomb University campus - Nashville, TennesseeI’m not foolish enough to believe I could persuade someone like you to believe as I now do, and I certainly do not seek to push my views on any uninterested parties; however, that does not stop me from writing about what I believe to be the truth… Despite the probability that a superficial glance at some of these "controversial" articles may lead one to think our differences are too deep to meet halfway, in reality they are not… I still consider myself a Christian, just as Thomas Jefferson did. All we must do, in a sense, is acknowledge the simple fact that we choose to interpret scripture a bit differently.

Lipscomb University - Science Building entrance, West side of campus - Nashville, TennesseeThat being said, I deeply respect what you are doing with the Center for Spiritual Renewal at Lipscomb University. I can only imagine what some of the crusty, old-school fundamentalists might have thought about Lipscomb creating something more spiritual than religious

To me, there is nothing in this life more important than a genuinely honest quest for spiritual truth. This belief did manage to successfully stick in my mind from my early religious training, and I’m certain it always will.

Lipscomb University library - Nashville, TennesseeThat being the case, I have spent the majority of my spare time since around age 33 (ironic, I know) in a deep and meaningful quest for spiritual truth from multiple angles and worldviews. I would not trade that time for anything.