BACKGROUND: 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.
Dear 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.
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.
I’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.
That 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.
That 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.