Do you believe in serendipidity/coincidence? I'm not really sure what I believe about it. While I don't believe the universe operates entirely randomly, neither do I believe that G-d is there tweaking every little quark and directing what color socks I choose to wear in the morning. What I do know is that, at times, it just seems like things are just working out just the way I need them to. I used to go to the book store and just scan the shelves and a book would call out to me to be read. Lately, I discovered Jim Palmer's writings. I recently reviewed Divine Nobodies, Jim's first book. After reading Divine Nobodies, I couldn't wait to see what Jim had to say in "Wide Open Spaces". I was not disappointed. Jim's books just seem to have come along at the right time in my life.
The subtitle to Wide Open Spaces is "Beyond Paint by Number Christianity". If you've been reading my blog, you realize I'm way beyond, or way regressed from, paint by number Christianity. Been there, done that. Not going back. When I read about Jim's background (former pastor) I was concerned with how well Jim's writings would resonate with me. Christianese just isn't my thing anymore. One of the chapters in the book "For the Least of These" is about the concept of "namaste". That is the idea that when we look at a fellow human being, the image of G-d within us recognizes the image of G-d within that person. I mentioned this concept in my review of Jim's first book. I was a little afraid of what he might think of me using that word. But, then I found a whole chapter on it in this book.
What I really like about Jim's writings is he has taken the lid off of the box and let G-d out. He says things that are scary to a lot of Christians and I can only imagine he's getting a lot of flack. But, he has found a freedom that you can tell he can't wait to share with the world. Isn't that what the "good news" is supposed to be? Something so good we just can't wait to spread it around? Saying that G-d's love is unconditional and that there are not vast differences between religions and saying Truth is eternal, predating the Bible and continuing on after the Bible was written will scare a lot of people. Jim talks about meditation (although I don't think he uses that word) and about an immanent G-d that can be seen through His creation and inside of His children. He talks of G-d being more passionate about the world than about religious doctrine. I loved his chapter on the "Freedom Filter" which is a filter Jim measures all new claims of Truth by. If a claim of Truth draws Jim into fear, negativity, captivity or guilt, Jim rejects it. This is not based on Jim's own feelings, but based on scripture. Galatians 5:1 gives the very advice Jim is now following. Don't let people bind you up with religion.
I enjoyed both of Jim's books very much. They are humorous, honest and he takes a lot of risks. Our paths, while very different in some ways, are also very similar in other ways. If the things you read on my blog don't freak you out too much, I highly recommend both of Jim's books. Divine Nobodies will help open your eyes to the wonders of the people you meet every day in your life. And, Wide Open Spaces just might help you expand your view of Who and What G-d is just a little more.