The Traveller’s Rest- Many Roads or One Way?

One Destination?

This week is one of those pondering weeks and I invite you to ponder with me. Not giving conclusions or doctrine or fundamental interpretation of anything, just sitting under my thinking tree and thinking out loud so you can all join in. I blame the death of a musician and songwriter for my pondering, a musician that maybe no one reading this would ever have heard of, Benjamin Curtis who played with both Secret Machines and School of Seven Bells (in my mind a sad loss). Secret Machines had a song called ‘The Road leads where It’s led’, and it is this title alone that started a rabbit trail. I for some reason started pondering the thought that many roads or pathways lead to heaven. The ongoing question about whether Christianity really does have the monopoly on the road of salvation and reaching Paradise, or is it just one of many paths that lead to the heavens? I am not the only one pondering these issues, a Facebook friend called Jim Palmer wrote the following;

“Not only are there “many paths to God,” there are infinite paths to God – every experience, every encounter, every moment is a path to God. Whatever is showing up right now in your life, that’s your path to God.”

– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge

Please before you correct my error and heresy here note I have said this is a pondering and not an answer or a doctrine, just a rabbit trail of thought. We are allowed to have them, right? Or am I so pre-programmed in my thinking that I have to quash any individuality? Does God really only have the power to reveal Himself inside one set boundary of revelation or could He reveal Himself in multiple ways to multiple people’s groups? Can He drop seeds of truth inside more than one belief system? Would it really so offend us if heaven is populated by people of different belief systems, and if so why? Would we feel cheated on? Would we feel God is being too gracious and too loving and too free to have so many facets to Him? This is indeed all a great puzzle of life, death and the afterlife. I know the majority if not all who read this will adhere to the code we have been taught, Jesus is the only way of salvation, and as a foundation to faith that can be admired, but does it limit revelation, entry to heaven, the sacrifice of Christ, God Himself?

Wrong Way?

This pondering has brought me to a new place of thinking. We always talk about how many roads lead to God, there is only one way of salvation by us coming to God through Jesus, we enter into His gates and come to Him. What if these are all the wrong way round? What if we are seeing things the wrong way? Isn’t the tower of Babel story about man trying to build his own way to God and the heavens? Isn’t the temple system and it’s failure within the Old Testament an example about how man always tried to have a way to come to God? Maybe we have to stop thinking in terms of many roads or even one road leading to God and realise a different road was built altogether that had a different emphasis on it altogether. It ceased being about roads leading to God and man getting to heaven and the story swung around 180 degrees and became about God making a way and a road to us. God made a road to mankind. Salvation became about incarnation and not about becoming deities. Heaven became about the kingdom come instead about getting to heaven. The story became about God dwelling amongst men and not about us dwelling with God. It became about God’s activity and not about our effort or religious dogma. Maybe we need to stop worrying about how many roads lead to God and heaven and start seeing the pathway He channelled out for us to know Him now in our daily walk. The road does indeed lead where it’s led. Dwelling amongst us so we can dwell with Him. Does this rob us of faith and belief? No. Does this rob us of unique expression? No. Does it take away the cross and the resurrection? No. But it stops us judging by religious exercise and revelation and moves it back to a matter of the heart. It takes it away from our own Babel efforts and back to what He has done. This has been my pondering this week and the rabbit trail goes on….

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6 thoughts on “The Traveller’s Rest- Many Roads or One Way?

  1. markrandallpixley

    Love this Paul, dangerous mine-fields of theology seem to keep us out of this landscape. What if it’s true that Jesus is the only way, but He is not limited to our version of Him, road to Emmaus being an example of His ability to disguise Himself? I am pretty well convinced that Jobs friends are actually a metaphor for all religious roads, each one telling us to stop our bitching and get in line, all the while Job is humanity, wondering why the whole thing went pear-shaped…and finally God shows up and says “You’re ALL. Wrong. Just look at nature all around you, it was clear before the question was ever formed the answer was in you”…of course no one see’ the oldest book in the bible as a metaphor of salvation but maybe we should…

    Reply
  2. John Matthews

    Deep ponderings for sure Paul. Definitely God can reveal Himself in so many ways. After all, does not all creation speak? If this is true, what are those messages? In what languages?

    Having said that, to continue your metaphor about God taking the initiative and building the way Himself, what then if one insists on taking another way based on their own presupposition that their understanding of the universe is truth. If God took the initiative to build the way Himself, clearly declared it and then stuffed Himself into human skin and died for it, who are we to insist on another way. After all is said and done, there is only one on the throne who holds the keys to heaven and hell – Jesus.

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  3. Deborah Robinson

    Paul, thank you for these thoughts. After much questioning of my own, the clarity of what you put cleared a little fog for me. It’s not about me, which you know that you know that you know!!!! further it’s not set in stone! follow the programme, dance the tune.
    I won’t say that the process of pondering my Babels is a joyful one, more of a necessity.

    Reply
  4. lia pattison

    I am so pleased you shared your ponderings! I too had very similar thoughts a few years back and it started by going to a yoga class (said in whispered tones). I was attending this class mostly in secret for fear of what my Christian friends would say! The teacher at the end of the class did a yoga meditation bit and I can honestly say it was the most powerful way I have encountered the holy spirit. I also had a conversation with my sister in-law who was brought up with Buddhism. She described “her god/faith” and she basically spoke out my experience with “my god”. Interesting times, let us not fear asking the questions.

    Reply
  5. Karen

    How does this translate for you? Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11~

    Reply

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