The Introduction to my new book!

 

As promised, here is the first installment from my new book, Becoming One with Christ: The Lessons of King David.  In this post, you’re getting the introduction to the book – why write this book?  Any questions or comments, please send them to me via email.  Thanks and I hope you enjoy.

 

INTRODUCTION:

COURAGE TO APPROACH THE THRONE

“Instead, they will serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”  [Jeremiah 30:9]

         Is the ultimate path to comprehending everlasting life and eternal consciousness accepting Jesus as both God and Son?  Are those two elements, the Alpha and the Omega, the foundation for understanding the Messiah?

The scale and scope of what you’re going to read in the pages that follows is remarkable; you are about embark on a journey that begins in the pages of the Bible and ends in the 21st Century.

         I first learned of the idea that King David would be resurrected while doing research for my third book.  I had the title for the book, but something was missing.

         The initial idea for the book had been born in late 2019, before the pandemic started making headlines around the world.  The first weekend in April 2020, with the world in full lockdown mode, I was blessed with the most magnificent moment of inspiration, a moment I’d been searching for my entire life.  My quest to find this single moment in time had led me to navigate my life by the most precarious of instruments, fraught with the accompanying collisions against the treacherous rocks of divorce and job loss, and all their financial implications.  I’d lost friends and hurt those closest to me.  I had carved a most bewildering path that had taken me into what many might consider midlife with virtually nothing to show for it.

That the realization and recognition of this moment coincided with a fantastic series of events during a pandemic brought forth from me a joy unlike anything I’d ever felt.  With more than four years’ hindsight, I now appreciate that single moment in time was the encapsulation of my deliverance.

This inspiration led to evolving the book’s initial idea, which had been something of an abstraction, giving it substance, texture, and emotional direction.  As life shifted from the frenzy of pre-pandemic productivity into masks, hand sanitizer, and shortages of toilet paper, I was facing an interestingly timed existential crisis.

         I had very real doubts about the story of Jesus.

         At the same time, in the first few months of the pandemic, I had been the recipient of the most incredible signs that a greater power was at work in the world.  As a writer and creative thinker, I could see the framework of Divine orchestration, and relished in its recognition.  With this recognition came a kind of intoxicating desire; I wanted control.

         These two competing forces – my doubt about the existence of the Messiah and my perception of Divine influence on a global scale – collided against my psyche with all the force of two rams butting heads.  The impact on my writing was highly consequential.

         Early in June 2020, I was overcome by a profound writer’s block while trying to work on the manuscript.  The direction of the book had shifted from a personal development theme to one where I was attempting to shrink history in a way that had never been attempted.  The act of writing caused me palpable anxiety; my heart would race, my stomach would twist in knots, and I would be swarmed by invisible, unidentified fears.  While it might be easy to chalk this up to the psychological effects of dealing with the pandemic, I quickly discerned; my faith was going to be tested on a scale that bordered the incomprehensible.

         I knew the act of writing was still critically important to me, but repeated approaches to the manuscript and the resulting panic that ensued had convinced me that I needed to direct my focus inward.  I took up the habit of journaling.

         Writers write.  That had been the guidance given to me in college by one of my English professors at Penn State.  While it seemed obvious, I largely avoided implementing this axiom in college, and abandoned it altogether while in the Marines.  Something about the idea of developing a relationship with my Self through the act of writing felt foreign to me.  Additionally, I hated my handwriting; as a lefty, I often smudged, and regarded my penmanship as stilted and unflattering.  Only by fits and starts did I manage to piece together my first book, Whiskey and Yoga, and was diligent enough in my research that I managed to write a reasonably good story without journaling for my second book, The Lighthouse Keeper.

I have since come to appreciate the power of journaling; it is a sharpening of the mind’s eye.  The greater our understanding of our internal composition and direction, the better equipped we are in expressing who we are and what we believe.  The resulting sense of self-confidence and enlightenment leads us to a greater understanding of the spiritual dimension of the human experience.  It is through our ability to express explicitly what we understand implicitly that such enlightenment takes place.  I have come to regard journaling as the sculpting of the soul.

Unable to honor the inspiration I’d seen in April with the appropriate words, I set the manuscript aside.

         I journaled about my experience of the pandemic.  I journaled on trying to make sense of the catalog of events in the Spring of 2020 that led me to create a causal relationship between the pandemic and my spiritual awakening, without taking time to consider the significance or implications of doing so.  I wrote about the inspiration I’d seen, hoping to come up with a title for the book. While I’ve heard some authors title their works after completion, I have found that, by identifying the title of the book first, I produce the book’s first outline.  Between April of 2020 and November 2021, I journaled more than a thousand pages.

         Some titles lasted a few days, maybe even a week.  Others, just a few minutes.

         With the abundance of time I had to myself, I read voraciously.  I read passages from the Bible.  I read books on Roman history and Christianity.  I read on quantum physics and psychology.  All this in an attempt to wrap my mind around the nature of what I wanted to write.  Finally, after more than twenty months, I had the title.

         The moment I said the title out loud, I knew I had it.  It was a culmination of the days and weeks of soul searching, intensive research, and very real shadow work that had stretched into months, flirting with years.  I finished the first draft on New Year’s Day, 2022.  Sometime in mid-January or early February, I would add the subtitle for what eventually became my third book, Love Letters to the Virgin Mary: The Resurrection of King David.

         This book is going to ask and answer questions you have likely never considered, questions like, what exactly is the relationship between David and Jesus as spelled out in the Bible, and when does it begin?  If David is to be raised up, how would that take place, and if David existed more than 900 years before the time Jesus walked on the earth, what consequence would David’s existence have on the advance of Christianity into modernity?  

         Finally, it will seek to answer a more intimate question – what would David’s resurrection mean for you, the reader?

         Christianity is a daunting religion to comprehend, specifically because it places extraordinary responsibility on people we know existed in history.  It is through the consequence of their existence that the gravity of Christ’s life shapes our understanding of the world today.  It is an undeniable truth that the single greatest influence on the development of western civilization is the story of Jesus.  In the immediate time of Jesus, there are historical artifacts that have been found, citing the existence of Pontius Pilate as a governor in Judea.  We know of Augustus and Tiberius, the emperors of Rome during Jesus’ life in the region.  There is King Herod.  There is his mother, Mary.  Besides an ancient home in Nazareth with writing on its outer walls, identifying it as the home of “Miriam”, the Hebrew name for Mary, there is little else historically to point to her existence.  There is Jesus himself.  Outside the Gospels, we find scant evidence to suggest he was real.

         The idea that a single being, someone who looked like one of us, ate and walked with us, is also responsible for the salvation of our species is staggering to envision, and yet that is precisely the journey we must undertake.

         Therein lies the greatest challenge of understanding the story of Jesus; for centuries it has been institutionalized, when the fulfillment and promise of salvation must be personalized and internalized.  To comprehend everlasting life, you must believe it exists within you.  Said another way, we cannot become something we are unable to comprehend.

         Stretching into the Old Testament, it is often hard to conceive of the notion that people like Moses or Noah walked the same earth we inhabit today.  In some capacity, perhaps they didn’t.  Before the implementation of the scientific method and the compartmentalization of things for the purposes of analysis, the world was filled with magic and powerful forces.  Our apprehension of knowledge has led to a greater understanding of the order and structure of our existence, diminishing the power of “unseen forces”, and yet this search has invariably led us to the quantum where, to our astonishment, we have discovered the universe we perceive responds to the way in which we choose to perceive it.  Perhaps communication with our Creator was easier before we sought to analyze and dissect the world we live in, fixating on the external world while letting weeds grow in the internal one.  Humans at the time had more of a sense of the power within them.  It was after all Moses who, invoking the names of God, parted the Red Sea.

The same question of existence can be asked about King David.  Aside from the Biblical text, the Tel Dan Stele is a fragmentary stele, or stone slab, which dates to the 9th century BC.  It is a notable Aramaic inscription that contains reference to the house of David. And yet, for the full meaning of the Bible story to be realized, David must be raised from the dead.  There are 18 distinct references in the Bible where Jesus is referred to as the Son of David.  Jesus himself questions the relationship before the Pharisees, who are unable to answer the question posed.  It is Jesus who provides the answer, fittingly, at the end of the Book of Revelation.

 

         This book will explore the contemplations David must make, and the lessons to be extracted from such contemplations.  The calculus for these considerations should be evident; David must take ultimate accountability for placing Jesus on the cross, while accepting transcendent salvation by acknowledging Jesus’ supremacy atop the Divine heavenly order.

 

         The key to understanding Jesus then, is not conformity to the stringent structure of dogma, nor is it the perpetual reliance on external authority as the prevailing voice of governance on the spiritual aspect of our existence. Rather, it is the unrelenting excavation of the grand internal compass with which we all are equipped that enables us to personalize his teachings, awakening us to our Truth, and illuminating in our souls the Oneness we must visualize to return to our Divine origins.

 

         Concerning dogma, as noted psychologist and speaker Dr. Jordan Peterson states in his brilliant book Beyond Order:

         It is better to presume ignorance and invite learning than to assume sufficient knowledge and risk the consequent blindness.  It is much better to make friends with what you do not know than it is what you know, as there is an infinite supply of the former but a finite stock of the latter.

         When you are tightly boxed in or cornered, all too often by your stubborn and fixed adherence to some unconsciously worshipped assumptions, all there is to help you is what you have not yet learned.

 

         In other words, it is our marriage to dogma, our unwillingness to test our beliefs, that most often impedes our enlightenment.  We cannot understand the full magnitude, power, and grace of Jesus if we elect to view the world through the straw of rigid, untested assumptions and orthodoxy.  We would be wise to recall the original meaning of the Greek orthodoxos, which means, of the right opinion.

 

         On the contrary, ultimate faith in Christ invites the exploration of the uniqueness of the human experience and the idea of differing beliefs, grounded in the understanding that everyone’s life is by necessity uniquely their own.  The cross each of us must carry is custom-made for us as well.

Regardless of the voice you assign to the thoughts and ideas that follow, it is my genuine hope that you receive these ideas with the understanding that, what is true and great for one of us is true and great for each of us – a high tide raises all ships.  The evolution of any species is painful for those burdened with being the first to embark on the journey to evolve.