How would it feel to pedal off into being Jim and be free to feel the kingdom of God blowing through my soul? What might it be like to leave Jim Palmer, Inc. behind and finally just be myself?
All throughout the past year there had been numerous times when I tried hard to emulate Jesus and became frustrated. However, there were also those experiences when I was just being Jim and it felt so natural to express love to people, to accept them as they were, to be there and care about them, to listen to them, to put my arms around them, to cry with them, to simply be a true friend to them. It hit me that it was in those moments, the ones in which I felt I’d failed at being Jesus, that I had actually succeeded.
So, I made a list that described the characteristics of these true friends.
1) A true friend honors my thoughts and feelings. A true friend allows me to feel what I feel. They don’t hurry me through that part. They don’t rush in to fix me, or try to talk me out of anything. They don’t “brightside” or theologize my feelings away. They listen empathetically. They stand respectfully on the edge of my feelings and assure me that it’s okay to feel everything, for however long it takes. They pull up a chair beside me and reach out their hand to touch me as a reminder that I am not alone in what I feel. A true friend empathizes with my feelings, but doesn’t necessarily indulge them. Sometimes true friendship requires gentleness, while at other times it requires a kick in the ass, but the action always comes from a place of love, acceptance, and empathy.
2) A true friend doesn’t need me to be anyone other than who I am. True friendship is mask-less; it doesn’t require that I fake my state or pretty-up my reality. A true friend takes me as I am and where I am. For me, that’s the connection point in true friendship—not some fictitious place of where I hope to be, or where I should be, or where others expect me to be… it’s the place where I truly am. A true friend creates a space where it’s okay for me to be fully honest, vulnerable, and authentic.
3) A true friend prods me towards personal integrity. Here, the “integrity” I am refer
ring to is not about morality, but alignment—remaining grounded in, guided and directed by, and living in accordance with what I have determined to be my highest truth. A true friend understands the larger framework of my journey and brings this understanding into the relationship. True friendship takes time—time to fully understand a person’s history, life, story, journey, dreams, desires, goals, and the core beliefs and values to which they subscribe. A true friend doesn’t try to get my life to line up with their beliefs, values, goals, and desires, but supports me in holding true to my own view of things.
4) A true friend cares enough to walk with me through thick and thin. True friendship requires some serious stick-to-it-iveness. People are messy. I am messy. Knowing that someone will be there, whatever may come, is one of the most important gifts of friendship. Friends can offend and hurt each other, yes. Friendship is not always a bed of roses; no relationship is. But, true friends work it out. They don’t shut down and run away when things get difficult. This is one of the main ways in which we grow and become more whole—getting to the other side of all the stuff that unfolds as we engage in intimate relationships with others. A true friend says to me, “I am here. I am not going anywhere… ever!”
5) A true friend asks me what I need and doesn’t assume that they know. The two questions a true friend asks are: a) How can I help you? b) What do you need from me right now? And then (and this is the most important part), they let me answer the questions for myself. A true friendship is a relationship in which both of us can be honest about what we need and give it to each other.
The two questions a true friend asks are: a) How can I help you? b) What do you need from me right now? And then (and this is the most important part), they let me answer the questions for myself. A true friendship is a relationship in which both of us can be honest about what we need and give it to each other.
"Dear Jim, I see Jesus like an extraordinary man that accomplished the connection of the spirit within us, a spirit that already existed since the creation of humankind. Maybe he was the first (or second or third I don't know) to access it and proved to us how this is possible, and it's for this that he is special. But I am a bit tired of "the Jesus thing" because unfortunately it reminds me of my religious mindset."
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Thanks for your message. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind.
After deconstructing my Christian belief system, I was left with the question of who was Jesus and if/why/how he was significant. For me, Jesus was no longer significant in the ways I had learned through the Christian religion. I started drilling into the question of Jesus in my third book Being Jesus in Nashville. The answer I came up with raised quite a ruckus - I was deemed a heretic and my book contract was cancelled. I also delve into the question further in Notes from (Over) the Edge. The issue and question has come up quite a bit lately, and I wrote a couple blog posts related to it:
Is Jesus real? (And why do I insists upon talking about him?
Why I believe in Jesus (Why I am not a Christian) ->
I really like the way you put it -> " I see Jesus like an extraordinary man that accomplished the connection of the spirit within us, a spirit that already existed since the creation of humankind. Maybe he was the first (or second or third I don't know) to access it and proved to us how this is possible, and it's for this that he is special."
The Jesus story of the Christian religion has to be cleaned up. As it stands now there are 2.5+ billion people around the world who are worshiping a false religious Jesus and preaching a gospel that has no power and leads nowhere. If we could get the Jesus story straightened out with that group of people, can you imagine the impact it would have? 2.5+ billion people lifting up the truth! In addition to the Christian religion, that false Jesus story also has many other people messed up, and if the truth comes out I believe it would make a huge difference in freeing and opening things up for many people. That was part of the intent of Inner Anarchy - to tear down that false Jesus story, and to lift up the truth Jesus bore witness to and demonstrated, which is to rebel against all those false beliefs, mindsets, narratives, stories and ideologies that rule within us, and to turn toward the spiritual authority within ourselves.
In terms of being tired of the Jesus thing, I think the key is not that we sit around and talk incessantly about Jesus. It's embracing and living the truth he bore witness to and demonstrated, especially his metanoia teaching.
I must tell you, I am not a proponent of “religion,” even the “Christian” kind, but have never gone wrong following Jesus.
Breaking free from a damaging religious background is one of the most difficult things a person will ever do. It can be a volatile transition impacting every aspect of one’s life such as personal identity, relationships with others, and evolving new beliefs about life and God. This is a difficult path to walk alone, which is why I created the Life After Religion course. In the course you will learn the steps for making peace with your religious past; undoing religious pathology; cultivating new mindsets for personal liberation; and exploring what spirituality is for you. The Life After Religion course was designed to be completed at your own pace. I hope you find the experience transformational and something you’ll want to share with others!
You can participate in the course at any time by visiting this link -> https://praxisproject.zenler.com/courses/life-after-religion-a-personal-journey-out