“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (21st Century King James Version)
My Dad, Alton Reynolds, who I mentioned in an earlier post, “A Sudden Shock”, passed away on August 13th. He was 85 years old. His liver cancer spread to his back and spine, and was progressively worst. He’s transitioned home and is at rest. This post is dedicated to his memory.
Dad was a man of two worlds. He was born in Jamaica and came to the US at 17. Dad was proud of his Jamaican heritage. I grew up with Calypso music, enjoyed Jamaican cuisine, and even had a portrait of the Queen (Elizabeth II) hanging in our dining room!
But Dad was also a man of the US as well He loved the New York Mets, westerns, and war movies. He was a union construction worker and was proud of it. Notice I didn’t say, “American” since both Jamaica and the US are part of the Americas.
Dad was a man who transitioned between two worlds; and in the transition, allowed these worlds to come together and form the man that became my father.
I too am a “man of two worlds”, but in my Christian experience. I’m still in one world-the evangelical world I was raised in. Despite its Biblically literal, fundamentalist, realist, eschatological, stances, I am still there. I still enjoy the music-especially the great anthems and spirituals. I love the fellowship.
However, I’m also in the second world that I’m currently exploring. It’s where I don’t take the Bible as literal, historical, and worldview shaping; instead I view it as allegory written not by God, but by men. A world where diverse sexual and religious views are welcomed-a world where, “we’re all in this together”. A “non-realist” world that is not shaped by the Bible, but is shaped independently of any religious text. A world of an eons-old, big bang formed universe constantly evolving. No rapture or end-times, but a slowly growing theosis amongst all-becoming more like God every day. I am also Universalist-not believing only the “faithful few” will be ushered into God’s presence, but all of humanity.
Like Dad, I am transitioning from one world to another. Where his was cultural and geographic; mine is of the spirit. And like Dad, I’m learning to fuse the two together.
Transitioning of any kind is a process of constant unlearning and learning on a daily basis. It’s a journey open to all, but few take it. It’s a scary trip, leaving the familiar and venturing into the unknown, not knowing where you well end up.
My Dad was a man of two worlds. Now he’s transitioned from this world to the next; a good transition made with courage and dignity, knowing my Dad. I know that eventually, I will fully transition from my first Christian “world” into the second. I wonder what follower of Jesus the Christ I’ll transition into?
May we all have the courage to make these transitional journeys to whatever worlds await us.
Rest Easy Dad. See you when I get there.
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