Sacred NEXT Stories #3
The fabric of every community is its peoples and their shared story. How people come to the NEXT community, what they discover here and how they are transformed is a sacred story.
We are delighted to be sharing just a few of these sacred stories with you.
[The previous story we shared, was of a wonderful young man searching for depth. You can read his story here.]
What follows is the sacred story of one of our students who came to NEXT searching for truth…
Before NEXT I was trying to figure everything out – the universe, my purpose, what is truth and generally what is true. I was like a dog with a bone, I’d troll the internet for answers all night long obsessed with finding some kind of meaningful engagement with my questions.
I was getting more and more frustrated that truth seemed so elusive – how can we know anything!? I was beginning to ask the big questions of life and I was trying to do it by myself. But the more I searched, the more I just felt alone.
Then I came to NEXT and it may seem cliche, but literally my whole life has changed in the course of one short year. The people who I have been with on this journey have become my closest and dearest friends, we are figuring ourselves and the world around us out together in a meaningful way. At NEXT there is a real sense that we are all in this together and everyone is valued for who they are and how they are different.
I now have a way to engage and integrate my questions with the life I’m living.
Throughout this year I have learnt and studied things that have impacted, challenged and grown my Christian faith and my relationship with God. There has been a noticeable shift in the way I think and engage with a whole range of things. From thinking about theological concepts, how to engage, understand and appreciate the Bible and its history, as well as the way I understand people and my relationships.
I have been able to dedicate time to reading and researching and learning from sources I never knew about before. Being in community has been amazing. It is within this community that I have finally come to understand and appreciate that we are created to live life with people and to love and be loved. The life of Jesus started to make sense to me in this way.
I have had so much fun in community, especially when we have gone out from Whitley and had direct experiences with other communities, many of which do not share the Christian faith. These visits have really opened my eyes and mind to other ways of life and the ways other people experience God and grow their understanding of the universe, purpose and truth.
By spending time with people in other denominations, faiths and communities I have realized that the pursuit of truth cannot be fruitful if it is done by one person alone for their own sake. It cannot be done from a distance and it is not something that you finish and then moved on from – meaningful conversation and learning with living sources has validated my questions in a real way. Even if these same questions remain somewhat unanswered, I now have a way to engage and integrate my questions with the life I’m living.
There has been a noticeable shift in the way I think and engage with a whole range of things. From thinking about theological concepts, how to engage, understand and appreciate the Bible and its history, and also the way I view people and my relationships.
Most importantly there are things I have found this year as I have searched for truth only because they have been hidden inside other people and their ideas which have been revealed in the course of our friendships.
I have realized that God and truth are really important but the process of searching for God and for truth, the way we learn, think, feel, engage and practice believing is equally important and is best done with other people. It’s a process I have participated in at NEXT and a process I have committed to continue.
One of the great privileges of being part of the NEXT community is being able to witness people taking these next steps on their sacred journey and being able to walk beside them.
For those of you seeking more of life, seeking to discover life in lost and forgotten places, afraid of asking questions or reaching the boundaries of a Christianity that has become to small … we would love to journey with you too.
NEXT Open Night
THURSDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2015, 7PM
NEXT Open Night is your opportunity to find out what you need to know : what is NEXT, how does it work, and whether it is a good fit for you.
Check out: next.asn.au/open