Preface

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I must admit, I’ve been confused by religion all my life.  Exactly what function does it provide to its adherents?  Could the atheists be right that it’s just a crutch to lean on to make sense of a meaningless existence?  There are so many religions, which one is “right,” and how would I even begin my search for “truth,” if there is such a thing?  I wrote this book to humbly share my “findings” from a lifelong search for answers to these difficult questions.

I was raised with a crazy-making relationship to religion.  My parents sent my sister and me to Christian church and schools, but did not personally exhibit the remotest interest in the subject themselves.  The message I got was, “well give it a try, it might do some good.”  Needless to say, my practice of religion was in “going through the motions,” and nothing more.  But something haunted me, even terrified me about the concept of God.  If, and at that time it was only “if,” God exists, what is he like, and how can I get in touch with him?  The religion I “had” placed God in my head as a concept, nothing even close to having him in my heart as a Person.  That would have to wait until much later in my life.  More on that later.

I have observed the same confusion about religion’s practical role during my years teaching and mentoring men in the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission’s renowned residential addiction recovery program.  I’ve seen first-hand what actually works for people struggling with self-defeating behaviors.  This is no place for ecclesiastical pretense or theological wrangling.  Men are facing life-destroying consequences if they continue in their addictions, with most less than thirty years of age and with nothing to show for their lives but broken relationships, legal disputes, and dim prospects for the future.  This “no-BS” environment calls for “nuts-and-bolts” solutions that stand the test of time.

I am not a formally-trained theologian.  I’ve been down the “dusty trail” of formal religion and despite valiant attempts, came up empty-handed there.  As a degreed engineer and technology entrepreneur, I am not easily misled.  And yes, I have actually had a direct encounter with the living God and can verify that “the things of earth have grown strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace,” as the lines of an old hymn put it.  For more details on my background and beliefs, refer to the “About the Author” section at the end of this book.

If you are a seeker of truth, suspicious that there may be more to life than meets the eye, read on.  From the start you should know, this is no comparative religions textbook.  For an analysis of the wider “spiritual emporium” with its “flavors of the day” out there, you need to look elsewhere.  I’m cutting to the chase and presenting, to the best of my ability, the base case for Christianity largely stripped of confusing denominational distinctions.  I have never been one to look elsewhere when the real thing is staring me right in the face.  The Apostle Peter had the same thought when he uttered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” [1]

Today, as never before, religion in general, and Christianity in particular is being widely dismissed as mythical ramblings that are hampering modern man’s quest to reach the “sunlit shores of humanistic superiority.”  Before taking that well-traveled but perilous road for yourself, stay with me for a while.  These writings address my journey and what I learned along the way.

A Chinese proverb says, “If you want to know what lies down the road, ask someone coming back.”  Well, I’m coming back, and have I got news for you!

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Copyright © 2015 by D.C. Collier

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This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law.

 


[1] John 6: 68-69 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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