I am guessing that when one is turning forty it is normal to look back and evaluate, how far one has come and what has prompted ones development thus far. In one sense I don’t think that my fortieth is any different from any other birthday, it simply is another step forward.
Still I look back at the spiritual and theological roller coaster I have been on the last couple of years (and I really mean the last couple of years, If I where to reach back further the list of people whom I could not have made it without would be endless) and realise that I would not be here if it was not for some significant voices speaking into my life. So today I would like to acknowledge some of the people that have influenced me or walked with me on this adventurous journey.
Hasse Kjellgren, Henrik Andersen and Vic Poke who believed in me and thought I would make a great Salvation Army Officer and made it possible for me and Hanna to go to William Booth College. All my tutors at college who inspired and challenged me but especially Gordon Cotterill, Brian Slinn and Stuart Watson.
I would not have made it through college if it wasn’t for the transformative message of N.T. Wright (Especially Jesus and the victory of God), Brueggemann (Prophetic imagination), Brian Mclaren (A new kind of Christian, the secret message of Jesus), Wayne Jacobsen (So you don’t want to go to church anymore) and John Eldredge (Wild at heart, Desire). Who all gave me a new way of understanding and reading scripture without loosing my Christian identity. I also wouldn’t have gotten very far without the friendship and support of Will Pearson, Dominic Eaton and Mark Anderson.
Once we arrived in Malmö we have been so lucky to have been encouraged and supported by Jonny Kleman, Mackan Andersson and again Vic Poke and Henrik Andersson while reading and talking to Timothy Kurek (The cross in the closet) and Jesper Svartvik (Bibeltolkningens bakgator).
As we moved to greater understanding and freedom we have had a great cloud of witnesses speaking into our lives and shaping our thinking and I cannot overstate their importance to my own journey among these heroes are: Richard Rohr (Adam’s return, Falling upwards, The Enneagram- A Christian perspective ), Tripp Fuller (Homebrewed Christianity), Jack Caputo (What would Jesus deconstruct, the weakness of god), Jim Palmer (Divine nobodies, Wide open spaces, Being Jesus in Nashville, Notes from (over) the edge), Peter Rollins (Insurrection, The idolatry of God, The divine magician), Kester Brewin (Mutiny, After magic), Jay Bakker (fall to grace, Faith and doubt), Marcus Borg (Putting away childish things), Bruce Epperly (Process theology – a guide for the perplexed, loosely Christian), Catherine Keller (On the mystery) and Doug Pagitt (A Christianity worth believing in, Preaching in the inventive age). Some of these greats have taken the time to speak with me (especially at Subverting the norm) and advised me on the way and others have simply done so by being pioneers and trailblazers.
During this whole Journey I am so grateful for the Pirate Church community and especially my Latvian friends, Arturs, Karina, Erika, Marika, Astrida Kozlovska, Anna Marta Sveisberga, Darta Seso and Liene Lazdina who, with their courage and love have pushed us forward along this road.
On our personal Journey I am deeply thankful for the writings of Christopher Ryan, Barbara Carellas, Kamala Devi, and Dossie Easton and the conversations with Linn, Alexandra, Catia, Sara, Charlotte and Alexander Rudenstam who have helped me navigate the more difficult parts of this Journey.
None of this would of course have happened if it wasn’t for our wonderful church and the community that has gathered around it, we have been greatly encouraged and motivated by all the courageous heroes that have been part of our lives the last four years. I hesitate to mention any for fear of leaving some out but I must, Tobias Viltonius, Tomas Hedlund, Erik Andersson, Christoff and Jack Lukkerz, Ulrika Anevska, Kajsa och Aron Tendler, Carmencita Gallardo and many many more.
Finally my greatest debt of thanks and my deepest admiration is still reserved for the beautiful warrior princess Hanna Olterman who have bravely walked this road with me and have been both critical and supportive when needed. I would never have dared to brave this wild and uncharted territory without you, thank you for still choosing to be in my life!
So here we are, turning the page, walking around the corner, jumping of the ledge into the future and for all of you who like me seek the divine outside the box, for those of you who paint outside the lines, for those of you looking for a new way to be a Christian in a new strange world, I salute you!