Day 879 – NEW ZEALAND: Mincing Faith

Before I unload some brain-baggage here, I’ll post some fun pictures.

At the farmer's market with Cousin Rach in Dunedin, New Zealand

Driving to the farrmer's market with Cousin Rach in Dunedin, New Zealand Feeding ducky with Cousin Rach in Dunedin, New Zealand

Feeling like an uncle with Evie in Dunedin, New Zealand Rowan skating in Dunedin, New Zealand

It was a fun weekend just been. I got to visit my Cousin Rach and Sam and flatting atmosphere in Dunedin on the way down to Invercargill for the Thomson Christmas Party. It was a long two days with a total of about 14 hours driving. But I did enjoy it. Having yarns with Mum in the car, skateboarding up Baldwin Street, and catching up with relatives in Invercargill that I hadn’t seen in over 7 years.

It was tiring weekend too. That’s where the next bit of this post comes in. At the least I hope this serves to assure people that even world record breakers still have issues that they are working through…
So this is excerpts of an email I sent to a friend lately…it gives a general idea of where I am at with the identity of myself in relation to my spirituality.

All part of my re-entry into my home culture. It aint no walk in the park.

….I cannot see a better way of living than that that Jesus represented. Casting off the old self…all that carry on. By nature there is a dysfunction in the human condition. We miss the point of living…we live blindly and unhelpfully and unlovingly (Page 9 – A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle)…and that causes suffering. The way of Jesus is such a clear-cut way to transcend so much suffering while we are on this earth. It is a way to bring heaven to earth, rather than hell to earth. Jesus, at the core of his message, is love.

So this is an awesome message for the here and now. It is freeing, and allows people to realise their God-given potential and empowers them to grow into who they were created to be; powerful and effective beings. The love ethic of Jesus is ultimately transferable to all areas of human existence; stewardship of the earth, social justice, interpersonal relationships, inter-cultural understanding…

So….this is an awesome has-no-borders message for people of all cultures. And it certainly does not require forcefully imposing a certain form of social ‘ways’ upon a culture such as Christmas trees, baseball caps, synthetic medicines, blah blah blah…

Purely from this perspective, I would love to be involved with missions, spreading the love ethic of Jesus.

And here it comes…


There is that little niggling issue of the after-life. Some humans require some assurance that this is not all there is. Something that has been growing in my mind is “why even bother about the concept of the afterlife. Why even bother about concerning ourselves about what we need to do or not do in order to be saved from death after death. Let’s just concentrate on the here and now, and what we can do to avoid ‘death’ (relationally, environmentally etc) now”.


Then this of course doesn’t account for the fact that us humans are incapable of true, pure, truly unconditional love. We will always do things that hurt ourselves or others or the environment. When the power of love overcomes the love of power, only then will the earth know peace is a bit of a favourite saying of mine. But rationally, us humans could never get to the point of total pure self-sacrificial love for each other. Even if every person on earth managed to discover within themselves their potential for love and was able to live it out the best they could, there would always be some un-lovingness. So even in this utopian ideal, there would be some un-love. Some selfishness. Some missing the mark of the ideal.

So that’s where Jesus comes in, I guess? Dies on the cross, rises from the dead (as a physical risen-from-the-dead human body made from matter and atoms and cells and can eat fish and people can poke their fingers in his nail-hioles and floats into the sky and goes………up………into outerspace……..a human body….floats…..into space…where does the matter go…the human body of Jesus….into outer space? What the hang was that all about?!) and covers the bits that we humans could never achieve on our own…

As you can tell, I am thinking out loud.

And far too much thought, and far too little actually reading the b i b l e.

But that still doesn’t answer my issue with not everyone on this earth having the opportunity to hear the un-biased, un-tainted-with-church-doctrine-and-tradition message of Jesus. I mean, forget about ‘the four corners of the earth’…how many people have walked away from the church discouraged and hurt and confused because the image of God that they were given was not an accurate balanced one? Due to the mistake of the church they are doomed?

This journey I am on, by the way, is something that I am very thankful for. I saw sooooo many cultural/religious/nationalist/faithist/patriotists on my travels where all that stuff was merged into one. I am therefore I am . I am determined not to be that way. I am determined to know what the ramifications of what I claim to be are.

Right now nothing resonates with me. The last two opportunities I have had to take communion, I have decided not to, because I am just not feeling anything. I don’t want to do it just because ‘that’s what Christians do’ or because it is a meaningless ritual. Yes Jesus’ love ethic is incredible. But the concept that Jesus died for our sins…all have fallen short of the glory of God….why are these concepts not resonating in my heart any more? In the past, was I just fuelled by emotion? Fuelled by a ‘religious’ fervor?

Songs that I once sung with passion are feeling uncomfortable and hollow. Lyrics are just words, rather than meaning.

How do I get a heart-head connection going here?

When all the nice feelings of singing and community of like-minded people are absent for a period of time, I have found that I start to see the inconsistencies and irrationalities that I never had the drive to question. Because hey…if I’m in a nice Christian church bubble, I only get grazed here and there by people who point out the bits that don’t make sense. And then I can climb back in the bubble and feel safe and comfortable and not have to think that perhaps, just perhaps, this church entity is actually trapping people, not setting them free.

But then I see that I do not ‘go to church’…I am the church. Me with my questions and confusion and my rational conviction that Jesus’ way is an awesome way to live and does actually allow people to become the best version of themselves that they can be on this earth.

But I don’t fully believe right now. To fully believe is to accept that all that Jesus said is true. That it is in fact the absolute truth, and all other truths (religions, ways to ‘God’) are but relative to Jesus’s truth. That they may contain bits of the truth, but only Jesus’s truth is the complete truth. Essentially that is what it is to be a Christ follower. Yes?

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7 thoughts on “Day 879 – NEW ZEALAND: Mincing Faith

  • Chrissy


    I'm sure this "getting back into life thing" must be difficult, but at the same time a wonderful journey too. Your bike & skate journey ended, but life's ongoing adventure is far from over. You learned,saw,became and so much more on your trek around the globe, but those are not past tense words you still are doing all those things.

    Maybe in reality growing process is beginning now. It is only natural to wonder and think about EVERYTHING. "Not all those who wander are lost" I haven't seen you in years, but I have followed your journey since the day I met you. You seriously are one of the most remarkable men I have EVER met. Yeah your journey was pretty sweet, but there is so much more to admire about to you than just all of that. Your genuine love for life that God has given us, you never over look the beauty of the world.

    Life might seem unreadable, but God will make it all clear for you. Embrace your vulnerability to God, life, religion, everything, it's a beautiful thing to wonder, because the discovery whatever that may be, is magical.

    Chin up champ!

    Oh and about you losing your fit body, come on now Weka…really?!

    Sending big hugs and Christmas cheer.

    OH AND PS- My cousins are in New Zealand now!! No idea where though, They took a picture by a massive carrot? Any idea??

    Come back to Switzerlaaaaaaaaaaaaand xx

  • wim harwig

    Hello Rob,

    Maybe reading any book written by William H Calvin could inspire you to some original thoughts and insights .

    I think you must have heard about "the river that flows uphill" , but also "the cerebral code" is a good read.

    see for yourself ;
    Unfortunately I am only able to read the translated versions.

    A carpenter must know everything about his tools, before he can even start working with it. A thinker must know as much as possible about his brains ……

    I have the idea you just started another long and intense journey and I hope you keep us informed about your progress. I admire you for your openness.

    Have a nice Christmas time.

    Keep cycling and thinking,


  • andrew morgan

    Hi Rob,

    Again, thanks for posting such a personal post.

    Is it so wrong to admire Jesus' message while also believing the Bible is not a factual book?

    Can't literary characters be lesson-teachers? (Every English teacher under the sun and every school system that pays them to teach novels should hope so.)

    You don't need to believe that the Bible's account of Jesus (and everything else it attempts to describe) is historically accurate in order to draw inspiration from the love Jesus' character has in the Bible.

    Accepting that the Bible is absolute truth is something lots of people take lightly, without doing enough research into the Bible's sticky bits–life origins, how it is similar to religions that pre-date it, how it frames gender for its believers in an antiquated, patriarchal way, the ethics of things like hell and conversion, universe origins, etc. I think you're smart in not taking the Bible as truth simply because you were raised to believe that.

    Keep digging. If after lots of reading, lots of digging in the Bible, you are or are not persuaded that the Bible represents all it claims to, you'll have arrived at a conclusion that you yourself have formed.

    My point is this–if Jesus' message resonates with you, give it a home in your heart and mind. But don't feel that you need to believe in men walking on water or homosexuals going to hell as well if those types of things don't ring true to you. There's no need to compromise your rationality or your innate sense of tolerance to believe in the message of Christ.

    Believing in the message of Christ and the Bible's accuracy are two TOTALLY different things, in my opinion.

    hope all is well,


  • Saben

    Hey Rob,

    I went through the same transition (spiritual not hardcore culture shock) a few years ago and came away a happier person. I find this questioning of one’s faith a step towards enlightenment. The Christian teachings are powerful and all in all very positive but are at the most … basic. They are not designed for the complexities of life. You have to “overlook” so much in order to hold on to your faith. I was unhappy as a Christian because I felt as if I was betraying everything I knew was true for something that I didn’t feel was true any longer. You said “How do I get a heart-head connection going here?” I say have a closer look and see if for the first time you have that connection. Maybe you should have a look at this from the other end. Instead of stepping away from your faith in god, you are simply stepping closer to an understanding. Understanding of what I can’t tell you. That’s for you to work out.

    This is my favorite topic so if you want some serious discussion, shoot me an email….

  • Keryn

    Hi Rob

    I have been interested to read your struggles with your faith and feel for you. I think as followers of Christ we all have our doubts and it is ok to have them. Some good books I have read are 'Velvet Elvis – Repainting the Christian Faith' by Rob Bell as well as 'Irresistable Revolution – Being and Ordinary Radical' – by Shane Claiborne. Both American writers but good at challenging the status quo.

    Good luck!

  • Scott Wayland

    Wow, Rob, landing hard, eh? I would think that NOT questioning all kinds of things about your life would be strange after such a journey. Christ's teachings are awesome, no doubt, so intense, in fact, that a character in Twain said that he could never be a Christian. "Why?" asked the evangelical. "Because I would be the only one," replied the character. It's a tough, hard, powerful route, but don't expect a literal interpretation of the Bible to work in a modern world. Fer cryin' out loud, it was written, the Old Testament, what, 3,000 years ago?

    A great scholar, Joseph Campbell, once said: "He who reads a poem for its factual information is missing the point."

    This saying has always helped me navigate the sticky world of religion. The sacred texts are poetry, mate–true, powerful, but based most often in metaphor and symbolism. So Andrew, I think, has a good take on it, in my humble opinion.

    This is YOUR struggle, however, and you'll navigate your own path. Be true to your heart and the knowledge, so big now, of your place in the world.

    We all have faith in you whatever your faith may be.


    Scott (My 2 cents)

  • Mark


    Thanks for opening up your heart. Thanks for being REAL.

    We are in Japan being the Church, but out of the traditional church and in a cafe/English school. Here life is much more real.

    Truth is best found in the source of truth. Love is best found in the source of love. I think you are going the right direction to find your answers to your questions.

    I just ordered a recumbent. Saw your introduction video…

    I don't do facebook. But for the first time wondered if I should. My wife has an account. I may borrow it to watch your life.