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The Middle Way Among the Extremes

Updated: Apr 17

In 2012, my life flipped upside down as my faith, future, career, and all my hopes, dreams, and relationships lay shattered at my feet. It wasn't just beliefs and plans broken, I was emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually shattered.

All I thought I knew, all I thought that I could trust in felt like a mirage.

You see I set out to follow a four year plan to train for a future career in missions but wound up devastated as I discovered that all that glitters is not gold. Sometimes, it is just specks of dust...but what are humans after all...? Are we not dust crafted by our eternal Creator's hands into masterpieces that modern science cannot begin to adequately or accurately copy no matter how many brilliant minds try?

So there I sat in the dust of ruination wondering how my life would ever be good again... As I raised a fist towards heaven and let the Lord have all the anger, pain, betrayal, and fear I could possibly dish out to Him, He met me and poured His love into that dust. Much like the blind man on whom Jesus placed dust turned mud...Jesus' love turned the fragments of my mind, will, emotions, beliefs, hopes, and dreams into mud. Maybe a better description is clay!

That dust turned clay felt the tenderness and strength of His healing touch as He formed it into the beautiful life that I now wouldn't trade for a dust free existence! Somewhere along this journey from dust to overflowing vessel, Jesus gave me a picture of the path that I was to walk.

He found me frustrated and confused as I attempted to sort out a mess of toxic and unbiblical spiritually abusive teachings from the extreme version of Christianity which I had embraced for the formative years of my young adult life. Not only did I see before my spiritual eyes a slew of unhealthy religious teachings that did not line up with what the Lord was showing me in my time with Him and His Word, but I also saw the other non-religious extremes that the world offered and that for a time I took a detour into.

It felt like there existed two opposing extremes both employing the same control tactics, brainwashing methods, and rigid "believe like us or else" ideological boxes. These paradoxical worldviews...

  • promised freedom yet produced bondage

  • proclaimed love yet promoted hate

  • presented a solution to the world's problems yet participated in creating more spiritual, emotional, and mental destruction

  • proposed intellectual freewill and critical thinking yet persecuted anyone who questioned the corporate ideology, movement leaders, chosen political platform, etc.

I stood caught between being too "worldly" for my old belief system and "too religious" for the non-religious. In the middle judged by people I knew on both sides of the equation, I called on the Lord for wisdom on how to navigate not leaning too far to either set of extremes.

He did not fail me!

He showed me while praying a picture of a four lane highway with people not cars rushing 90 miles an hour in opposite directions. All the while both sides yelled and judged the opposite side of the road never realizing they were neither one enjoying the journey. Between the two roadways rested a pleasant narrow grassy median where stood a man in a white robe radiating light. I knew instantly this man represented Jesus. The man seemed to motion me, and I knew this was an answer to my questions. I asked Jesus what it all meant. He then unfolded the beauty of the Middle Way for me!

He said the two highways are the broad way that leads to destruction! Not necessarily eternal destruction as we are always told that passage implies, but mental, emotional, and spiritual destruction absolutely! The Lord then revealed to me that the narrow way is the way between the extremes and can only be navigated not with theological maps or ideological manifestos but with...

  • a deepening personal relationship with Him through all the many ways He speaks

  • a willingness to lay aside prior judgements, the need for a checklist of rules and beliefs, the desire to "fit in" with either side

  • the determination to ask the hard questions that neither extreme can or will answer

  • a heart full of curiosity, wonder, and openness to a fantastically more mysterious and incredible world than we ever imagined possible full of danger, raw beauty, intellectual puzzles that only His Spirit in us can explain, and deep mental, emotional, and spiritual journeys into level after level of healing and growth

Most of all however, this journey requires honesty with the One who loves us so much, our own selves, and the people we meet who are walking in this Middle Way with us. These are the reasons that He said few will find this way. Many are just not willing to go to the depths of their hearts with Him on a journey that has a known destination but not a known plan or itinerary. We want the semblance of control, order, normalcy in our lives and beliefs.

Our minds long for the mundane, the legislated, while our hearts are crying out for the wild, the untamed, the realm of adventure, deep meaning, and eternal purpose.


The Lord will meet us in the limitations that we place on Him from our highway, but He longs to guide us off the highway into the Middle Way where we learn to walk hand in hand with Him beyond the roar of all the voices in this world and apart from the extremes of all kinds. He longs to satisfy our souls with not more than a semblance of control. Our Lord invites us into real, true, and deep spiritual and emotional stability, balance, and life.


This, my loves, is the Middle Way! Will you join us?

Your Middle Way experience will very likely be a bit different than mine, but that is the beauty of this way. We walk it with Jesus and then compliment each others' journeys rather than trying to control each others' journey. You walk at your pace with Him, and I walk at mine, but somehow in a mysteriously beautiful, logic defying reality we both walk it together...loving and supporting each other without judgement or fear because we trust each of us and all others to His love and grace not our logic or timeline!

I look forward to what the road ahead brings for both of us!


From a Fellow Middle Way Muser

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