Three years ago I had the opportunity to be in a clergy study led by Johns Hopkins University. It truly was one of the most transformative experiences of my entire life. Now, the study itself is a little controversial, so I am asking that you refrain from passing judgment until you know “all about it”. But the lessons learned from it were just so powerful, I hate to not tell you about them just because it might offend someone.  Odds are if you’ve followed West/my leadership at all, you know that “conventional” I am not. So most likely you won’t be surprised or offended, but I just felt like I needed to lay that out there.

As we seek to free Jesus from the confines placed on him by institutional religion, there are some key principles we can embrace as foundational tenets of faith. One is regarding salvation.

Instead of being “saved from” something (usually referred to as the ‘fiery pits of hell’), what if we understand salvation as being saved “in” something. Jesus didn’t come to pluck us up out of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Rather, salvation is finding hope, peace, joy, and love IN those circumstances. That is salvation and it lies within all creation, we merely need to connect to it/accept it.

I have an illustration I wish to share with you, but before I do, I’d like to share an article about the research done by Johns Hopkins with the clergy study. Please take just a minute, click on the link below, and become familiar with the research. Tomorrow I’ll share the illustration.


At some point in our journey, we will all need to experience “salvation”. How beautiful it is to know that it is always present for us and truly, it is life-changing. Jesus is an amazing savior, but not in the punitive way religion has presented it all these years.