May 26th, 2008
A Letter To Friends, Acquaintances, Etc.
If you are reading this it is because you are i) a friend, ii) an acquaintance or iii) your e-mail address ended up in our e-mail address book somehow. Some of you have received mailings from us in the past, though it has been a long time for many of you since you received anything from us. For all intents and purposes we have been on a self-imposed hiatus for the past couple of years.
If you received this and you have no clue as to who I am, accept my apologies. As I said, somehow your e-mail address ended up in my address book but we have no desire to spam anyone. Simply hit delete and do nothing else. You will automatically be removed from our mailing list in the next few days. If, however, you do want to receive e-mail articles etc. from us, then you MUST respond to this e-mail. The response need not be anything more than hitting reply and sending it back to us.
Was Your Web Site Hacked Into?
A couple of months ago I got an e-mail and subsequent phone call. The concerned party on the other end of the line asked me, “Was your web site hacked into?” I am sure the person asking the question was hoping that I would say yes. Although it was disappointing to them, I had to tell them “No, it wasn’t.” First, our web site isn’t important enough for anyone to waste their time hacking into it. Secondly and more important, the changes that are occurring to our web site, even as I write this, reflect some major changes Kelly (my wife) and I have experienced spiritually.
In the past I sent out articles and teachings by e-mail on a regular basis to many people locally and as far away as Australia. These were also posted on our web site. About 18-24 months ago, we went relatively silent. The e-mails and teachings diminished to virtually nothing. Over this time, Kelly and I have found ourselves caught in a huge spiritual transformation. Much has changed.
I realized the necessity of this e-mail when I recently ended up on a web site of someone who has been on our e-mail list and saw that they had included a link to our web site on their site. I realized that their “recommendation” of our site was based upon old information regarding past beliefs. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you line up, those beliefs have changed to a great degree. As such, I felt the need to contact you all in case any of you have links etc. to us. Not to sound too ominous but the changes are significant enough that some of you may want to remove any links to our site that you have on your web sites. We are emerging from our self-imposed period of silence and will be commencing once again to send out e-mails including articles etc. It is certainly possible that you would prefer to be deleted from our e-mail list so again, you don’t need to do a thing for that to happen.
I don’t want to turn this into a 10 page letter. Obviously you can visit the web site which is just getting back up and going and see for yourself what is on it. It is (our old web site). Currently there are only a handful of articles etc. on the site but if you read the About Doug page it will probably explain some of what I am trying to convey to you in this e-mail.
Many of you know that I spent some 20+ years in evangelical, fundamental Christianity and then about 5 years in the messianic movement. This covered a period from 1981 to 2006. Now I find myself for all intents and purposes out of both movements. Some have even wondered if I still consider myself a Christian. I suppose it depends how one defines a Christian. If it means, do I adhere to the ”orthodox” doctrinal positions espoused within fundamental Christianity and/or the messianic movement, the answer is no. If being a Christian means, am I trying to follow the teachings of Jesus/Yeshua then the answer would be yes. However my interpretation of Jesus’ teachings changed a great deal over the past few years resulting in my departure for all intents and purposes from fundamental Christianity and the messianic movement, where by the way, I thought I would remain for a long time, if not “forever.” Actually I was in Christianity “forever” and then I was in the messianic movement “forever” as well. If you think that last statement is illogical and even ridiculous, it will make more sense in a couple of paragraphs. That said, what I didn’t realize is that my understanding and interpretation of Jesus’ teachings would continue to change dramatically and now I find myself, practically speaking, out of both movements.
There are many reasons for these changes which I won’t get into (or this would turn into a book) but allow me to share two with you. Probably the biggest reason was something that I became convinced of back in 2000 but didn’t realize how it would continue to impact me and change my thinking and beliefs. About 8 years ago I became convinced through extensive Bible study (believe it or not) that the concept of eternal torment in a place called hell or the lake of fire was not a biblical truth. Nor do I think God is going to annihilate a huge portion of his creation. And yes I am very aware of the 50+ verses that mention hell in the King James Bible as well as the lake of fire mentioned in the Book of Revelation. However, I am also aware of many Bible translations which don’t mention hell at all. We are going to post a series of articles on this subject on our web site. If you are interested you can read the first one which is now available. It is called What The Hell Is Hell? and is available in our Articles section on our web site.
The second thing that happened was the following: I wrote two books a few years ago on The Sabbath and The Torah which were available for free on our web site. I removed them some months ago because they desperately needed to be re-written. I realized this while writing what was going to be Book 3 in the series. In Book 3, I was pointing out that the Hebrew and Greek words, olam and aion, that are often translated as eternal, everlasting and forever DO NOT mean what those words mean in English. Let me give you just two examples. In Jonah 2:5-6 we read in the King James Version:
“The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.”
Think about it --- if you were in a state “forever” as these verses say Jonah was, how can you be brought out of that state, which these verses say occurred? Simply put, you can’t, unless forever doesn’t mean forever.
Now consider the following verse, especially if you understand that Hebrew parallelisms abound in the Bible. A parallelism is a verse in which the same thing is said two different ways such as “thy Word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Consider this parallelism.
“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:” Deut. 23:3
So which is it? Are Moabites and Ammonites barred from the congregation of the Lord for A) 10 generations or B) “forever?” The correct answer is “C - BOTH” because forever doesn’t mean forever. When it comes to referring to time, olam and aion simply mean a period of time, often lengthy but not necessarily so. As you can see from these two examples, forever can mean 3 days and 3 nights as in the case of Jonah or 10 generations in the case of the Moabites and Ammonites. And to confuse things even more, I would suggest to you that actual root word of olam hasn’t anything to do with literal time at all. More on this later.
The more I contemplated what olam and aion truly meant, the more I realized that some of my arguments in the first two books were severely flawed so I pulled both books. Now before I get any e-mails from fundamental Christians telling me “I told you so,” I am convinced now more than ever that fundamental Christianity is severely flawed when it comes to many of its core tenets. However, I have also come to the conclusion that the messianic movement is just as fundamental and just as flawed. (And yes I can appreciate how arrogant that may sound. It isn’t meant to be however. It is simply an opinion.)
Over the past couple of years, Kelly and I have been on a journey exploring other options and teachings. From a “Christian” perspective, we are a lot more in tune with what could be called Christian mysticism. We have for all intents and purposes dropped our “exclusivity” when it comes to salvation so if you ask me who makes it to heaven and who goes to hell, a question that I obviously don’t like very much and think is totally unbiblical, I will tell you that God is not willing that any should perish and in the end, His “will” will be done so no one will perish. (By the way, “perish” doesn’t have anything to do with going to hell etc. No one will spend eternity in hell, an invention of those seeking to maintain their power and authority and in so doing, control the masses.)
If you ask me if Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him, I will say absolutely but you and I probably have very different views of what that means.
If you ask me if Jesus died for us, again I will say absolutely but again we probably have different views of what that means.
If you ask me if Jesus is the only way to the Father, again I would say yes and then I would turn right around and say that many Buddhists, New-Agers, Toltecs, Hindus etc. are fulfilling and experiencing the reality of what that means, often to a greater degree than many Christians even though they don’t see Jesus in the same way as fundamental Christians or Messianics would or even acknowledge Jesus.
For Kelly and I, and others around us, our concept of God, Jesus and spirituality has went through some major changes. We aren't that naive to think that some will not label us as deceived, false teachers and so on. I understand if you do and I will not be offended in the least. Let’s be honest, I would have said the same thing about me a few years ago. However for Kelly and I, we have come to a very simple place spiritually where our “doctrinal statement” (something by the way which I have come to dislike enormously) would consist of five words “Love God and Love Others.”
Let me finish with a statement that should earn me the “heretical medal” in an instant --- I would suggest to you that the commandment not to take the name of the Lord in vain is violated to the great degree unwittingly by Christian, Messianic and Islamic fundamental doctrine that advocates the eternal punishment of non-believers in some place called hell or the lake of fire. I won't get into detail about this in this article but we will be posting several articles, etc. explaining all of this on our internet site. If you want to read these articles, you can check out the web site or stay on the e-mail list and I will send it out. Of course, by now you may think I have gone mad, or off the deep end as one person put it.
I have a thousand other things that I would like to say but they will have to wait. I am sure I have said far too much already for some of you. Perhaps I have managed to do nothing more than confuse you. If you have managed to get to the end of this e-mail, thank you for your willingness to take the time to read this. As I said at the beginning, if you don’t want to receive anything more from us, you don’t need to do a thing. In the next few days, you will be removed from our e-mail mailing list and in the meantime, nothing will be sent to you. If you want to hang around and hear more about our journey, just hit reply and send this back to us. If needed, our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org . If you have any questions and/or comments, feel free to send them as well and you can always visit our web site at www.dougtrudell.com (updated).
As I said earlier the About Doug page on our web site will definitely explain some of the things in this letter.
Kelly and I truly wish you nothing but God’s best as your journey through this life. We pray that you will experience God in greater depth and intimacy and you truly will be an expression and manifestation of Him/Her/It. May we all press forward so that the words of Jesus are true for us as well “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”
One last reminder - remember, if don't want to receive anything else from us, you don't have to do anything but if you do want to remain on the mailing list, send us a reply.
Blessings, shalom and namaste
Blessings, shalom, namaste