R. Drexel Rayford, Ph.D.
Walnut Grove Baptist Church
Mechanicsville, VA 23116
I was asked once by a church member to run a 10k race with him. He knew I was a cyclist, so when I told him I hadn’t trained to run a 10k race, he pointed out that while my leg muscles might be strained, I at least had the arobics for the challenge. I demurred and he challenged and we went through this cycle about three times until my macho ego finally won out and I agreed to run. Besides, my friend was about 10 years older than I which gave me a smug expectation that I would at least beat his time.
I finished the race – barely. It was pure torture, and my friend, despite my advantage of relative youth, finished well ahead of me. He awaited my stumbling arrival at the finish line clapping his hands and laughing that “the old guy” had finally made it. My bicycle riding muscles had simply not been sufficient to the demands of running. Those muscles were still rather weak and unaccustomed to the stress suddenly imposed on them. They quickly gave up what strength they had. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, really. Quite obviously, I had not trained for the event.
As I go about my pastoral ministry, I often see the spiritual equivalent of my attempt to run a 10k race without training. Not long ago, I visited a woman facing her last days. She has struggled with a cruel disease since she was a little girl and now that she has grown older, complications from that disease will end her life. A profound feeling of injustice permeates her reflections and as we discussed how to come to terms with her situation she said, “My Sunday School faith is unequal to this spiritual challenge.” She finds herself required to “run a race” for which she professes she has had little training.
In this book that Richard Southworth has crafted for us you will find the kind of training which will help you develop deeper spiritual strength and take you beyond your Sunday School faith. In fact, it’s my firm belief that when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians and said that becoming an adult required him to put childish ways behind, and when he urged the Roman Christians to “be transformed by the renewing of their minds,” he was talking about the ancient methodology Richard makes available to the reader of these pages.
If you are someone who wants more than hear-say religion, or who has questions which “churchianity” has never even addressed, or feels a thirst that no doctrine or confessions could quench, undertake the process described here. I think a discovery of your True Self awaits. And, in the words of Thomas Merton, “when you find your True Self, you find God.”
Excerpted from Southworth, Richard N., Choosing Authenticity: Religion Is Not Enough, (Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, 2011), p. xvi.