Walking Backwards Down the Stairs

Some would say I am in a ‘crisis’, and they may be right. It’s not a faith crisis, or a theology crisis, I would say that it’s more of a ‘process’ or ‘what-it-means-to-become-a-Christian’ crisis. I think of how and why we ‘win converts’ to Jesus…and why so many give up, or just never get started.

I look at the 12 steps that addicts walk through, and seriously, I think I need to see myself as an addict. Addicted to self, which of course means addicted to sin. I’ve changed the wording of the 12 steps to fit those on the life-long pilgrimage following Jesus. The more I read these, the more sense they make then telling someone they’re going to hell and they better hurry up and say the sinners prayer.  What do you think?

  1.  We admitted that we were powerless over sin / self – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Jesus Christ (God).
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to sinners, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I’ve missed a few steps along the way…some entirely. And I know many in my stream of Christianity have done the same. I’m not surprised that so many give up or throw in the towel.  To me it feels exactly like Larry Norman describes in his song Walking Backwards Down the Stairs.  I first heard this song over 35 years ago. He was right.

Walking backwards down the stairs
trying to get higher
how can I get anywhere
walking backwards down the stairs

watching life elude me
slipping through my grasp
oh I know the truth at last
but to reach the top I’ve
got to stop from

walking backwards down the stairs
trying to get higher
how can i get anywhere
walking backwards down the stairs

people stop to watch me
wonder what I’m doing
what direction I’m pursuing
I pretend I’m free
but actually I’m

walking backwards down the stairs
trying to get higher
how can I get anywhere
walking backwards down the stairs

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