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    • Nancy Detweiler
    • Bio – Nancy B. DetweilerAs a child, I questioned the dichotomy of a God of Love and a God who punishes for eternity in a hell of fire and brimstone. As my mother liked to say, my family attended church every time the doors opened, so I heard a lot about both characteristics of the God we worshipped. Finally, at age 14, I decided that the only thing I could do was to volunteer to be a missionary and attempt to warn people about this unpredictable God before it was too late.Is this really the message the church wants to teach a young person?Anyway, I earned my B.A. in Social Studies/Education at Wake Forest University and worked as a Social Worker for four years. In 1965, I entered the M.Div. program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. While there, my pastoral care internship was at Dix Mental Hospital in Raleigh, N.C. I became very interested in rehabilitation counseling and dropped out of seminary at the end of my second year. During a counseling session with the representative from the Foreign Mission Board, I realized that I did not have to go to the Foreign Mission field even though I was pretty far along in the appointment process. I had also become interested in the Episcopal Church-the “high church” worship service with its glorious music and communion every Sunday. I especially liked not hearing about hellfire and brimstone and not having to worry over all those people going to hell.During my 11 years career as a rehabilitation counselor, I traveled to Honduras to adopt a girl, 10 years of age, whose mother had died when Julia was age six. Missionary friends assisted. Before the little girl and I returned to the States, our friends took us over much of Honduras so Julia could know more about her country before she left it. We witnessed first hand the work of missionaries in a third world country. I returned home with a deep appreciation for their work. Julia and I returned to Honduras to visit our friends and her family two more times before she was old enough to visit on her own. On each trip, we met more missionaries and saw more of the marvelous work being done.Julia and I made history in Winston-Salem, N.C. In 1970, I was one of the first single women to adopt a child. A single man shared our glory by adopting a son. We made the Community News Section's front page with an article and photos that created much interest in single people adopting children. This beautiful little girl, who had the courage to leave her family and country and travel with a stranger to the states, is now a research librarian/trainer for World Bank. She recently returned from a training mission to South and Central America. God works in wondrous ways!As a single mother and while working fulltime, I earned my M.Ed. in Counseling Education at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Meanwhile, my questions about life continued to urge me on-seeking answers that made sense and that explained life as I was experiencing it. This search led me into what is now a forty years journey in the field of metaphysics.At one point, Julia and I dropped out of church. I was not finding the answers I needed in church and Julia was complaining about hearing the same thing Sunday after Sunday. This brilliant young girl had been an acolyte and member of an excellent youth choir. Still, she was not finding the spiritual stimulation she wanted. (Julia is now a very devoted Catholic.)I joined an extremely active metaphysical community in Winston-Salem. The level of excitement within this community was astounding. We read books, shared our newfound knowledge with each other, meditated together, formed healing meditation groups, taught classes, and held workshops at regional and national conferences. We helped each other grow spiritually by honestly evaluating the progress evidenced. Talk about addictive! … finding the answers to life's questions within a caring, exciting community is addictive.Why don't churches know that? Hopefully, the Center for Progressive Christianity serves as an avenue through which many churches will find the freedom to become exciting, innovative spiritual seekers!During the time Julia was in Ecuador with the Peace Corps, I discovered the Disciples of Christ Church. A woman was the Associate Minister! I could hardly believe my eyes! I joined and became very active. I even got to preach on several occasions. In the early 1980s, a woman in the pulpit was still an event to remember. Much to my dismay, I could not be ordained until I completed seminary. I continued in my private practice as a holistic counselor and teaching spiritual metaphysical classes, including Bible Metaphysics-interpreting the Bible metaphysically.In 1984, I began the heartrending process of leaving my beloved metaphysical community in Winston-Salem and moving to Richmond, Virginia. It took moving to Richmond three times before I managed to stay in 1986. Julia was then in graduate school in Washington, D.C. and some of my family lived in Richmond. I soon found another Disciples of Christ church, where I met my husband. Again, God was working in wondrous ways, but I sure had a difficult time allowing His way in my life. I look back and shudder at how close I came to not moving to Richmond.My friends laughed and said John and I had more fun in three years than they had their entire marriage. We traveled to the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and to many states in the U.S. John died suddenly of a heart attack following brain surgery for a malignant tumor. We had been married 3 years and 2 months.In 1995, I completed the four years M.Div. program at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, during which I returned to the Middle East for another three weeks. This program included a year's internship as a licensed solo minister of a Disciples of Christ church with 234 members. Although I love many aspects of ministering to a church, I knew I could not bear the lack of freedom to explore and share in my search for Truth. I was approved for ordination, but I could not give up my freedom. I declined ordination within a mainstream church.Once more I opened my own private practice … this time as Bridging the Gap Ministries. After self-publishing my first book, “A New Age Christian: My Spiritual Journey,” I created an internet ministry. I was ordained in the Order of Melchizedek in 1996, where I had to promise only to serve God. Through my website, Bridging the Gap Ministries, I provided an internet church for those around the world who had no access to a church. As a result, I was in communication with people in Africa, Russia, and India, as well as elsewhere. During this time, I wrote my second book, “Where Are You, God? A Metaphysical Interpretation of the Biblical Book of Job.” This book is posted on my present website for free download: I was also ordained in 2000 by the Federation of Independent Unity Churches (now World Federation of Practical Christianity). New Thought plays a major role in my search for Truth: Charles Fillmore, Edgar Cayce, Ernest Holmes, and the Theosophical Society.After working on two 2004 presidential campaigns, I created my Pathway to Ascension website. My 3rd book is a genealogical study, “The Caudles of Anson County, N.C.”Finding the Center for Progressive Christianity and Crossleft Blog was certainly a pleasant surprise. Is there really a place where Christians (I prefer the term Christ-centered) can explore together and be at peace! Can we really step outside the orthodox box and consider all facets of God's creation without feeling threatened? Can we study the ancient texts that are being discovered with an open mind to expanding our understanding of God and All That Is?If so, Truth will set us free and an exciting journey awaits us!

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