About 369 Renew
369Renew is a Declaration of Independence from naively accepting as truth, what was discouraged in my life to question and explore. When we learn something new, we can’t help but readjust our thinking, our motives, our actions.
When I began to question my relationships, my beliefs, my purpose, I found untold riches in historical facts, alternative thoughts, and a sense of freedom and well being I had never experienced. I discovered I could learn, unlearn and relearn which is a tremendous hope for any who desire a more fulfilling life than previously thought possible.
To be free of labels, myths, legends, and past proclamations for my life created peace, love, and a desire for others to know it’s okay to question, to doubt, to examine, and be surprised at what life has to offer.
When I began to ask questions, research answers to love, relationships, and faith, people started to say, “It’s great to see you so happy!” I didn’t know I wasn’t, but apparently I couldn’t hide an inner struggle with guilt, remorse, and shaking free of the doubts that continually nagged and shadowed my existence.
With others reading Thinking Out Loud, the response has been overwhelming with, “I have felt that way!” Or “You have to keep writing. People get it!” I remembered a line from the Mark Helprin novel In Sunlight and in Shadow, “Everything we do will echo.”
Everything we do will echo. It multiplies. It grows. It renews not only itself but influences everything around it to grow and expand in ways never imagined. With this encouragement, we began 369Renew.com
369 means it multiplies. Renew means to be made new again. And again. And again. It’s the difference between an oak tree and a telephone pole. The oak tree grows year after year, taller and taller, ever expanding its branches and seedlings, providing ever greater shade and protection.
A telephone pole is stuck in a hole. It goes up, goes no further, and spends its existence without growth, expansion or life. It’s not alive. It’s just there, waiting to fall over or be replaced by another pole.
Are you an oak tree or a telephone pole? I felt like a telephone pole for many decades. I was instructed from childhood not to ask questions, do as you’re told, do not have wrong thoughts, and do not make bad decisions. Follow along, keep your mouth shut, and don’t embarrass those who raised you.
Then one day, I asked a question. And then another. And then another. New discoveries lead to more questions, more answers that made more sense, which lead to even more questions, deeper examinations, which ultimately resulted in healthier decisions and more fulfilling relationships.
I wrote the back cover quote to Thinking Out Loud:
Question everything. Follow the evidence.
Always remember – you could be wrong!
It is our human responsibility to ask questions! Who am I? Why do I think the way I do? Why do I believe what I believe? How is my past connected to who I am today? Question everything you can about love, relationships, belief, purpose, and parenting.
And if the answers are unsatisfactory or are not a product of examination and thoughtful investigation, keep asking and asking and asking. The journey is to ask and discover – not to cave to blind belief, falling into a foggy haze of intellectual coma.
My job at 369Renew.com is to facilitate a conversation, not convince you of a position.
There are barriers to real dialog, however, and each are a stumbling block to discovery.
Fear. Most fear comes from the disagreement of a premise and continues to surmise that all is wrong and must be stopped. If it is not stopped, it could threaten the foundation of all they believe to be true. Fear makes telephone poles of us all!
Feelings of being attacked or offended. When someone feels attached or offended by a question, it means someone is operating from a place of fear. What are they afraid of that something can’t be discussed, examined and authenticated? Always remember, what you cannot talk about controls you.
Not asking questions to understand, but only confer a predisposition. If you want to know me, get inside my head. If I want to know you, I’m going to ask you questions. Asking questions is the path to understanding and leads to asking “why and why not? Who am I apart from what I’ve been told I am? And Why do I think the way I do?”
Leo Rosten said, “Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined.”
Martin Luther took an extraordinary step of courage by nailing his convictions to the door of the very authority he was questioning. There was a real possibility for retaliation and backlash for questioning what had been accepted for centuries as true. I was told by a friend, upon reading Thinking Out Loud, “You know there will be those who will use this from the pulpit and declare your destination as hell. Very gutsy, my man. I don’t think I could do it.”
I am not Martin Luther, but I am nailing my questions to the door. I have learned much. I hope to learn much more as we journey together, multiplying together, renewing together. And yes, I have already received an 8 page letter from one fundamentalist reader outlining why I’m going to hell for having human thoughts, human doubts, human emotions, and yes, human questions.
369Renew. I wish to be an oak tree, not a telephone pole.
Kindness, generosity and love move soul to soul.
Only what we withhold is lost forever.
Stephen Philip Walrath