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Jim Palmer’s Journey
A Rising Star in the World of Mega Churches Crashes to Earth and Discovers That’s Where God Has Been All Along Divine Nobodies

Depending on your religious leanings and geographic location, you may or may not have heard the name Jim Palmer. It's almost certain, however, that you won’t recognize any of the other individuals in Palmer’s just published spiritual memoir Divine Nobodies.

The book chronicles the last few years in Palmer’s life, after the breakup of his marriage and during a spiritual crisis that left him with nothing but the chance to start anew. After his wife left, Palmer resigned from the church he had founded, began working odd jobs and stared in the face of failure and hurt so deep that years of “righteous living” ultimately could not erase the pain.

Jim Palmer quit trying to earn God’s approval and became a nobody. By listening to the nobodies that surrounded him every day he learned that God loved him no matter what he did—or didn’t do.

In the interview that follows Jim Palmer reflects on his journey from the top to the bottom, and how it was there, with all the ordinary folk, that he found the most profound understanding of what it means to be human.

Below you will find highlights from the explorefaith interview with Jim Palmer where he talks about his book, his faith and his journey.

Read the complete interview.

You have written a book titled Divine Nobodies. What makes someone a Divine Nobody?

You never know whom God will send across your path to awaken you to the truth that changes everything. The answers to the most important questions reside inside us, but sometimes we need a little help discovering them for ourselves. We are all students and teachers. Some of my teachers who helped unplug my ears and open my eyes to God were smeared in axle grease or sporting body piercings and tattoos. Conditioned to expect God in church buildings and worship services, I never figured on running into him at Waffle House. More…

Isn’t the goal to become a “somebody”?

One of the consuming goals of the false self, convinced of its separation from God and blinded to its true identity, is achieving “somebody” status. This is the game of distinguishing oneself over others based on a common human consciousness of “success.” Power, wealth, accomplishment, position, fame, intellect, special gifts, and physical beauty are all accepted indicators of being a “somebody.” …

Jesus said, “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Until we die to our false self, our real self cannot be born into our human experience and tragically lays dormant within us. …

My journey backward started by internalizing grace. I discovered God’s love and acceptance of me was not contingent upon my doing. Up to that point, despite my scholarly understanding of God’s “unmerited favor,” I still more or less upheld a checklist of do’s and don’ts, chasing a “phantom Christian” I imagined would finally please God and secure his blessing. Until I understood I literally could not do anything for God to achieve worth and value in his eyes, I would not stop trying. I could go no further with God until I abandoned the path of striving for God’s favor. More…

You say, “I realized that my Christianity was essentially a glorified behavior modification program safely rationalized beneath a waving WWJD? banner.” How would you describe a more authentic Christianity?

I dumbed-down God’s intentions for me as little more than a self-help and behavior modification program, with a ticket punched to heaven when I die. Had God not stepped in through those divine nobodies, I might well have gone to the grave having missed much of what God wants to give. The word “relationship” comes to mind when I think of Christianity— relationship with God, relationship with one another, relationship with the world. More…

What did you learn about God through Hip Hop?

Turns out in the end, the main thing God asks of us on the road to wholeness is the truth. The idea we can “clean up our act” through our own will power is an illusion, and the only hope of ever being whole is to receive the life of God. It’s clear from the “hot/cold” scripture from Revelations that the video [that is] grieving God is not categorically the hip-hop one, but the one where we come to church masking our brokenness, out of touch with the truth about ourselves, while pointing the finger of condemnation at others. Honestly, I’m messed up in plenty of ways enough myself and figure I’ve got a ways to go before I feel confident enough to start tossing stones. More…

How did Christianity come to be understood as a religion more concerned with morality than relationship?

I think some Christians become especially focused on morality and sin management out of an inadequate view of the holiness of God and sin. I don’t believe God is repulsed by our human flaws or views us through eyes of disgust, as if we need to “clean up our act” to be acceptable to him. God is perfect and complete within himself in every way (perfect love, goodness, freedom, beauty, wisdom) and desires all people to share in his life of perfection. Seeking life independently of God will always result in falling short of the perfect peace, fulfillment, freedom and wholeness God wants us to experience in him. “Sin” is anything less than the perfection of God, and God’s motive for “hating sin” is love. In God’s eyes, achieving higher levels of “good” behavior is not the end game, eliminating every barrier, which hinders our receiving his divine life is. More…

Do you think God cares about how we act and what we do?

I believe we need to recover a spirituality of being, because the matter of who we are always precedes what we do. We are either acting and doing out of a false identity and therefore perpetuating a world of brokenness, or we are acting and doing out of our true self and giving birth to God’s kingdom. Jesus once said he only did and spoke what he saw his Father doing and speaking. I believe Christ wants us to share in this same oneness with God. I believe it is possible to think with the mind of Christ, see with his eyes, feel with his emotions, and act with his will. When we are spiritually whole, our words and actions in this world are the expressions of God himself among us. More…

You had a very painful childhood. How have you been able to move past that trauma?

For many years I was a grown up man with this little kid inside convinced he was stupid, worthless, and ugly. I can still vividly remember the first time I experienced God looking directly into the eyes of that little boy and telling him he was loved. What seems to be making me whole is knowing that God loves and accepts me just the same whether I’m living in the freedom he provides or I’m too depressed to get out of bed. My prayer for any person who has suffered from an abusive past of any kind, is that they will see themselves through God eyes and rest in his love. More…

What compels the people in your book to act with such love and compassion towards others?

The people who selflessly and sacrificially love others unconditionally and indiscriminately are simply being who they really are in Christ. Thinking about some of the divine nobodies I allude to in the book, there wasn’t anything particularly unique about them that explains how extraordinary they were in their love. Most of them were simply the guy next-door types or the gal ringing your groceries up at the register. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” These people were simply willing to humbly open their hearts to receive what God wants to give. And what God gives can’t be fully contained within us and naturally spills out on others. Maybe the world needs a few more spills before its eyes are open to the source. More…

Read the complete interview.

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Divine Nobodies
To purchase a copy of DIVINE NOBODIES, visit amazon.com. This link is provided as a service to explorefaith visitors and registered users. To learn more about Jim Palmer, visit divinenobodies.com.


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