Remembering CCOA’s Colleague, Rev. Paul R. Smith. 1937-2024 

It seems that everyone who is a member of a family or other group, who lives in a particular place, is part of the same religion, attends the same event, or reads the same book has his or her own experience.

My experience, when reading Paul’s book, INTEGRAL CHRISTIANITY: THE SPIRIT’S CALL TO EVOLVE, was that of an enormous Ah-Ha! I found this Ah-Ha moment continued primarily throughout part one of his book. I enjoyed the rest of his writing, but it was part one that held me. It remains with me, years later.

It is in this section that Paul explains the various stages of spiritual development. He explained, “…our understanding and experience of God-develops in a series of unfolding levels.” He continued with the words, “The idea of development or evolution of spiritual understanding and experience is quite different from the traditional idea of ‘the faith once delivered to the saints.’ It recognizes that the Spirit continues to move us along as Jesus predicted.”1   After explaining this, Paul also admonished his readers to understand that while there are different understandings and behaviors within the stages, and to understand that while knowing about these stages can be useful, they are not intended to be used for judging where people are in their journey. He then provided a detailed explanation of each of the stages. Thus, my Ah-Ha! I was able to begin to understand some of my fellow, but very different thinking than me, Christians! Paul was invited to present at the 2013 CCOA Convocation, and he was a joy!

Paul wrote many articles and books, including, along with INTEGRAL CHRISTIANITY, IS YOUR GOD BIG ENOUGH? CLOSE ENOUGH? YOU ENOUGH” and IS IT OKAY TO CALL GOD MOTHER? He was the co-founder of Integral Christian Network2, and was and will be, loved by many. He was a blessing!   +Linda Rounds-Nichols

1 Smith, Paul R, Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve. 2011. – p.  4-5 and his reference John 16:12-13.

2 Paul’s teachings, as well as courses and groups are available on this site.