How do we really look at honestly, spiritual traditions from across the world, and throughout history?
Peace family. It's Christina. And I wanted to make this video really just to introduce myself and explain kind of where I'm coming from where I came from and what liveology is all about why I've been doing this.
So my name is Christina Mills (Live Victoriously), I am originally from California. I grew up there, and went to the University of Southern California proud Trojan, and ended up moving to Atlanta when I was 21. Right after college, my mom moved too, both my parents actually ended up being here for some time. And so I just kind of spent this whole time in Atlanta.
Immediately when I moved to Atlanta, I, you know, got my first job, but then I went to seminary, so I grew up Christian. My mom is a pastor, my great grandmother was a pastor, a couple of my aunts, and cousins who are female are also pastors or ministers with music or all of that. So that's kind of my background, a lot of my family's Pentecostal. But my mom was always very open minded. So she was a pastor in the United Church of Christ. So if you know anything about that, like they were very progressive, and so she was always on the front edge of like social justice issues. She was the pastor who was like with the megaphone, like meeting marches and stuff. So that was kind of how I grew up. And then at church, you know, when she had her own church, we would do stuff like, you know, food, pantry, and like, feeding the homeless and stuff like that. So like, that was my like, young childhood. So my mom ended up becoming like a bishop level, I guess you would call it. And I ended up going to like Catholic High School, all of that. So when I got older, I always had a relationship with God, I was baptized at 13. I always felt like I was a Christian. But my mom always exposed me from the time I was a kid, to all different kinds of spirit, spiritual tech.
I remember in high school, she wanted to make sure that I saw the last books of the Bible, she was like, "Hey, check this out."
And I was like, "Oh, my God, like, why would you show me this is so blasphemous," you know this was high school, but my mom wanted me to know, like, you know, this is the official, Christian, this is what we have to say. And then like, there's so much other information out there.
She's like, "Why don't you just know that and just explore."
And so I love that. Like, she always had encyclopedias, and just all kinds of information for me to consume from all types of spiritual traditions. So like, from Buddhist traditions, she put me in yoga when I was in high school when I was 16. I took my first yoga class, really, because my mom was like, you could use this and she just put me in there. And I loved it.
And so at seminary, it was interesting, because they exposed me to even more stuff like you would think that when you go to seminary, I went to two different seminaries. First, I went to a Presbyterian seminary, and they were very Presbyterian. But then I went to another seminary in Atlanta, which is called the Interdenominational Theological center that has a lot of different denominations. It's a black school, and I mean, you have like Baptist, Methodist, all different stuff. And so that was cool. And that was my first time really being at an HBCU. So that was cool. And the crazy thing about ITC was that they really fucked it up for me, like my mom's like, you know, you really need to work on your language, okay, but like, they really fucked it up for me, because they started explaining African indigenous religions. They started explaining Islam and some of the other practices that black people really used to practice. Before they came to the United States. They started explaining pretty much all that stuff, Buddhism and like, they were like, This is the history of religion across the world. And I was like, "Huh." It was like too much information. And so, up until then, I would have literally called myself like a Bible thumper. Like I was like, literally, I have my Bible right here. And I was like, you know, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and I and I love Jesus. Still, I love Jesus. I love him so much. But, you know, it really got me to a point where I was like, I don't think I can preach because I don't believe that. This is all that there is. That's the best way I could explain it. I didn't believe that. This is all there is.
So I was like, okay, cool. Jesus. You know, I do believe Jesus is the Messiah. I feel like there's some type of relationship here. Definitely. When I would worship, I would feel something when I would pray, I would feel something so that felt real. But something about the church environment and especially starting to preach and being a young, female, young, single female, I just felt like I was having In too many experiences where I was like, This is fucked up, like, I don't like the church itself.
And so I just left and I ended up pursuing politics. And so this is when those of you who have known me for some time in Atlanta, saw me get involved in politics and work on campaigns and all kinds of stuff. Because I was like, you know, social justice oriented, I was like, I just want to do something to save the world, you know, improve the world. And so, I was like, I don't know if the church is really hidden for me. But I was like, I know that if I'm in a political sphere, I can really make a meaningful difference, like an actionable difference, like I can help get this person elected, who I think really, you know, has the values that I care about. And so that's really what I focused on. And, and that was cool. And it kind of evolved into having, like, you know, like, I got a regular job at some point, all of that.
During the time that I was in seminary, I had this idea for Liveology, and I was working on a new church start. This is kind of toward the end of my churchy thing. I was working on a new church start with a friend. And, you know, we were trying to figure out, if you could do anything, what would it be? So the name Liveology came to me. And when it first came to me, it was a coffee house ministry. That's what it was, I had written it down, I have so much documents from Liveology, what it initially was from, like 2014, or before actually probably before that, because I started in campaigns in 2014. So it was probably like, maybe 2012, maybe 2013, something like that, was when I first came up with it. And the vision was to have a place like a watering hole, the coffee shop was really like, let's say you have a nonprofit, it would support itself through selling coffee. You don't have to take donations because you have people buying a product that we'd offer. And then it would be like a watering hole where people could come of different faiths, and just talk about God talk about spiritual things.
So for those of you who saw me get the studio, that was really the vibe that I wanted, even though I didn't quite have the means to totally to execute it in that way. That's kind of what I envisioned. How do we really look at honestly, spiritual traditions from across the world, and throughout history? And, you know, everyone is going to have their lens. And that's cool. So, why don't we just put it all together so that people who are of this faith, and that faith or this belief, and that belief, can like really be together as opposed to like a place where it's like – this is a Christian place, or, this is a Buddhist place. When you go to those places, you're gonna get that.
And if you go to a Christian place, you're like, "I want to talk about meditation. And I learned so much about from the Buddha about this and this," you know, at least in my experience, that's just my experience. I grew up in the church man, they will shut that shit down.
They'll be like, "No. You need to pray to Jesus, you need to Jesus."
And then if you go to a Buddhist place, and you're like, "I think there's really something to this, but I do feel like there really is a God," because most in Buddhist traditions, they don't really consider like, God that you would worship. So if you had a Buddhist place, and you're like, "Hey, you know, I'm really getting a lot about a lot out of this meditation, but I feel like there's something more that I need in my heart."
Then they would be like, "Well, that doesn't exist," and so that's it. And so I'm like, having been in so many of these different places. I'm like, if I go here, they're like, this is the truth. You go here to like, this is the truth. You're like, go here, they're like, this is the truth. And you're like, okay, but like, you all think this is the truth? How do we get all of this information together? How do we get all of these people together, and just have honest conversations.
Having been like in the robes preaching, and left that and done yoga, all kinds of stuff, I just feel like a lot of people are scared of like, hard religion and scared of the church. So someone like me, like, I thrive on that, like, I went to, like I said, I went to seminary, I learned Greek and Hebrew, so that I could read the Bible. And so it's not I'm not an expert level, but I mean, I can look at it and pronounce it, you know, and I can recognize some words and things like that. So, but it was really so that I would be able to look at the text and understand because that's something that I care about so much. I realized not everyone cares so much, you know, but like for me, I want to know what this really says. If I open this up, it says, you know, in English, this and this and this. I want to know what it says in the original. Who, who translated this? What was their opinion? People always put their opinion and stuff.
And so I ended up putting together liveology.org and the magazine, because I was trying to put that kind of online. So like, literally if you look at this point, it has stuff from the Bible. It has stuff from the Buddha, it has stuff from Quran, it has stuff from Hinduism, it has stuff from Jainism, Zoroastrianism, straight Judaism. It's a physical representation of my mind, and the things I've really been reading and exploring and trying to put them all together, and then trying to draw parallels between them. So like, if you look up someone like Abraham, my goal is to you know, I learned about Abraham, in the Bible. Abraham is someone who is considered to be a very important figure in many different traditions. And so my goal with Liveology, would be like, if you see the posts on Abraham, then you would see other information besides just the Bible, you would see a lot of different places where he comes up. And I just think that's helpful for people, you know. Or even for example, if you talk about Mary, the mother of Jesus, it would have information from the actual canon of the Bible like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that we know about. But then you'll also have stuff that's not in the official canon of the Bible, such as, you know, the Gospel of Mary from the Nag Hammadi texts, which would be considered to be Gnostic texts, which the traditional canon does not recognize.
And so for me, it's really just a matter of putting all this information together so that other people can explore the same things I've been exploring, and really come to your own conclusion about it, you know, so I'm not trying to push any particular conclusion, because I think it's just so fascinating the journey of looking at it all. And I feel like there are kind of too few places where you can just look at a lot of different texts, like I literally have, for example, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, in its entirety. I have the book of Revelation in its entirety, you know, so it's like, things that people from both of those traditions might say don't go together, I think it's helpful for them to be next to each other so that we can just really look at everything for what it is. That's just been helpful for me. And so that's kind of why I do this and why I made Liveology, the way it is, why I make these videos, and I just kind of wanted you guys to know where I'm coming from. And it's really coming from a place of my own seeking and really trying to explore spiritual traditions from across the world and see what is there and ultimately, it's the quest for me for ultimate what I would call Ultimate Reality.
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Peace & Pineapples!