By Tom Ehrich

Walked 1.8 miles across Midtown Manhattan to my office. Checked email, planned my day, made coffee.

Time for some music. Opened web app Pandora, chose my favorite station. Oops. No sound. Tried another Pandora station. Nothing. Is Pandora down?

No problem. Switched to Spotify. Discovered quickly why I don't like Spotify.

How about Rdio.com? Opened an account, figured out how to use it, created a station, had music playing. All within two minutes.

This is the fresh paradigm for many things. Prices too high at D'Agostino Market? Buy coffee online. No lamp store nearby? Try Amazon. International Pen Company goes under? Walk to Sam Flax to buy a Lamy pen for my son.

Having choices isn't just about commerce. It's about faith, too. Can't find a stimulating church nearby in my denomination? Keep looking. Sunday worship becomes too routinized for me? Seek other expressions of faith.

Once you start exploring, there's no end to it. Tired of angry and judgmental religion? Find other voices. Weary of God being portrayed as obsessed about right-opinion? Find a fresh expression of God. Vexed by negative and controlling voices at church meetings? Stop attending those meetings.

My choices might not be your choices. The point is: we have choices. As much as any institution tries to make itself a fixture and absolute authority, the fact is God works in many ways.

My faith journey nowadays is about exploring those choices. I identify with the disciples who left everything they knew and then asked Jesus, "Now what?"

His answer: "Come and see."

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