“At their most mature levels, religions have a common goal: union with all beings and with God. Unfortunately, many religions and Christian denominations have over-emphasized differences and claimed that their particular brand is superior to others. Jesus didn’t come to start another religion but to reveal God’s presence in all of us. The Christian name for the universal incarnation is Christ, but it is known by innumerable other names.” cac.org – Richard Rohr
“….it is known by innumerable other names.”
I also believe that Jesus did not appear in 1st century Nazareth to start a religion called Christianity. The church fathers in the 3rd and 4th centuries did that in pursuit of theological and political power. They approved or disapproved the writings to be included in their Bible and severely persecuted those mystics and wisdom writers who disagreed. Mysticism, however, did persist with Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226, being the salient, well-known proponent. His followers were the beginnings of today’s Franciscan brotherhood.
“A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . .” cac.org – Richard Rohr
Following the above suggestion is a lofty goal of enlightened spirituality – I fail miserably on many fronts. But, as with all goals, perfection is not the destiny; progress is. Especially, today’s political and social climate can lead me astray in a heartbeat. I want to rant, I want to berate, I want to wander off into profanity and name-calling when I read the day’s headlines or listen to media news programs. After all, that is just human, isn’t it? But, then remembering what Jesus endured and suffered as a human, what authorities of religion and government inflicted on him, I am forced to accept that this life’s suffering is the price to pay for spiritual enlightenment. None of us, not one, will reach the other side unscathed.
“If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does.” cac.org – Richard Rohr
Not an easy task, but we must start somewhere if we expect our species to survive.