namaste

A friend recently observed that we (those of us who do not fit the WASP heterosexual mindset) have suffered tremendous oppression and discrimination at the hands of “believers” who profess the creeds and tenets of Christianity.  Historical accounts of this abuse can easily be googled and verified.  The legislation passed following the “rights” movements culminating in the equal marriage rights amendment under President Obama’s administration gave all enlightened people a glimmer of hope that such discrimination had been swept away forever in America.  Unfortunately, with Trump’s election and the advance of fundamentalist, evangelical Christians in the political scene, this celebration of social advancement was short-lived.

I personally have extreme difficulty reconciling my belief system, which is based on Judeo-Christian ethics, to what the politically vocal minority of Christian believers led by a cadre of so-called American spiritual leaders is foisting upon America “in the name of Jesus” and within their concept of God.  Where are the men and women of faith who are tolerantly, inclusively driven by compassion and love for all of creation?  Why are they not speaking out in defense of the Christianity which speaks for me?

Whenever I reference scriptural verses to support a viewpoint invariably someone will dispute my interpretation of those verses as not “proper within the framework……blah, blah, blah.”  Screw your framework.  The Spirit dwelling within me is as valid and as real as your theologically correct, fundamentally sound, and hypocritically driven gibberish.  I trust that spirit which drives me while many of you are still searching for the right gear to engage.  Let’s begin a dialog which tells the truth and invites unbelievers to join in the conversation.  That is how our faith can become a beacon for the lost and hurting.  It’s time to give up the proselytizing and simply join all of mankind regardless of race, creed, sex, and orientation in creating a better world.

One of my favorite writers, Ethan Walker the 3rd, opens his book THE MYSTIC CHRIST with the following words:

“And what is wisdom?  Wisdom is knowing that we are all one.  Love is what it feels like, and Compassion is what it acts like.”

From 1 Corinthians 13:2 in the NIV we are advised:

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

There are several thoughts I can share with my friend who is as challenged as I am by what is being passed off as Christianity.  First of all, no man has a free pass to heaven.  The doctrines he supports, the creeds he professes,  the name he chooses for his god will get that man nowhere if he doesn’t trust in the truth of wisdom, love, and compassion.  Furthermore, as a non-believer, my friend should never be intimidated with the threat of eternal damnation because the bottom line is that any theology whether it is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu is nothing more than a philosophy born out of man’s need to express spirituality.

 

 

without Love

Those of us who participate in the Lutheran tradition of Christianity are familiar with the writings of Paul of Tarsus.  Scholars agree that 1 Corinthians, a letter which many theologians use to document the moralistic demands of Biblical scripture, is of Pauline authorship .  Then, as today, morals applied to the individual lifestyle simply did not apply to corporate or government authority.  For example, “Thou shalt not covet” is fine for you and me personally but is irrelevant in government, business conduct, and world affairs.  However, when we surrender the assumed authority of “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” and “American nationalism” to the greater authority of a spiritual governance, then we become an integral part of that entity and we are required by that particular collective conscience to abide by “commandments”.

If we look at Paul’s obvious denial of self in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “without love I am nothing”, and through the eyes of the mystic Paul translate this verse to convey the realization of “ego” death and subsequent spiritual resurrection such as that described by the author on the road to Damascus, can we see that the “saved” Paul was equating Love and Jesus the Christ to being identical entities?  Love was not an adoration or emotion but rather, an indwelling truth.  Paul lived within the corporate body of Christ, not viewing love as a passive reaction to goodness, but as an active participant in the community of Jesus, a part of the universal essence which Christians choose to name God.  Like Paul, we are not the controlling egocentric machinery with an inner core of spirituality.  No, we are merely a cog in the greater machinery of the Universe, the Oneness.

Without Love (Christ), who is my true nature and of which I am merely a dependent part, I am nothing.  Without Love I am a free-wheeling cog spinning out of control through this life with no purpose or usefulness to the machinery.

1 Corinthians 13:2New International Version (NIV)

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide