Beginning Again

I have been challenged through conversations with folks in my denomination to see Jesus in a fresh new way.  I love those conversations, don't you?  There is a saying in the Bible that says something like "As iron sharpens iron so one friend sharpens another."

The past several months I have to admit I have been struggling.  I had an experience that kinda blew my theology apart.  I am not going into details, but I have been pondering what I believe or where I stand with my relationship with Jesus.  Something the Bishop and another in our church pointed out really made sense.  In a paraphrase nutshell it was something to the effect that there are times when the old Jesus is killed in us so that a fresh understanding, a broader revelation of Jesus can be born or resurrected in us.

I think this is true.  The past few months I have been stuck in the birth canal, but I sense something happening.  I have had to let go of my old ways of knowing Christ, ways that came with a god I could not love.  A god who condemns people eternally to hell.  A god who treated women and gay people as second class.  A god with no connection to nature.  A god who demanded a human sacrifice of his own son to be able to forgive.  This was the god I laid down years ago.

But traces still remained.  Traces of mistrust of the Bible.  Having a love/hate relationship with the beauty in much of Christianity such as the liturgy, the music, the traditions, the joy of the charismatics, the quiet of the Quakers, and the love of spiritual study of the Baptists.  I have flirted at the margins these past few years, never falling on one side or another.

This spiritual experience blew apart my experience of God.  God was not only personal but had an impersonal side as well. Reality was swept away in a see of the Divine Presence.  Every tree, flower and rock hid the face of the Divine.  And Jesus was not there nor any part of this experience.  Thus my several months of floundering.

My theology, my practice and study was based on his words.  How could I have such a profound experience of the divine, and yet Jesus was no where to be seen.  I have been mostly silent trying to figure this out.  Trying to recover what was changed by the experience.  Then my Bishop said, perhaps I became Jesus in that experience.  It was then that it hit me.  I have been thinking on these words.

Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas as well as the other Gospels calls us to be like him, to be him, to be one with him.  My union with God was also a union with Christ.  I saw through his eyes and did not even realize it.  My high from the experience has long since faded in these months, yet the inner knowing is still there.  A God who is a part of nature, as if nature were contained within the Divine.  A God who is not a controller but more a presence within, a flow that we can align with or not.  It does not affect the flow...we are still a part of it.  To be a child of God as the Gospel of Thomas hints at, is to realize that this is a metaphor to sharing the divine nature with God.  That we are within God the whole time.  Jesus realized this.  I hope I can too.

Comments

  1. Jesus did not ask us to become Christians. He just wanted us to be like him. Who was he? What did he do? What did he stand for? Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas was my director. My friend. He pointed me back where I needed to go and still walks along with me, as a guide in many ways. He has taken on the role of Tiferet to Malkut. The Inner to my Outer. My Belenos-Bright Shining One.

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  2. Amen and well said Birch-Wind! Jesus invites us to know God and ourselves as children of God. We are invited to be like him, in his relationship with God, to be God-full.

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