Reconciliation vs Retribution And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Matthew 6:5 Many believe the institutional church today is faltering because too many people know too little about Christianity … Continue reading Reconciliation vs Retribution
Spiritual, not Religious, Part 6 I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11 The term spirituality is derived from the concept of Spirit, generally meaning not physical. In broad terms, spirituality seeks to … Continue reading Spiritual, not Religious, Part 6
Spiritual, not Religious, Part 5 What if (Jesus) didn’t come to start a new religion – but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual, and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world? Brian McLaren As we ponder why increasing numbers of people consider themselves spiritual but not religious, … Continue reading Spiritual, not Religious, Part 5
Spiritual, not Religious, Part 4 Where you have absolute solutions, however, you have no need of faith. Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge. Flannery O’Conner Various studies confirm that roughly a quarter of all Americans do not identify with a religious tradition, Christian or otherwise. The numbers are even more striking … Continue reading Spiritual, Not Religious, Part 4
Spiritual, not Religious, Part 3 …in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Colossians 1:24b A few months ago I wrote about my belief that the church has hijacked Jesus, prayer, God, and the Bible from non-churched spiritual seekers, largely unintentionally, … Continue reading Spiritual, not Religious, Part 3
Spiritual, not Religious, Part 2 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. Philippians 3:15-16 Last week I made the general and stereotypical observation that most … Continue reading Spiritual, not Religious, Part 2
Spiritual, not Religious Buddhist meditation…seeks not to explain but to pay attention, to become aware, to be mindful, in other words to develop a certain kind of consciousness that is above and beyond deception by verbal formulas… Thomas Merton One of the underlying components differentiating Churchianity from Christianity is the distinction between religion and spirituality. … Continue reading Spiritual, not Religious
Our life is intimately connected to that, whatever that is...
Humans are the only part of creation that wrestle with who they are.
Jesus and the Christ, Part 3 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”. Matthew 1:23, quoting from Isaiah 7:14 If Jesus attempted to lead us to the realization that we can and should follow him by becoming like him, what then … Continue reading Jesus and the Christ, Part 3
Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean.
Jesus and the Christ, Part 1 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 The title of the first chapter of the book The Universal Christ by contemplative author Richard Rohr is Christ … Continue reading Jesus and the Christ, Part 1
We cannot think our way to Christ...
Understanding how sacred writings come about must be factored into how we apply them.
Applying Christian teachings in non-Christian ways is at the heart of Churchianity.
What are the fewest degrees of separation we can manage before we connect with Jesus, at least as directly as possible?
To induce fear that eternal damnation awaits those who believe differently is a patently un-Jesus-like thing to do.
It is unlikely that any of the Gospels were written by authors who actually heard what Jesus said or saw what he did.
We can make disciples of Jesus without converting them to today's Christianity.
The Bible's overriding message moves from slavery to freedom, misery to joy, woundedness to wholeness, crucifixion to resurrection...
We in the Christian West have tended more towards thinking about Christianity than embodying Christianity...
Protestants declared the Bible inerrant; Catholics declared the Pope inerrant, and a lot of Churchianity-like nonsense followed...
Do a church's interpretations benefit the church or do they move people closer to the life of Christ?
When our checkbooks primarily fund and our facilities primarily host Sunday morning worship, we may be practicing Churchianity...
Being a member of a church does not make one a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes one a car.
If we place the church, instead of Christ, at the heart of everything we do, then we are practicing Churchianity, not Christianity.
The kingdom that opens to those who become fully human is not a kingdom as understood in earthly terms...
The linking of the birth of the Christ-child with the winter solstice holds a profound message for us...
Once we claim the space where heaven and earth unite within us our eyes are opened...
When we actually see others we may also find ways to help their situation...
Like a magnifying glass, our souls take whatever is before us and reveal its hidden essence.
The farther we stray from our holy center, the less peace we know and the less peaceful we become.
The birth of the Christ-child is a much deeper mystery than what is embodied in most of our Christmas preparations...
We cannot exist in the presence of God until we can exist naked, unafraid, and uninhibited.
Jesus' message is for us to live in such a way now that what we seek in an afterlife becomes our present reality.
Such a (completed) life requires relentless optimism, a bit of faith, and a short memory.
Preparing to die well has many of the markings of falling in love...
Dreams and Dying, Part 2 Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him. John 11:11 Many years ago I was told that if a person died in a dream they would be dead in real life, too. I am not sure how anyone would know, but the thought was … Continue reading Dreams and Dying, Part 2
Dreams and Dying, Part 1 I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28 I do not regularly journal about my dreams, although I believe it can be a helpful practice. Much has … Continue reading Dreams and Dying, Part 1
Grief, Part 6 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 Understanding and identifying the five stages of dying (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and … Continue reading Grief, Part 6
Grief, Part 5 If a patient has had enough time and has been given some help in working through the previously described stages, he will reach a stage during which he is neither depressed nor angry about his “fate”…He will have mourned the impending loss of so many meaningful people and places and he will … Continue reading Grief, Part 5
George Floyd and Jesus Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a … Continue reading George Floyd and Jesus
Grief, Part 4 When the terminally ill patient can no longer deny his illness, when he is forced to undergo more surgery or hospitalization, when he begins to have more symptoms or becomes weaker and thinner, he cannot smile it off anymore. His numbness or stoicism, his anger and rage will soon be replaced with … Continue reading Grief, Part 4
Grief, Part 3 “When the first stage of denial cannot be maintained any longer, it is replaced by feelings of anger, rage, envy, and resentment.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD According to Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the initial stage of dying is denial and isolation, which I reflected upon in last week’s Life Note. The next stage, … Continue reading Grief, Part 3
Grief, Part 2 “Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of … Continue reading Grief, Part 2
Grief “The dance of life finds its beginnings in grief…It is the way in which pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain.” Henri Nouwen No discussion of death and dying would be complete without considering grief. Grief is … Continue reading Grief
Dying Before We Die, Part 3 No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins. Mark 2:22 As I close this trail of thoughts about dying-before-we-die, I wish to focus on … Continue reading Dying Before We Die, Part 3
Dying Before We Die, Part 2 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life…nor things present, nor things to come…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8::38-39 Admittedly, the concept of dying-before-we-die is not easily grasped. It might better be titled consciously-letting-go-before-we-must. Done right, … Continue reading Dying Before We Die, Part 2
Dying Before We Die Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12::24 The concept of dying before we die has nothing to do with unreasonably hastening our physical death. Rather, it … Continue reading Dying Before We Die
Cultural Fear of Death, Part 4 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 I write this in the midst of Holy Week – the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. In the Christian story, Jesus enters Jerusalem as a hero, only to be mocked, beaten, … Continue reading Cultural Fear of Death, Part 4