More from the stuff that’s feeding my impending “Towards a Grown Up God” article, an excellent piece reblogged by Eric Alexander from Jesse Dooley ;
It seems to me that quite a lot of my fellow New Thought clergy hem and haw and avoid the term Christian these days in the light of the loud, overbearing nonsense that comes from the “Religious Right.” But I never in good conscience could do this. For one thing I very much am a follower of the teachings of Jesus. Of all the ways these great universal spiritual principles, by all the great teachers, it is how they were presented through him that I gravitate too.
But even more so, as I’ve said repeatedly on various social media, and in a couple of my sermons, that if we abandon the word Christianity, then the terrorists win.
No not the “Evil Muslims” as most of the right would consider terrorists, but those folks who have hijacked the faith expression I hold dear, from within, and can’t see the harm they have done on their fellow brothers and sisters; their Gay brothers and sisters, their poor brothers and sisters, their brothers and sisters of different faiths. And forgotten the essential teaching of Jesus to “Love thy neighbor.”
The people who have taken Jesus and God’s names in vain by perverting the teachings of Jesus for their own selfish ends.
Those folks who don’t see their vision of a “gun owning God fearing ‘Murica” where the death penalty is legal but a woman’s rights aren’t, including the right to make decisions about her own health and her body. A country where a corporation’s rights trump our own, even in the bedroom.
An America so far away from that which the founding fathers ever imagined, and so far away from the essential Teachings of the Jesus they claim to follow. A worldview that doesn’t see that their vision is not so different from the Islamic Sharia Law they are so vehemently against.
Early on in my faith journey I was greatly influenced by the work of Bishop John Shelby Spong, especially his books, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and Why Christianity must change or die. These books came out at the beginning of the right’s hijacking of Christianity in America (one could, and I WILL argue in the “Grown Up God” article that the message of Christianity & all other religions were hijacked the minute they became organized) when the “Moral Majority” was in full force. It was then that many of us began to hear the now tired argument that “you can’t be liberal and be a Christian.”
It was these books that showed me, that I wasn’t alone in thinking there was something fundamentally wrong with fundamentalism…. That it bore little resemblance to the messages that were presented in the gospels.
And that I wasn’t alone at all. It was the beginning of growth in me as a Christian, and as a minister, and what ultimately has crystallized into taking a very public stance, with this blog and other things (including some sermons) along side other Christian clergy to say, “you do not speak for us, you do not speak for God, or Jesus, and we’re not letting you continue to do so.” And also not to walk away from the word “Christian,” but to take it back.
From the article;
“My answer is easy but complex. I still find it important and necessary to call myself a Christian because I don’t believe Christian fundamentalists have a monopoly on God. I don’t want Christianity to sink into the ocean of fundamentalism. Those who currently hold the keys of popular American Christianity are not themselves inerrant and infallible.
There is no way that God is owned by any nation, any religion, any creed, any dogma, any church, any temple, any mosque, any gender, any language, any symbol, any book, any priests, any philosopher, any thing..
So again, why do I continue to associate myself with the Christian tradition then? I believe it is important that there be other voices within the Church who are not bound by these unnecessary anxieties about defining right the things of God – or who are so concerned about making disciples who fit into a pre-packaged mold. I believe abandoning the tradition would do more harm than good..”
The article I keep “threatening” you with is still percolating away in my brain, fueled more and more by articles like this, which seem to be drawn to me lately like iron to a magnet. These are helping form my thoughts, and help me to have the courage to publicly say what I feel needs to be said, and also to give me some resources to back these thoughts up.
So until then, ponder over these thoughts that I share on occasion from other, perhaps more intelligent minds than myself.
Blessings. (If you like this, please click on the category “Grown Up God” to find other things in a similar vein.)
Also, please check out this sermon audio, which is is partly where this concept of the “Grown Up God” started to birth inside me.
“God with Skin of 2014”
In it I begin to explore what I consider a more “adult” view of Jesus; going beyond the “supernatural,” two dimensional cardboard superhero version that most of us grew up with. Someone different from us, someone with powers unobtainable by us “mere mortals.” To me this is an idea that disempowers rather than empowers us, and one that I believe runs contrary to the His very message.
I talk about moving away from a “passive” type of Christianity, one of subservient worship OF Jesus, to one where we become the human embodiment of the the TEACHINGS of Jesus. One where we embrace the “Christos,” the Anointing within each of us.