Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate, by John J. Thompson.
Reviewed by Robert G. Pajer
John J. Thompson’s book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate, is about finding a spiritual basis for everything, our likes, dislikes, favorite things, how we live our lives, passions. And, Jesus invites this in his telling us, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) and Isaiah 41:10. Unfortunately, we think otherwise in this world, because we have chosen separation as a possibility. What we choose we can have, though not in reality. What God choses is the only reality. We struggle mightily with these truths here in the world we made for ourselves.
What is not created does not exist. What God created is all there is and it has never not been, nor will it ever not always be.
Thompson, as many of us has suffered deeply over this one thing, the only problem there is: our contention we have a will separate from God’s, which is an impossible state for our minds which are in God’s mind. And they will never leave their Source. All human suffering, which God does not cause, is our suffering because its cause is of our own making. We suffer and continue to suffer for this one reason.
Jesus never taught sacrifice. He taught us that forgiveness in this world, being a reflection of God’s love, is all we’re here for. It is our only function. We live in a deep ego trance that tries to deny this and replace our real purpose here with finding false gods, false selves that conjure up all kinds of nonsense about “developing” into something that will finally “get it.” We’ll be good, we’ll justify, we’ll defend ourselves against the enemy (which is within), we’ll finally solve our problems and live happily ever after. Or, we’ll make better what is “out there.” Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a better result. In truth, there is only one problem and one way to solve it: the problem is our intention to separate from our Creator. The answer to this insane thought is forgiveness, and it must take place where we find ourselves, because this world is the only shot we have at salvation (becoming entirely ready to return to God, while in the illusion of separation.) There is no forgiveness in the Kingdom of God because there is no need for it. Our world, yes the one we made and act insanely within becomes our salvation. Jesus meant, I am with you always – meaning also, all ways. He never leaves because he’s not going anywhere without us.
Thompson, knows much of this I believe, like many, he hears the call sent out to everyone. It is a matter of our choice to listen, or not. Eventually, however, everyone comes home, because we are in a state of mercy and grace, the never ending Power that brings us all home, no matter what the way.
Thompson, like all who take a breath here, falls into the pitfall of perhaps we can make all this better and not feel so guilty about it: better bread, better wine, better chocolate, better beer, better coffee. This is not heaven, our world. Who would want to accept it, even after making better all of the above, for anything other than what it truly is: an attack on God. We are addicted to the better because we fail to realize we already have all there is. All addictions are an attack on God, not just our addictions to alcohol and drugs. The addiction is an adoration of false gods. Any form of defense of the ego is an addiction. The ego has many special ways of covering itself, like any con. But the ego is always opposite of God. Or at least we believe it is. A false belief in itself, because God has not opposite. We can’t attach to different and improved ways of making things as being superior to just making things. Whatever we do here in our made up world is like a little child making tea in tiny cups and serving it as though these cups contained a real substance. In a very real sense it does not matter that we live in a world that we seem to be destroying. God does not create anything that can be harmed or destroyed. If He did, He would not be God.
Granted, it is much better to have happy dreams of His love for everyone, our mistakes and errors being just that, mistakes and errors. A world where we teach only love to one another, for that is what we are. A world that sees in one another only how he or she was created: holy, perfect and one with a loving Father.
The world holds nothing we want. We do not need the best bread, the best chocolate, the best beer, the best music, etc. We cannot create the best, because it has already been created for us to accept. We cannot create ourselves, although we try. What seems to be out there, outside of our minds, is not out there. We only exist as Mind. We already have all God gave us, which is All. Our answer to such a gift is we separate from God and God in His mercy, let’s us go asleep for awhile. We are dreaming, as Adam is. God put him asleep and nowhere in the Bible is he awakened. There is no God who tries to correct humankind with tests, temptation, punishment — yet we are corrected by the very nature of what we are: as He created us. We are already perfect, holy children. His children. We will never need a perfect chocolate bar, perfect coffee, etc. We will never rest until we are back in His loving arms. That is difficult to accept. We believe better something, is better than finding our way directly back to our home with God. And our unwillingness to accept that is the cause of living in a world that is at best hearing God’s call, at worst gruesome.
Having said all that, which I mean only in the spirit Thompson has laid out, discipline, following Jesus word, meaning disciple, I try to accept living in a world that is alien to what I am by forgiving it. When I can see love in what I make of it, I’m at peace, because God is the Corrector, I’m not. Thompson says, “Even if you’re not an artist, your faith is a song the world around you hears sung every day.” Page 233. That is a lovely statement. As long as I have faith, I forgive; and when I forgive it is a part of God’s plan for salvation. His only plan. Like Jesus, I want to be with you always. In all ways. If I’m happy over a great cup of coffee and a few slices of fine Jewish rye bread with sweet butter on it, I’m happy for everyone.
Gregory Mayers, in his wonderful book, “Listen to the Desert. Secrets of Spiritual Maturity from the Desert Father and Mothers,” in Chapter 10, “What is it Necessary to Do to Be Saved?”, cites the following:
“An old man was asked, “What is it necessary to do to be saved?” He was making rope, and with out looking up from the work, he replied, ‘“Your are looking at it.”’, from C. Stewart, OSB, trans. Apophthegmata, XX  World of the Desert Fathers (Fairacres, Oxford, England: SLG Press, 1986), 35.
The Desert Fathers and Mothers, saw in the growing incorporation of the early Christian church as a part of the Roman Empire, something they did not like, it’s leaving behind the very essence of Jesus’ message: “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” (A Course in Miracles, T-6.III.2.4)
I have enjoyed reading this very well written book. Robert G. Pajer
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