“The vibrant connection to Jesus that opens up insanely great possibilities in a secularizing world — and might kick off a new Jesus movement.”
Dave Schmelzer writes in his book Blue Ocean Faith. He along with many other Christians these days, are reaching out to the world in what appears to be a strong new look at Jesus and how Christian churches preach his message. What has happened to many such thinkers in our time is a recognition that secularization has kidnapped Christianity itself and in the process driven people away from traditional churches. I believe this partners with a politicizing of Christianity itself, lured by political aims as it must have been in Constantine’s time when the Roman Empire under Constantine, first turned toward Christianity, perhaps to further its own aims in gaining more power in the world. While the church might have thought that they could ride this power and secure Christianity in the history of the world, there has always been a price. Namely, that price would be to completely delete Jesus’ teachings in the process. The core of his teaching is forgiveness and that is not the core teaching of any political system that is bent on growing power in the world, nor the churches that follow in this direction. It is in fact the opposite. That Jesus delivers his message of love and we build cathedrals has always been since he seemed to leave us here, as kings build great palaces to impress their fellow power grabbers in the world. Economic systems are grounded in taking. Jesus message is grounded in giving, all to all. There’s no match here that can be reconciled. Who in power gives all to all as a part of a polity that does the same?
The better approach is hinted at, never really attained, in American government, founded on the principle of separation of church and State. Although not all of our founders believed that to be the way to go, many were able to have it included as a consideration in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. We still argue over it today and we have at times come close to achieving some first steps in that direction. But in todays world the Christian religion has been hi-jacked once again and politicians, while perhaps having no intention of using Jesus’ message as it was meant to be, complete and total, unequivocal, they have pressed peoples fears, the threat of the dark side to get votes, promising what we will now be saved by, not by Jesus but by bombs, exclusion and hatred. Its a mixed message that conservative and fundamentalist thinkers fall for, while hoping they will finally get Jesus’ message to be heard. That’s not so difficult to do in America at this moment of its short life as the longest living democracy, leaving itself open to autocratic demonizing, pressing on the fears Christianity itself can’t seem to put its arms around and tell us what Jesus really had to say. America has survived much, however. Perhaps it will this onslaught on its values as well. I find hope in Schmelzer’s book, and the writings of other Christians who see the danger of letting greed mix with Jesus message, as though there could be any mix of anything with what he had to say, and said it so clear
There is one sentence in Blue Ocean Faith that in a real sense tells all we must know about Jesus and his coming here: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is talking from His to be his resurrected Christ Self here, and if we could in this world hear this message from Him we would indeed be where Jesus wrote in His prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, They will be done in earth as it is in heave.” One of America’s greatest spiritual messages comes from the program for recovering alcoholics In Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition Two of the Twelve Traditions states: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” How different the world would be if we lived by this tradition. Perhaps Jesus had a hand in helping suffering alcoholics maintain a society that has kept them sober, as a model for keeping us all sober. (One meaning of the word sober is prudent.) There has never a been such a powerful spiritual program as far as we know in the history of this world. And it works without getting involved in politics and government. Christian churches are more and more taking note of this approach to finding our way home to Spirit in a world that certainly does not listen to Jesus.
My reading of this book reminds me it is the Christ in him that Jesus refers us to in the above passage quoted above. And I believe the same Christ that abides in all of us here. So when he says we’re not going anywhere except through Him, he means through Him, in us. That is clearly inclusive. Our author speaks of this in his description of “Bonded Set” and “Centered Set” Christianity. Centering on Jesus rather than rules and the just right criteria for becoming a part of a corporation is his preference. Instead of rules, there is one who came to join us in our human-ness to take us out of it. We need but look within, where the Kingdom is. I think Schmelzer may imply this in his book.
Yes, I say to that! To go into the desert to come out of it. To be in relationship. As Jesus always is. He is alive and very ready to speak to us along these lines. “A Course in Miracles” is Jesus telling us all he has to say in his second coming. All are called, few choose to listen. Fortunately, Jesus in his wisdom coming from his own experience here and his own transformation invites us “tear down this wall” as one of our conservative brothers said, perhaps thinking differently as to why he said it. I believe Schmelzer’s writing invites us to consider the unequivocal Jesus, our older brother who has gone before us to bring the light we need to proceed. Simple, we change what he means by our own peril in doing so. We are here to forgive, I’m reminded. And forgive we can in churches or groups that meet to recognize all our brothers and sisters are one in unity with God. He is, as Jesus says, Our Father. This requires acceptance simply, that best takes place in the kind of church our author speaks of, like the early Christians who decided against the Roman approach to their church, a simple meeting place with the only authority being a loving God for all, those who might have said, “Who is leading the meeting today in memory of Jesus? And a woman raises her hand as cheerfully accepted to celebrate Jesus Resurrection, as an example for all of us.
However, the separation from God state of mind we think we are in, and feel profoundly guilty because we think we really are separated, is a condition none of us can really sustain forever. Although not necessary, pain will bring us to truth in the return to our true place as the Son of God. Our way in the world we made just cost too much and we will return to Truth because of that. Jesus, I believe, is always helping us remove ourselves from that conditions required of a thought system that is not of God, but one we make up to protect us from God’s Kingdom, strange as that sounds. These are my thoughts as I read through this very insightful book.
I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.