Jump to content

A Transcendent Christ: Not Just For Conservatives


fatherman
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've never really introduced myself on this board, so I'll say a few things about my perspective and then get on with it. My relationship with Christ for a good portion of my adult life has centered around these thoughts:

 

I will follow the model and teachings of Jesus without regard to reward and without regard to the legitimacy of his recorded miracles and divine position in the universe because I believe that he allowed God's true image and nature to shine freely through him for our sake.

 

Living with this thought has opened up my heart and mind to experiencing God and Christ in whatever way they come to me, regardless of my upbringing and the traditions of my chosen denomination (UMC). This includes experiencing Christ as a state of consciousness.

 

I believe that Jesus, divine as we all are, through single-minded devotion to Self and God realization became his highest self (Christ Consciousness) and became one with God (God Consciousness, or 'Entering the Kingdom of God'). In so doing, he realized his life's highest purpose and set about to achieve it as fully as he possibly could.

 

WARNING: Some of you will want to click the "bunch of hooey" button on your computer and move on to another thread before you finish reading this next bit.

 

Studying Jesus and following his example and teachings is something we all have some experience with. What if there is more? We can't really know Jesus the Man beyond what we read, but can we know Jesus the Christ? I'm reminded of Schweitzer's words

 

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside, He came to those who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: ‘Follow thou me!’ and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands.

And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as, an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.

 

These words have meant so many things to me over the years. Right now they are suggesting to me that Christ can reach us beyond time and space, not just in word, but in experience. Is Jesus the Christ at the right hand of God waiting to welcome us when we choose to enter the Kingdom of God? "Kingdom" meaning not some heavenly reward that comes after we die, but kingdom that is a state of consciousness, a way of living and being... (after all it's written that the Kingdom of God is at hand, here, now, with us.)

 

What "toils", as Schweizter suggests, do we choose to enter the kingdom? For a long time I thought that good deeds and study were enough for me. Lately, though, I'm finding that I've got to stop, shut up, and listen or just be. My brain and ego have a lot of ideas about what I should be doing, but they do not have the full knowledge and being of God. Have I come to know Christ or God in my brain? I've only come to know what my five senses tell me. I'm hopeful that I will come to know God more fully by learning to deny my bodily senses and notions (meditation) as Jesus did (fasting and denying temptations in the wilderness after his baptism with John). Meditation also called 'yoga' (literally 'union') can be achieved many different ways, but the result is always the same so I'm not saying that we all have to become yogis to know God...but we do have learn how to get quiet and turn our attention to God. Can you say "I know how to ride a bicycle" just because you read a book (or even twenty) on the subject? You have to try it and practice it.

 

Can we "put on" Christ? Is there room in the universe for David the Christ, Cindy the Christ, Bob the Christ? Can we truly do as Jesus did and find our true self, true calling, become one with "the Father"? It sure couldn't hurt to try! Could it? You tell me...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My name is Cat. I'm not as educated as you, but unfortunately life can teach us some hard lessons. After I had overdosed on alcohol and barbituates at age 21, I was declared dead (for 5 minutes). My family was told I would have brain damage and possibly never recover. I was kept in a comma state but within a few weeks was released from hospital. I didn't go into a bright light, I didn't see dead relatives. I went to a VERY black void. I felt like I was being quickly passed by "others". Like standing stationary in the middle of rush hour traffic.

 

I "met" God if you will. No, I didn't see him but I felt his presence. I felt grief, and I felt an overwhelming disappointment in me. It was not that I had done bad or good. It wasn't that I had DONE anything. It wasn't the action. It was that I hadn't loved myself and certainly hadn't loved God.

 

God is love. Love God with all your mind, your soul and being. Love your neighbour as you would yourself. If you don't give respect and love to yourself you don't honour the "God" in you. And I believe, once you've accepted God you begin to change, to begin to understand Christ's journey.

 

It is God who sanctifies you by the grace on his presence in you. You are compelled to search out the good in people and to do good for people because of that gift. Anyone can do good, but is it of God? Your good deeds don't make you Godly...God makes you a good person who does good deeds. Does this make sense?

 

I understand the Eastern concept of Chakras a little. I think I understand that meditation. But don't you need to give God our creator (by whatever name you call the Divinity) the invitation to come into you and not just contemplate him?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi CAT,

 

I want to say that I honor your experience with God, and that I agree with what you are saying. I think that we are both suggesting that God is something to be experienced, not just studied. In reality, we are always experiencing God whether we realize it or not. Who can say what will trigger that realization? I haven't encountered a profound tragedy like the one you experienced, and I don't really want to wait for one to come along. Meditation is a holy science that has helped many to realize God in their lives. It's a path that can be chosen at any time in life. I believe that the choice is an "invitation".

 

Like you, I don't usually experience the presence of God as a light. It may sound kind of flakey, but I tend to experience God directly through vibration...sound...silence.

 

You wrote:

Your good deeds don't make you Godly...God makes you a good person who does good deeds.

 

I really like that. I believe that it is the nature of our divine or true selves to serve the world with love ("good deeds"). When we take the time to get to know our true selves and let the rest fall away, we are those "good [people] who [do] good deeds".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fatherman:

In the reading group we are discussing Bishop Spong's "Why Christianity must cange or Die". Chapter 9 therein is titled,"The Meaning of Prayer in a World with No External Deity".Could you comment on Spong's views, which seem to differ radically as to a transcendent Christ. In the interest of immanence I would suggest that we can truly do as the historical Jesus did and live life as it was created for us, in the presence of our higher consciousness, and suspicious of our ego and its wiles.This to me is not "Putting on" Christ in the transcendent mode but living with Jesus as brother now as a part of the Sonship which exists if we but see it.

 

Jeep

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeep,

 

I haven't read "Why Christianity must change or Die", so I'm not sure I can respond adequately to your words, but I will clarify my own words.

 

When I suggested that we can "put on Christ", I'm suggesting that we can do as Jesus did and become fully conscious of Self (i.e. "True Self", "Divine Self", "Christ Consciousness"). I'm also making a distinction between Jesus and Christ. I'm suggesting that Jesus is a person who lived 2000 years ago...flesh and bone...our ancient brother, and that Christ is the state of consciousness that he attained (full alignment with true self). I don't mean "Christ" in the traditional Christian/Hebrew/Greek sense of the word. My use of "Christ" here comes more out of the traditions of spiritual development in India where yogis often claim the Bible as one of their sources of scripture, and Jesus as one of the great gurus. The state of full self- and God-awareness characterized by an infinite capacity for love and compassion is so strongly associated with Jesus that "Christ" has become its name.

 

I'm also suggesting that when Jesus became the "Christ", he transcended the bounds of time and space (think quantum physics here). Jesus tuned his life to a level of energy (very high, perhaps pure light in the end) that exists in another dimension (eternity). When we tune ourselves to that frequency, we are one with Christ. Perhaps Jesus broke the "light" barrier before modern humans even broke the sound barrier. What I'm suggesting is not supernatural, nothing needs to be above nature. I'm merely suggesting that there is more to nature than what science has quantified thus far.

 

Listen, I don't need to be right about this stuff...we're not here to be right. I'm just suggesting, like Bishop Spong, that there are other ways of looking at the phenomenon of Jesus. We're all here at tcpc.com or attend tcpc church's because we could not swallow the Christianity that was fed to us. We all had a deep sense that there was something more to it for us than heavenly goodies, judgement, and moral checklists.

 

Fatherman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Fatherman,

 

This was very interesting. In my District Committee on Ordination interview I was asked, "At what point did I think Jesus became the Christ of God?" I think I answered that I hadn't really pondered that question but I could point to some probables, i.e. incarnation, baptism in the Jordan, wilderness tempting, Garden of Gethsemane. I'm thinking now that perhaps it was all of these experiences somehow cumulatively. What are your thoughts?

 

Sophia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have some thoughts, but I certainly don't have the answers on this one. Here are a few thoughts ranging from radical to traditional.

 

I'll start with the radical thought:

 

Jesus perfected himself over many lifetimes (some have suggested that Jesus was a reincarnation of Elisha) until he became the Christ. Having become Christ, he then had the choice of whether or not he would return again to Earth as flesh and bone. So, you could say that he was the Christ before he was even born.

 

Not quite as radical:

 

Jesus was born with the same potential as anyone else. Perhaps he had some spiritual gifts from the start. Through devotion, prayer, study, and daily communion with God he became a fully self and God-realized being (or Christ). He raised his consciousness to a level that no one in history had ever done.

 

Traditional:

 

When Jesus was babtized by John, God claimed him as his son...making him the Christ.

 

I find all of these scenarios to be plausible. Who can say what really happened? Unless you become a Christ , you will never really know for sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fatherman, you're "traditional" option isn't really considered that way in the larger Christian tradition; i.e. what you've described there is the "adoptionist" theory which is embraced by the Eastern Orthodox Church (as I understand it), but in the West, it is generally accepted that Jesus was Christ/Word/Logos, etc. even before he was incarnated into this earth; i.e. He was present with the Father at the Creation of the cosmos.

 

I guess that'd be called the "Western traditional" theory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly, the lay members on the committee were more in line with your "Western traditional" interpretation, BrotherRog. They all affirmed that Jesus was the Christ before incarnation. The clergy, however, were more inclined to name the Baptism in the Jordon as the moment. While I agree with Fatherman that we may never know the answer, and I suppose some might think it a moot point, I think it is a fascinating question!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that it is an interesting question to ponder and that it may be moot point, Sophia! :-)

 

BrotherRog, thank you for pointing out what may be the most traditional view of the Western Christian world on the subject; however, I was simply stating my views on the subject. I call it "traditional" because that was one of the traditions I was taught growing up in the Presbyterian church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brother Rog:

In your analysis have you not ignored completely the affirmations of Proverbs 8 and 9? Especially Proverbs 8:22! It seems to me this intimates that "In the beginning was wisdom and wisdom was with God, and wisdom was God" to paraphrase John 1:1ff

Jeep

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we may all be closer together than we think. Can't I affirm that the Logos was with God and then became realized in the human Jesus (The Word/Logos made flesh?) The point of discussion seems to be when that realization/acutalization occured. I don't see how it could have occured prior to the biological creation of Jesus. Does this make any sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes more sense within the context of reincarnation, but perhaps it can work in the single human life scenario (unless you throw original sin into the mix!).

 

We are born whole and perfect. The fontanelle (through which we receive the divine light or consciousness), is soft and thin, so union with God is natural for an infant. As we grow up, we succumb to the "Great Illusion" or "Maya" that we are seperate from God and the Universe, and the skull cap grows over the soft spot (which means God made us to have to choose God over self; whereas, an infant doesn't have the choice). We have to remember our true nature...not discover it or invent it. Jesus conquered illusion.

 

So in the single human/earthly life scenario:

 

1.) we are born into Christhood

2.) our perception of this truth becomes obscured by illusion

3.) we seek to remove the illusion until we remember who we are

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service