So I am culturally a Christian, but pluralistic in practice. Can I say I believe anything? Dogmatically, no. But here is my best attempt at explaining what it is I believe and how that fits into a Christian context.
There is a force, a wind, the spirit that is the energy at the core of all that is. At least once and probably countless times, the spirit coalesced around a quantum singularity and it exploded into what we now call a universe. Entropy was (and is) suspended by the spirit and things instead of becoming less complex, became more complex. Atoms became stars. Stars gave light. At the end of their life, some stars collapsed into black holes that later became the center of galaxies. Vast unfathomable numbers of galaxies contained vast unfathomable numbers of stars. Around these stars, discarded bits of matter coalesced into planets. And on at least one of these countless planets, circling an average star in the outer spiral arms of an average galaxy, the spirit coalesced around a set of complex chemical soup and a new type of energy formed: life. For countless ages, life existed in the simplest of forms. Until one day, the spirit coalesced around a specific cell and complexity burst onto the scene. The planet bloomed into varied and beautiful forms of life. Over the millennia life was almost destroyed by cataclysmic events. But after each event, it came back stronger and more complex than ever.
Many of the animals that evolved over time had specific organs used to sense the world around them. Over time, an organ evolved to regulate these senses called the brain. And for some species brains evolved to the point that they could communicate and sense the spirit itself. I am a descendant of one of these species called human.
Though the spirit could be sensed by many animals, humans became especially attuned to its existence and its mission: loving and nurturing life. But the fruit of this knowledge was extremely dangerous. By tapping into the power of the spirit, man learned that he could love and nurture life in all of its complexity. But if manipulated and twisted for individual gain, the spirit could be used bring about great destruction and even death the very opposite of complexity.
All over the world, people gave spirit names and developed practices to reflect the goodness of the spirit. Sadly one of the problems with a name was that it was a manipulation of the spirit, which was used to war against those people who gave the spirit another name and again became very destructive.
From time to time, the spirit coalesced around a given person, who was given unusual insight into the very nature of the spirit. These individuals would gather disciples and religions were born. If the religion on the whole stayed in tune with the basic intent of the spirit, it, like life itself, thrived and was passed down from generation to generation.
One of these religions was Judaism. Its basic tenant was to love the spirit and love justice. Two thousand years ago, the spirit coalesced around one of Judaism’s followers. His name was Jesus. Jesus became an outspoken critic of how faith in the spirit had been twisted into a very narrow interpretation of laws originally written to help Jews to live in harmony with the spirit. But it had devolved into a clannish cult of rules.
Jesus loved the spirit and saw the spirit in all the people he encountered. He boiled down all the laws and regulations of Judaism into two statements. Love god (the spirit) and love your neighbor (all life). So powerful were his words, that upon his death, when the spirit within him was released, his words radiated out and took on a life or their own. Those words even now can bring peace, love and justice to those who choose to follow them.
Sadly too many individuals chose to turn his words into more laws and sank back into the cult that Jesus so strongly fought against.
Christianity, the religion that formed around Jesus’ teachings, is at its best when his followers love the spirit and love each other with all of their energy. And I will leave it at that.
…coming soon, Vergence, Part 3, My Expression