I had a dream.
In the dream I was released from the captivity of religion. But when captivity ends and the captive set free, it creates a void. Now that I am free, who or what will fill “the void?”
Leaving Christianity has brought about an incredible freedom, especially from fear, but also freedom from the endless debates about systems of belief and doctrine. For me, these are great arguments in missing the point. But whom can I call on to help me as I remove myself from the perceived certainty found in religion and face; uncertainty?
There are many choices on offer concerning religion. I have decided that I will never join any religion again. But one “problem” I have had to face leaving Christianity, is that I am still fascinated by the Galilean sage named Jesus.
But doesn’t Christianity own Jesus? Has the name “Jesus” become a trademark and does Christianity own that trademark? Can “Jesus” be owned by an organisation? Does this cut me out of participation in that name?
I’ve decided to put a question to Jesus and see if he belongs exclusively to any religion or tradition. I have asked the simple and uncomplicated Galilean sage of the past, set in his uncomplicated and original setting of “the kingdom of heaven has arrived,” whether he will accompany me into the future as a Non-Christian? Can I “steal” Jesus from Christianity to guide me into the uncertainty I face? Will he respond with a “yes?” Or will he remain confined to a religion?
We are changing the description of our blog site from Love First Conversation to Love First Journal. Within any religion, any attempted conversation for change will never bring about reform even if the religion needs it. People simply defend religion, even if they have great doubts about it. We are all driven by our fears. And we want someone to believe on our behalf.
So, for us, the conversation within the framework of Christianity has ended. Our blog will be our journal and about the Jesus we have discovered. Lets face it, within religion; we all make “god in our own image.”
Fragments of Faith
One interesting finding in our search, is the discovery that the evidence of Jesus’ words and deeds are very patchy. Fragments. This is both unsettling and exciting.
Of those fragments, what has remained of the things Jesus actually said from those who wrote the gospels (but apparently were not written from eyewitness or ear-witness accounts) is dramatic, and for me, this will be enough. Regarding Jesus, my question will continually be “what is the point.”
While the debate rages about virgin births, resurrections, heaven and hell and inerrant scriptures, I am living in a wonderful and fearful world right now and I want to know what Jesus has to say about that. I want to know if I can get along with my “brother.”
The point of Jesus according to the Jesus I have pursued and discovered is “the kingdom of heaven” and it has arrived. His message was not apocalyptic and his kingdom does not represent anything that we have on earth. The few actual fragments we have of Jesus words speak primarily of enemy love; turn the other cheek and the beatitudes. “If you love your enemies, you have no enemies.”
There is a quote from Ian MacLaren (real name John Watson 1903). “Be kind for everyone is facing a great battle.” In the frame of love of God and love your neighbour, we are posing two simple ways forward for ourselves. First, “be the change you want to see in the world.” We intend to do this through the Enneagram, an incredible tool for self-transformation and understanding “the other.” Secondly, we will continue the experiment regarding “love your neighbour as yourself” attempting to actually be kind to one another as we recognise everyone, including ourselves, are facing a great battle.
In the days ahead, we will be pursuing how to actually get along with each other on earth and we think this is central to Jesus message. The reality of this has not been achieved apart from a superficial level. Within religion, we say kind things to one another but under pressure or while we try to protect “our religion,” perceived loving relationships fall apart. Enemies are made.
For those who want to join us in our experiment within our non-membership and non-religious community, we are inviting anyone, on a small-scale experiment, to treat one another with kindness. Where every word and sentence is thought through when we talk to others and of others outside their presence. It’s our words that kill each other. When someone rips you, you can simply say, “be kind for (I am) everyone is facing a great battle.”
Some one said there are two kinds of love. These are passionate and compassionate love. Passionate love is the early stages of a new relationship. But if this doesn’t develop into compassionate love for one another, we disintegrate.
If you join us, let us know how the year went. You may only last a few weeks, because love and care for the other and the stranger (the kingdom of heaven) is “impossible!”