Thursday, March 8, 2012

Are We Becoming What We Believe In?

In 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul says, “We have the mind of Christ” - beautiful words that have endured for centuries and created hope in all believers. But is it something which is being realized by most Christians? Is it being realized by any Christians? If so, why is there a book on my coffee table by Che Ahn (president of an international ministry of 5,000 churches in 35 countries) called, Say Goodbye to Powerless Christianity. Powerless Christianity? Why would a prominent church leader feel the need to write such a book if Christians were becoming like Jesus?

I have part of the answer and I mention it often it in these blogs. The church has created a separation between God and man which doesn’t really exist and only serves to render us incapable of spiritual transcendence. Regrettably, the Christian community, finding no way to bridge the gap, has chosen to follow the ways of the world rather than the Life of Christ. That was the premise of another popular book on Christian coffee tables recently called Radical. How few of us really live the way Jesus told us to! And how easy it is for us to rationalize why we don’t!

Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man many times in the Bible. I always thought that was his way of saying he was just one of us. Unfortunately, rather than developing the capacities he demonstrated (which he said also belonged to us) the church projected him into a heavenly realm and built a religion around him in order to avoid the radical shift of mind and disruption of culture that he said would enable us. Separated as we are from the power source, the necessary change has not been able to take root in the heart of man. We simply cloak in religious terminology the agreed upon shortcomings of our sinful nature, accept the consequences as our reality, and ask Jesus to come and save us. I read this recently: You will never allow yourself to receive what you do not believe yourself worthy to have. If that’s true then it’s no wonder Christianity is powerless after 2,000 years of “faith”. If the evidence of that faith showed more positive results I wouldn’t still be looking for answers. But if we’re not becoming what we say we believe in (and Ahn’s book suggests we may not be) then it seems to me, it’s time to re-examine what we believe in.

As early as the fifth grade I remember being very confused about something in the Christian doctrine. The nuns and priests taught me that God was a God of love and that he created me in his own image and likeness. At the same time they said he created me in sin so unacceptable that he would have to send me to hell for it. I tried to believe that, but it seemed like such a contradiction. How could God blame me for something he made me with? As far as I can see, nowhere in the bible did Jesus ever speak of an Original sin. What he preached was God in the heart of man and he prayed that we would come to know it. So if Jesus didn’t say it then who made up this stuff about us being separated? It’s not true and it no longer serves any purpose to insist that it is just because “it is written”. We may know God through Jesus, but at some point we must learn to experience him in ourselves. The power we seek can only come with the realization that we are part of the one-ness with God that Jesus modeled. And we are. We are all part of that one-ness. That’s the really Good News that Jesus brought into this world.

It may go against church doctrine, but there comes a time when rethinking our position in God is more important than insisting on tradition. It is critical for our spiritual growth to come to the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God. How can it, when in fact, nothing can separate us from God? Science is showing us that such a separation between creator and creation is not even possible. Someday we’ll understand that and accept it like we do any other great truth that was once a great mystery. Only then will we be able to give up our belief in the sinful nature of man which prevents us from knowing our true relationship to God. That alone will enable the mind of Christ in us. Finally Paul’s words will become our reality. Finally we will be able to do the things Jesus said we would do.

When that time comes there will be no more books written about powerless Christianity.

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