This weekend has of course been an important day in the Christian calendar as well as the Pagan calendar. The Easter festival has an important culminating point, on the one hand there is the celebration of the Resurrection and on the other the mystical Easter eggs which foretell the secret story of ancient fertility rights – but then not many people get hung up about that, after all most people generally prefer to “do” Easter Eggs and Christmas Tree for their kids. So we take the two most “serious” days of the spiritual Western calendar and we either turn them into shopping fests or an extended chocolate flavoured break for the kids. Then of course there is a small minority of highly spiritual folks and while the Christian and Pagan ends are miles apart, the one thing they do have in common is that they both can scare the bejeepers out of you.
I am not a Christian but I certainly cannot do without the Bible. I welcome the whole idea of the Resurrection, I even accept the idea that Jesus died for our sins but I still cannot come to terms with modern day Christianity. The TV evangelists have convinced me that I am actually better off not being saved for I really don’t want to share eternal life with that mob, then there is this idea of RED STATE and BLUE STATE – which is as “unchristian” a division I could envisage. Did not Jesus clearly say to turn the other cheek and love the enemy? How does that happen through Fox Television News?
I did once consider a conversion but it was one of those preachers who compared their religion with others and talked about how all the other religions had tombs for their spiritual leaders but the Christian religion had no tomb that made me decide that I am truly better off staying with the faith that I was born into. The most important word in Biblical terms that I have found myself is the word DISCERNMENT and among a mob of people I saw this preacher to talk to, their blind acceptance of this preachers message was what was most key for me, for when I looked in the eyes of these people, their lights were not on.
While I try to understand the message of Jesus, I have also tried equally to be cynical and wary of atheists. Not simply because of Richard Dawkins, who like many Scientists strongly resist having their lights on also because faith to them as become on big anathema. Yet I realize today that I have far more common with the psyche of an atheist than I do of that of a Christian – and while I can never for one moment say that atheists have discernment, what they do have is a intolerance for others telling them what to do, atheists are capable of discernment but they seemingly really don’t like people who tell them what to do. In other words I have found atheists to be among the finest rebels I have come across, which is pretty strange because the greatest single most rebel whose words I have read about is from a guy called Jesus Christ.
I don’t go online to talk about my personal life, my actual work or my actual faith. That is nobody’s G-d dimmin business but I am here to explore and venturing into a faith that is not mine is a great act of exploration. Since I am here to explore, why should I be afraid of this BOOK called the Bible; especially when I have opened it and I find that it does speak to truth in a huge way. Yet that truth is a discernible truth or in other words, one must have the quality of discernment in order to grasp it. When I look at the academic nature of Blue state thinkers and the theological nature of Red state thinkers and then the masses they serve that have a media which is governed by a fairly low reading age, I ask myself how can these masses understand or discern their own spiritual text?
My favourite book in the Bible is the Book of Ecclesiastes, I just absolutely love Solomon’s words there, and then a close second is the Book of Proverbs, but most of all I love the message of Jesus and the whole idea that someone died for our sins. I personally don’t focus as much on the resurrection as I do on the Garden of Gethsemane. Here I read about not the physical pain that Jesus endured during his crucifixion but that far greater pain, the pain of being handed a cup of everybody’s else’s faults (which Christians refer to as sins) and being asked to accept the blame. That too me is the most crystallizing and most enlightening moment of the entire Bible for me.
To understand the extent of the profoundness of Jesus asking one last time to have this “cup” removed from him, is to understand how we as individuals cannot accept the blame or criticism for even a minor thing. Look how we jump around and try to strangle each other, either because we were called a name or we are insulted or we are falsely accused. Then I discern in my mind, what would feel like to be falsely accused and handed everybody’s faults and be asked to carry them, in a faultless human being – that thought blows my mind. That kind of character IMHO is sure something great to live up to. Sure the atheists may say that the whole Christian story is a mythology or it is a more refined manner of sun worship, but once I stop the blame game or quieten my own natural cynicism – I then understand from this one act in the Garden what it truly means to turn the other cheek, to take the plank out of ones eye and love one’s enemy.
I will never be a Christian but I will always have a respectful love for Jesus Christ, and I do find the Bible a personal inspiration. All great religions ask of us just one great thing, which is tolerance which goes by the word of Love, but more so one aspect of love, which is Agape Love. There is erotic love, there is paternal love but the love which is the highest of all is known when one understands what discernment really is. I will stick to the faith I was born into most of all because I love my family; and if it is the fact that very few actually enter the Kingdom, then my choice to be who I am maybe my most saving grace.
Saving Grace is not for me to determine or interpret, I simply have to live my life the best that I know how to live it but I am not here to convert anyone, to change a single opinion, I am not here to save the world, or make change happen; I am not here to be the wisest among the wise or develop a following. I am here simply to get on with my own life and develop eyes that can see. Among the most discerning takeaway from the Bible I found was the idea of miracles and how Jesus associates miracles with those who do not believe, in other words Jesus intended to demonstrate only one sign and that one sign was the Sign of Jonah which is what today is about, namely about resurrection. In a way this one great meaning that I can associate with “Man in a Womb”, because the idea of being “born again” is an important one but the difference in “Man in a Womb” is that the idea of born again is an undeveloped question, not an affirmation. That idea is not an expression, it is one that has to be worked daily, it has to be discerned, it has to be lived and above all it is for me the most poignant and most difficult work.
I don’t consider myself a spiritual being, spiritual to me is the active participation in life itself not the blind followers or the sycophants or the cult makers or the brand makers. I do love the words of Christ but my purpose here isn’t to build a church or a movement or be a leader of people, it is to be open minded about other people’s faith’s so I can better explore and learn, whether that book be Vedic, Biblical, Torah discernments, Dhammapadda, Granth, Sufi inspired or the Koran. This is not an intellectual or theological effort, it is a personal effort and by writing this out in my own words, I can begin to see what it is that I am not seeing – from there on, this is a personal journey to understand my own intelligence, and every human being in a free world has that choice to make or decline, by taking personal ownership of their own life journey.