Jesus

Jesus would not support the Refugee and Muslim Ban

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I am not one of those people who likes to speak for Jesus on current affairs, but when I saw this video by two people who have obviously never read the Gospels or they would  have never said that Jesus would not support the poor and the outcast.

To Heal the Broken

The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed, And to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
— Jesus, Luke 4:17-21, cf Isaiah 61:1

The poor, the broken, the captives, the crushed, these are the ones Jesus was sent to heal, release, and deliver.  We as Christ's Body (Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12-27, Eph 3:6; 5:23, Col 1:18,24.) are to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord's work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor 15:58)."  I cannot imagine anyone who typifies that description and our work more than a refugee from a war torn region, especially when 51.1 % are under age 17 with 38.5 %  younger than 12 years old (Fact Check.org).

Jesus went so far as to say that the difference between going to heaven or hell hinges on how we treat people like this.

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then will he sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell them on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ The King will answer them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Then will he say also to them on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ Then will they also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not help you?’ Then will he answer them, saying, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn’t do it to one of these least, you didn’t do it to me.’
— Jesus, Matthew 25:31-45

When I see how we are treating these hungry, thirsty strangers in need of clothes and shelter; these people imprisoned in refugee camps, I weep at how we are treating the Lord so many of us claim to follow.  That picture of the little boy drowned on the beach is Christ crucified again for the sins of the world.  That poor child pulled from the rubble in Aleppo bleeding from his head wears a crown of thorns as the world mocks and spits on our God.

Anyone claiming to be a Christian who can look at these refugees who have been vetted for 1 to 2 years (Politifact) while living in limbo and not see the face of Jesus Christ is defying the Lord.  There is no other way a believer can see it.

The truth is the Jesus taught by so many so called Christian leaders is not the Son of the Living God.  He is a fiction they invented to preach fear and politics over the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  If we are serious about our faith, we have to seek the Kingdom of our Father before our own wants and desires.  

The Problem with Prophets

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It is hard to tune into "Christian" media these days without encountering a self proclaimed prophet.  They all claim to hear the voice of God, yet they all have different messages many contradict each other.  There is one consistent point in all their proclamations, if you give them money, you will get rich.

These "prophets" then turn to their own lives as an example of how this divine pyramid scheme works.  How amazing! If you tell people to send you money so they will get rich, you will get rich; then somehow you get rich off the backs of the poor who send you their hard earned money.  That is not a miracle. It is little more than vile theft from the poor to line your own pockets.

So what happens if you get caught and imprisoned for embezzling money from your so called religious institution?  What do you do when you have been exposed as a fraud who is only interested in lining your own pockets?  You scare people into giving you money. Manufacturing fake crises and lying about future mayhem so you can sell disaster preparedness kits.  How do you justify your lies in the name of God to enrich yourself?

September 2015 was supposed to be the end, with violence and collapse in the Great convergence (see here, here, here, and here). The world did not end. The earthquake didn't come. The stock market did not crash. You scared people in the Name of God to buy buckets of freeze dried food.  You invited your followers to party as the world is falling apart.  

You did this to line your own pockets with ill gotten gains stolen through fear from your followers.

Oh, if only you were the only one who worshiped Money over the Lord of Life!

The God and Father of Jesus Christ is not the God of Fear and Division!

True Fear of the Lord or Yirah is trembling awe in the face of God's Power and Nature, it is not scaring the money out of people's pockets to line your own.  We believers have no reason to fear.

If you don't believe me, listen to Christ:

Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will put on. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? Which of you, by being anxious, can add one cubit to the measure of his life? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.
— Jesus, Matthew 6:25-34

And since some prefer the words of Paul over those of Christ:

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
— Paul, Philippians 4:6-7

It couldn't be clearer.  Fear paralyzes, but faith drives action. If you knew the God and Father of Jesus Christ, you would know that we serve a God who is Love, Compassion, however you want to translate the Greek.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love. By this was God’s love revealed in us, that God has sent his only born Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever will confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God. We know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this love has been made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love.
— John, 1 John 4:7-18

The God you proclaim is not the Father of Jesus Christ.  There is no love in your words, there is only fear.  Fear flees from the prayerful life of a disciple of Christ who meditates day and night on the Nature of God and lives through the power of the Divine Energies flowing through them.  You proclaim nothing but Pride, Fear, and Envy, and the punch line is always the same.  Give us your money, only we can save you.  In your actions, your god is revealed.

You Preachers of Fear worship God Money

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.
— Jesus, Matthew 6:24

Woe to you who fleece your followers in service of the Mighty Dollar while proclaiming the Name of Jesus.  I beg of you, cast this darkness from your heart. Only the vilest beast stokes the fears of others to take their money from them. I know you will not hear these words, and if you do, you will simply mock them.

I ask the community of the faithful to rise up against you, and show their friends and family why you do not deserve their money.  You are liars and frauds.  You bring nothing but harm into this world, but the Power of God lives through the faithful and through our love, we will cast out your fear. 

The Law is abolished and we are One People in Christ Jesus

As we continue our study in the fourth of the Five Powers, Concentration (samādhi), we need to dig deeper into the revelation and wisdom we seek from the Holy Spirit.  As we dig deeper into the mystery, we see the work of Reconciliation that Christ has performed through the Cross and the Shedding of his Precious Blood.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility
— Eph 2:14-16

Christ is our Peace

In the broken duality of the world, there were two types of people in the world, the Children of the Promise and the Children of Wrath.  The Children of the Promise were the descendants of Abraham.  The only way to enter the promise was to be born into the tribe, or to submit oneself to the Law of Moses, given by men and angels (De 4:14; Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2), but Christ put an end to the Law, did away with the Commandments, annulled obligations, and abolished the requirements of the Law, and set us free to live according to the Spirit.

Jesus was crucified for blasphemy (Matt 26:65-66; Mark 14:63-64; Luke 22:71). The Law condemned God to death for blasphemy showing how it had departed from God. So at the crucifixion, the veil of the temple was ripped in two (Matt 27:51). We were exchanged from the  law of Moses and saved by the life Christ taught us to live.  All people are recreated in Christ into one people. 

Through this mystery, we see that there are no real differences between people.  The only differences that exist are the ones we pretend are there.  Our imagination can make these seem and feel real, but they are illusions we create to preserve our sense of separateness, and often superiority.

As we learn to see the One Christ that holds all things together, we learn to see how the suffering of others is our suffering.  Another person's pain is our pain, and their healing is our healing.

We are the body of Christ.  It is our mission and duty to work out this reconciliation in the world and to be a constant voice for peace.

Peace is the Central act of the Christian life.

Christ restored us to live as the Image of God in this world.  He made peace between us and God.  We continue this work by first making peace with ourselves, and then with our neighbors.

We experience this mystery through meditation, where we enter the peace of God at the Gate of Zion.  This peace is the root of compassion for ourselves and others.

As we live our lives, we must learn to allow the voice of Christ to speak through us.  The voice of Christ is peace and compassion.  Everything that goes against peace and compassion eclipses the Light of God, and becomes a stumbling block.

Concentration (samādhi) is the strength to stand against this darkness.  We develop concentration through meditation and mindfulness.  The more we keep the realities and facts of life before us, the more we will see the pains and problems that are the real roots of the situations we face in life.  We must develop a mindful awareness of the circumstances others live within.  Once we understand the pain at the root of the problem, we can begin to develop a salve for the issue.

Concentration is the Gate to Zion, and the revelation and wisdom of Christ

This week, we begin our study on Concentration (samādhi), this is the still, focused mind we develop through meditation and mindful living.  It is the 4th of the 5 powers, and a strong tool in our awakening to God and things as they are.

Mindfulness develops Concentration, and Concentration causes us to experience the deep interconnectedness of all things and the basic joy and peace that is our natural state.  In this state of Concentration, we are closest to the Holy Spirit, and are most capable of hearing the Still, Small Voice of God, our gentle and subtle Guide.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
— Eph 1: 15-17

A Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation of Christ

Wisdom is the gentle guidance of the Unseen, as well as deep understanding of our own interconnectedness.  Revelation is the naked awareness of things as they are, when the veils are pulled back and we see things clearly.

What is it that we are trying to see?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
— Colossians 1:15-20 (NASB)

Christ Jesus is the creator of all things.  From the laws of physics to the subtle energies of our psyche, all things were created through him and for him.  He is the One holding all things together.  Any and all experiences of the sublime interconnectedness and interbeing of all things is a direct experience of Christ.

Have you looked out at a starry night or the dawn breaking over a hill and felt this connection to all things?  If you have, you experienced Christ.  In meditation, and we focus our awareness, and the artificial walls drop away, and we feel ourselves connected to the cosmos in the place of peace and unity.  That is an experience of Christ.

Through our Lord, all things are reconciled because on the cross, Jesus stood in the gap between life and death, faith and doubt, hope and fear.  Choose any pair of opposites and you will find them in the crucifixion.  But he did not just stand there, he transcended them all.  In that singular moment of sacrifice, he demonstrated and conquered the strained duality of the world, and opened the way for the reconciliation of all things in him.

In our walk with God, we seek to live this wisdom, and behold this marvelous revelation that all things are interconnected. 

This is the Gate to Zion

As we awake to this wisdom through these revelations of the interbeing of all things, we start to learn how to live in the kingdom.  We see that how we treat everyone and everything has an effect on us.  We stop living the lie of separateness.

Life in Zion is living in the revelation that we are all interconnected, and reconciling all things to the whole.  This is the path of Peace and Compassion.  This is the wellspring of Courage that can conquer all fear.

Sit, meditate.  Focus on your breathing, and gently return your focus every time it wanders.  Enter the Gate.  Enter the peace that passes all understanding.  Invite Christ into your heart, and live in his Sacred Heart.  This is the path.  This is Salvation.  Not only for our souls, but for the whole world.

What happened at the Crucifixion of Christ

When I originally posted about this January 15, 2008, a lot of people wrote in with questions.  The inquiry is important.

For Christians and non-christians alike, the common question asked is, "Why did Jesus have to die? Was Jesus’ death a sacrifice to an angry God, or was it something else?"  Fundamentalists have their answer, and people are more familiar with it.

Blasphemous movies like The Passion of the Christ proclaim quite loudly, that Jesus death was some sort of Divine torture porn.  A spiteful little god needed to see suffering and bloodshed to appease his wrath.  They say that Jesus had to die because of the Law written by men and angels (De 4:14; Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2).  It is true that this law charged and condemned God with Blasphemy for saying that he is God.  So the question they should be asking is, was Jesus killed to satisfy Moses and the Angels.

Whether or not Jesus died as a human sacrifice to a God of Wrath all blood boils down to the answer to one question very important to the answer to a single question:

If there was no sin, would Jesus have been crucified?

The Orthodox answer is yes. On the Cross, Jesus stood on the threshold to mediate between us and God. Now follow me closely. On the cross, he stands between live and death, faith and doubt, hope and fear, pain and release, God and humanity. In this singular act, he mediates between all these opposites and shows the way to Life. The cross is the gate to the sheepfold.

Christ is the Word of God, nailed up as an edict from the Eternal Father for us to read and therein find the Son of Man and the Son of God pointing us to our true Humanity and the true Divinity.

Christ is the manifest book of Life in which the Mind of God is made know. “This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross (The Gospel of Truth).”

This is the glory of God, that in seeing Christ crucified, all of our fears and doubts are brought out of us. We fear death, yet we look upon the one who died and yet lived. We fear pain, yet we look upon one who was nailed to a cross. We fear that God will forsake us, yet we hear God cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” All of our fears become clear at the cross.
In the Round Dance of the Cross, we see Jesus after the last supper signing a hymn of praise and dancing with his disciples. In the Hymn he sings, he declares the pairs of opposites that he mediates between. It is in these paradoxes that we find the mystery of the Cross. From death, many are born.

Jesus on the the cross, returns the Tree of Life to those who will eat its fruit.

This is the tree of unity, where the pairs of opposites are knit together.

The idea of Christ sacrificed for moral outrages that offend God is not an idea found in the gospels. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, not the sins of the world (John 1:29). The sin of the world is that we forget God.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Rom 1: 16-21).

These verse are often taken out of their context to make a moralistic argument that Paul was not. The point of the text is that through Christ crucified, the knowledge of God is given through faith to those who believe. Those who do not have darkened their hearts to the light of God.
Behold, Jesus hung on the Tree of Life as its first fruit.

The Crucifixion offends our senses in every way.

We like things to make sense. Why did Christ have to die? To show us the way to the Father by demonstrating the way between all of the pairs of opposites that frighten us and distract us from God.

In the Crucifixion, we see our lives and our deaths. We see all of our hopes and fear coexisting as they do in life. Peace, ground luminance, basic goodness, what ever you want to call it exists at the same time as the horror of our life.

Suddenly, we realize that when Christ called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was singing the twenty-second Psalm. He was praising the God that would lift him up.
Once we see the way through the pairs of opposites, we sing:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Gal 2:20-21)."

On the cross he unfurled the edict of the Eternal Father, so the invisible, unknown God may now be known.

"Now, none can say that they have found God, for it is through Christ that God is made manifest to us all. None can boast that they have found the truth, and they agree with the apostle:  God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Gal 6:14)."

Annunciation and Consecration

Me making a Rosary in my Grandparents' living room in 1995

19 years ago, I consecrated myself to the Blessed Mother.  At the time, it was both the hardest and the easiest choice I have ever made.

I was raised Baptist, we never taught about the Saints or the Blessed Mother accept in passing.

I had lost my faith the previous year, and became a secret atheist.  I couldn't believe in a God that hated me, and whose followers were such self righteous hypocrites.  I hated God.  I hated the Church, and more than anything, I hated myself.

One night, in the December of 1994, I decided to kill myself.  It wasn't a rash decision.  I had made pro and con tables and given it a lot of thought, and believed the best thing I could do was end my life.  Through a series of circumstances I cannot fathom to this day, I stumbled on a copy of The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis De Montfort.  In one of the introductory chapters, he wrote:

If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins “you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.” Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul, if - and mark well what I say - if you say the Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.
— St Louis De Montfort, Secret of the Rosary

All my life I was told that God hated me, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I was curious how this Rosary could do anything.  So, I read through the whole book.  I was moved to my core, but I didn't have a rosary.  I counted the beads on my fingers and recited my first rosary.

Something changed within me.  I felt a love that I never thought could be real.  I cried myself to sleep that night.

I hunted down all of his books, including The Secret of Mary and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In these books, St Louis recommends a 33 day preparation and a Total and True Consecration to the Blessed Mother.  I chose the Feast of the Annunciation for my consecration day, and started my preparation.

The Feast of the Annunciation

Through this process, and over the years that followed, I have learned many things about the Annunciation of Our Lord.

Did it happen?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!  I get so tired of people who do not understand spirituality asking questions about metaphysical truth in history.  Historical truth is a beautiful thing, but life is affected  by stories not events.

If we ask, "Exactly what happened to Mary on that day 2000 years ago?" We have fallen off the path.  Did she see an angel?  just hear a voice?  How exactly did she conceive the child?  All of these questions are distractions.  They draw our eyes away from the story which tells us a poor young Jewish girl, surrounded by oppression and poverty conceived a Child not from this world.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
— John 3:5

A biological child is born into a world where survival of the fittest is the only law.  Her Child is the Son of the Most High, who seeks compassion over survival and power.  No one who lives only by the flesh can enter the kingdom of God, which is compassion, light, and justice.  Mary's Son would be different:

And Mary said : “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave ; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. He has done mighty deeds with His arm ; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS ; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
— Luke 1:46-55

The Angel's Annunciation is for you

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you-
— Galatians 4:19

The call to give birth to the Son of God still goes out to this day.  The difference is, no longer does an angel deliver the message, but Christ himself:  "Behold, I stand at the door and knock ; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20)."

Open the door, and let Jesus into your heart.  Awaken to the interconnectedness of all things.  Lift up the low.  Raise up those who need your help to stand.  Have the courage to live in the Light.  Walk in Compassion and Justice.

Sisters and Brothers, turn your heart toward the One who holds all things together and walk the path of Spirit until Christ Jesus is born through you into the world.  You are not alone.  In the Matrix of the Blessed Mother who molded the Christ, we will be formed into the perfect and true Image of God.

How do we do this, we follow the example of our Blessed Mother:

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
— Luke 1:38
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
— Jesus, John 15:10-17

The Crucifixion of Christ

Why did Jesus have to die? Was Jesus' death a sacrifice to an angry God, or was it something else?

Whether or not Jesus died as a human sacrifice to a God of Wrath all blood boils down to the answer to one question very important to the answer to a single question: If there was no sin, would Jesus have been crucified?

The Orthodox answer is yes. On the Cross, Jesus stood on the threshold to mediate between us and God. Now follow me closely. On the cross, he stands between live and death, faith and doubt, hope and fear, pain and release, God and humanity. In this singular act, he mediates between all these opposites and shows the way to Life. The cross is the gate to the sheepfold.

Christ is the Word of God, nailed up as an edict from the Eternal Father for us to read and therein find the Son of Man and the Son of God pointing us to our true Humanity and the true Divinity.

Christ is the manifest book of Life in which the Mind of God is made know. “This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross (The Gospel of Truth).”


This is the glory of God, that in seeing Christ crucified, all of our fears and doubts are brought out of us. We fear death, yet we look upon the one who died and yet lived. We fear pain, yet we look upon one who was nailed to a cross. We fear that God will forsake us, yet we hear God cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" All of our fears become clear at the cross.

In the Round Dance of the Cross, we see Jesus after the last supper signing a hymn of praise and dancing with his disciples. In the Hymn he sings, he declares the pairs of opposites that he mediates between. It is in these paradoxes that we find the mystery of the Cross. From death, many are born.

Jesus on the the cross, returns the Tree of Life to those who will eat its fruit. This is the tree of unity, where the pairs of opposites are knit together.

The idea of Christ sacrificed for moral outrages that offend God is not an idea found in the gospels. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, not the sins of the world (John 1:29). The sin of the world is that we forget God.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Rom 1: 16-21).


These verse are often taken out of their context to make a moralistic argument that Paul was not. The point of the text is that through Christ crucified, the knowledge of God is given through faith to those who believe. Those who do not have darkened their hearts to the light of God.

Behold, Jesus hung on the Tree of Life as its first fruit.

The Crucifixion offends our senses in every way. We like things to make sense. Why did Christ have to die? To show us the way to the Father by demonstrating the way between all of the pairs of opposites that frighten us and distract us from God.

In the Crucifixion, we see our lives and our deaths. We see all of our hopes and fear coexisting as they do in life. Peace, ground luminance, basic goodness, what ever you want to call it exists at the same time as the horror of our life.

Suddenly, we realize that when Christ called out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" He was singing the twenty-second Psalm. He was praising the God that would lift him up.

Once we see the way through the pairs of opposites, we sing:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Gal 2:20-21).


On the cross he unfurled the edict of the Eternal Father, so the invisible, unknown God may now be known.

Now, none can say that they have found God, for it is through Christ that God is made manifest to us all. None can boast that they have found the truth, and they agree with the apostle:

God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Gal 6:14).

Epiphany and Mystery of God

 We have followed the star to the new born Christ, and behold the one in whom God is made manifest to the world. We stand by the river Jordan and watch the skies open as the dove descends upon our Lord. We drink the wine at the wedding at Cana and marvel at the one who produced it. We celebrate the revelation of the Lord.

This is the day when we remember the revelation of God to humankind, but how can we celebrate the revelation the one who:

Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne (PS 97:2).


This is the God of whom Solomon says:

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter (Pr 25:2).


While I do not believe that anyone can every describe or define God in any great detail, I believe that God can be found be those who seek him out. All religion is an attempt for us to put these experiences in words. God is hidden from us by the minutia of our lives. Anyone can find God by relaxing, and coming to the present moment fully aware. This is the glory of mindfulness.

Creation Spirituality talks about the four paths to encountering God. As Matthew Fox answers the question, "Where can God be found?"

 In the Via Positiva. In awe, wonder, and mystery of nature and all beings, each of whom is a ‘word of God,’ a ‘mirror of God that glistens and glitters,’ as Hildegard of Bingen put it. This is Path One (Creation Spirituality 18)


This is the path most people find to God. Sitting in the awe of nature, we feel our interconnectedness with all things. This interbeing is the purest connection we have with the Divine.

We can find God in music, art, or anything that instills within us a deep sense of Awe.

Where else can God be found?

“In the Via Negativa. In darkness and nothingness, in the silence and emptying, in the letting go and letting be, and in the pain and suffering that constitute an equally real part of our spiritual journey. This is Path Two (Creation Spirituality 18).”


This is the path of the Buddha- the path of silence meditation. Most of us what to reject this aspect of life, but it is an equal part of existence, and the most universal.

The Buddha himself reminds us of the only things we can ever know for sure, that we exist and that we are interconnected with all things. There is not an atom in our body that did not come from another creature, plant, or long lost star. It is in this lack of separate self that we find the Ground of All Being.

Where else can God be found?

“In the Via Creativa. In our generativity we co-create with God; in our imaginative output, we trust our images enough to birth them and ride them into existence. This is Path Three (Creation Spirituality 18).”


This is the path of Rumi- the path of art and co-creation. The Via Creativa is the very beating heart of the sacrament of Art as Meditation. In trusting our own creativity, we come closer to God. We learn how to be bearers of Christ into the world like those who came before us.

"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (Gal 4:19)," as the apostle said, we find God through trusting our generatively.

Where else can God be found?

“In the Via Transformativa. In the relief of suffering, in the combating of injustice, in the struggle for homeostasis, for balance in society and history, and in the celebration that happens when persons struggling for justice and trying to live in mutuality come together to praise and give thanks for the gift of being and being together. This is Path Four (Creation Spirituality 18).”


This is the path of Gandhi and Dr King, the path of satyagraha. In community and common cause, when find God. As David prayed, “Yours, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all (1Chr 29:11).” Wherever we see greatness, we see God. Wherever we see glory, power, victory, or majesty, we see God. When ever we see love, charity, grace, mercy or any of the Divine attributes, we see God.

These are the paths to God we have learned, the paths that we walk every day. They are as natural as breathing. There is nothing more simple than our experiences of God and learning to trust them.

The Word God Reimagined

 In Christ Jesus, the world met someone who radically challenged their views of God. The God of Jesus is something the world had never seen before.

He is our Daddy, or Abba as Jesus called him. This God is so close and dear to us that we can call him Daddy. This is very different from the aloof, distant gods the were discussed previously.

This God cares about how we treat one another, and not in a legalistic or moralistic way that previous visions of God had described. The God of Jesus judges us by how we treat the unfortunate, the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned, and the homeless.

In Jesus himself, this caring God is met in a very real and powerful way.

Jesus, Son of God

 Domine Iesu Christe, Filii Dei, miserere mei, peccatoris.


Lately, I have noticed that the Jesus Prayer has been spontaneously popping out of my mouth. I don't even notice that it is happening until it is happening.

It has become so common to refer to Jesus as the Son of God that I think most of us have never stopped to consider what it means.

McLaren suggests that the phrase "Son of God" is the same as saying "Embodying God (80)," or "Embodying the Essence of God (80)." But it is almost as important to ask what the word God means before we can discover the meaning of "Son of God."

Rabbi David A. Cooper found the most brilliant way I have ever seen to discuss God:

"The closest we can come to thinking about God is as a process rather than a being. We can think of it as 'be-ing,' as verb rather than noun. Perhaps we would understand this concept better if we renamed God. We might call It God-ing... [Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi] suggests that God-ing is a mutually interactive verb, one which entails an interdependency between two subjects, each the object of the other (God is a Verb, 69).


When we begin to think about God in this way, then what does that mean about Jesus as Son of God. If "Son of God" means "Embodying God," then Jesus is the embodiment of this mutually interactive being. or as McLaren puts it:

God is "a unified, eternal, mysterious, relational community/family/society/entity of saving Love (85)."


If we look at Jesus, his life and his teachings, it is plain and easy to see that he is the embodiment of this God. Nothing can ever be more clear.

The Jesuses I have Known

I have been reading Brian D. McLaren's, a Generous Orthodoxy, and it has really been making me think a lot about my faith. At the end of each chapter, he asks numerous questions, and I have been learning a lot about the faith I actually believe.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing with you my answers to his questions. I invite and encourage you to read the book and share your answers too. We discern the voice of the Spirit in the witness of the faithful.

McLaren begins by talking about the Many Jesuses he has known in his life. I thought I should use his labels (and one of mine) and share my own story.

The Conservative Protestant Jesus


I grew up in a Baptist home. My grandfather and great grandfather were both Baptist ministers. I used to go up to talk about the Bible with my great grandmother all the time. I would read the story and we would talk about the text. In many ways, some of my happiest and most disturbing memories of religion come from this period of my life.

The happy memories are all with my family and Brother John. The disturbing ones are memories I don't like to dwell on for very long. I attended a Baptist school... the teachers prided themselves on scaring the children. They constantly threatened us with corporal punishment, and gruesome stories about the tortures of hell that awaited us if we did not behave exactly as we were told... The other more despicable things they did, I will not go into.

The Pentecostal/Charismatic Jesus


 The next phase of my life started after we moved to Maryland and I saw Pat Robertson on the TV for the first time. I was young, and the God he talked about was God of Magic and Might. It was easy to how this cosmic Super Savior would appeal to a young kid. This Jesus is not only superheroic, but he will include you in his circle of super friends. It was like magic, and I wanted that magic so bad. There was only one problem: I am gay.

I have known this since I was about 7 or 8, but I never new what the word for it was until Pat Robertson defined the word and said that all people like that were going to hell... Imagine my horror. The Baptist school I used to go to had burned images of hell into my mind.

This initiated what was for me the worst period of self-loathing, an act I was assured made me pious. I often thought about killing myself. If God hated people like me, maybe God would reward me if I took myself out. It all seemed so natural.

One night, I decided to do it. I went into the kitchen to get a knife to do the deed, but luckily I met:

The Roman Catholic Jesus


 Over the silverware drawer, I found a copy of a book my cousin gave me, The Secret of the Rosary, by St Louis de Montfort. The preface of the Black Rose promised that even the darkest sorcerer with one foot in hell could be saved if they said the Rosary faithfully. So instead of killing myself, I prayed the Rosary for the first time in my life.

It was amazing. I began to pray it everyday and read the other works by St Louis de Montfort. Soon I was asked to leave the small nondenominational church that I attended for wearing a crucifix. I started taking classes and walking to church every Sunday for Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

I would often go up to the Shrine of St Elizabeth Anne Seton to pray.

The Charismatic Catholic Jesus


One summer, I went to live with my sister in Pennsylvania to watch my niece. While I was there I encountered the Charismatic Catholic movement. It was amazing. I will never forget the profound experiences I had that summer.

Imagine the ritualism of Catholicism and the exuberance of Pentecostalism mixed together into a single thing. This summer changed my life.

The Eastern Orthodox Jesus


 By the end of the Summer I found the Philokalia and the Way of the Pilgrim. I began saying the Jesus Prayer in addition to the Rosary, and hunting down more books on the Eastern Orthodox faith.

What impressed me the most was with the way one book answered the question: if Adam and Eve had never tasted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, would Jesus have still been crucified?

The answer was amazing to me. Yes, it is in the crucifixion that Christ was hung on the border of faith and doubt, hope and fear, life and death- at the very transit of every pair of opposites and points the way to God through it all. Wow! The Crucifixion as a love letter to humankind. How refreshing.

The Liberal Protestant Jesus


As was almost inevitable I began my own quest for the historical Jesus. I read everything I could get my hands on. The numerous gospels and works of the early church. I began studying the various expressions of the early church as it struggled to express their encounter with the Risen Christ.

I was amazed that doctrine was regional. Creeds varied so much from place to place as did the books that were considered Scripture. I began to see these expressions as a mosaic. The more disillusioned I became with the church, the more attracted I was to the God of Paul Tillich, Bishop Spong, and Marcus Borg.

The Jesus of the Oppressed


 Then I discovered Matthew Fox. His writings about the Cosmic Christ and Creation Spiritually completely transformed me and my faith. In his call for a new reformation, I found my spiritual home. This Jesus speaks with the same voice as the one I meet in the gospels, and helps me to Live God into the world every day.

These are the Seven Jesuses I have known in my life. They are different from the ones McLaren met in his life, but the lessons that I took away are very similar. It left me looking for a relational Divinity who is truly present with me in my life.