Ever since the dawn of the period called The Enlightenment, most Christians in the West have related to God in one of two ways. God was either a distant clockmaker with no real concern or activity in the sensory world (as the early American deists would have it) or a moral principal or concept of police/judge (to keep everything in order and society humming). No one concerned themselves with the former image in daily living and only the latter one when necessary to keep a clean conscience. Either way, intellectual assent to a set of dogma or laws of the Church was all that was needed. That assent was coined “belief.”
When we look at Western Christianity today, especially the current so-called evangelical Christianity in America, we can begin to perceive why both interpretations of that Holy Mystery who creates, redeems, and transforms missed-the-mark. We have only to see how most of us current Christians actually model our lives after Jesus of Nazareth. The fruit we bear speaks our Truth…not the words we say.
The biggest lie believed is the one that says we are separate from GOD; or that any of creation is separate from GOD. Out of all the “Omnis” we say about GOD, I wonder how we have maintained this falsehood in our psyches for so long. If God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent, why in the world are we so afraid to live in intimate relationship with GOD (i.e., in Grace)? It is our minds that have chosen separation; our souls cannot separate and know better.
As the old obviously Christianity dies a slow and painful death, a new way of living is poised on the horizon to be birthed. It is Christianity as a lifestyle instead of a religion. It is Christianity embodied by its practitioners in the world. It is the actual Beloved Community, conceived not only as peoples, but as all that exists. We finally come to perceive that we are one with the rest of creation in GOD. After all St. Julian of Norwich has said, “We are not just made by GOD, but we are made of GOD.” This realization will finally destroy any reason for us to rape the earth or its people because of this truth. The cross of Christ does– has done this work. But first we must reconnect with God as GOD IS and not as we want GOD to be.
In his fascinating book, THE REBIRTHING OF GOD, John Philip Newell, describes the categories of reconnection needed for GOD to be born anew in the Christian faith. Among them include our need to reconnect with the earth, with light, with spiritual practices, with compassion, with love and with non-violence. He contends that when we reconnect and discover Christ in all these things, we will be born anew, and I believe he is correct in this matter.
As we begin to experience ourselves connected more and more to the eternal ONE that IS, we realize life as we perceived it is bigger, more grace-filled and more delightful than we might have first imagined. As we intentionally reconnect to the whole…to that which is larger than ourselves—we take on an entirely new way of existing in the world and THAT my Friends IS Good News!
So, I have arrived at the conclusion that this being born again thing is a continuing process. We shed the old skin that no longer fits, for new skin that does. As the COVID pandemic moves into its waning life in the world, the previous months of isolation and our new emergence offer us opportunities to come forward as new and different people. I, for one, am looking forward to it!
I am especially excited about our celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection together this year. It is a new day and a new time. The events of the past 12 months have forced me to reconnect in wonderful and different ways. What about you?