As some of you may have noticed, I have taken part in on going discussions, both on this blog and others, with regard to Eckhart Toole’s book, “A New Earth”. “A New Earth” echos many of the main themes or perspectives of the “New Age” way of looking at how one can formulate an understanding or methodology that moves us supposedly forward towards the goal of finding spiritual truth and fulfillment. As to whether the “New Age” perspective is the correct perspective, is what the on going discussions have been all about. There are those within the “Christian Community”, and I use that term loosely, that agree and disagree with the New Age or A New Earth approach.
The fact that so many people are finding the New Age approach thought provoking and yes, even gratifying, speaks of the universal need for humanity to find meaning in life beyond the physical plain. And it also speaks of the failure of the Christian Church to fill this obvious need.
I am a Christian and the perspective that I adhere to is that we, i.e., humanity, have been given a revelation from God and that revelation is contained within the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. There are many that agree with me and there are also many who would disagree with me.
Either side of the coin can and often does, make a reasoned case for their particular perspective. The variables that can come into play are many, and criticism, within and without is often justified.
And I wonder, where did the Christian Church and what it stands for go wrong. I believe with all my heart that Jesus did not go wrong, I believe that what He proclaimed and what He exemplified (and still does) has never changed. But we, His followers, His disciples have often gotten it wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, there are millions of individuals and groups within the body of Christ that have exemplified the love of God (and still do), but collectively, historically, we have often fallen short. Sometimes I think that we focus too much on our mental adherence to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and we fail to focus on reaching out in the love of God, accepting others where they are, much like God accepts us where we are and takes us from there to a greater understanding.
Is it wrong to know what you believe and why you believe it? Absolutely not, in fact, it is of necessity, an absolute requirement. Even the New Age perspective, which also has many variables, is, in itself, a belief system or methodology of perspective per sec. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is really simplistic. There are sound reasons why the various creeds came into existence. There are reasons why the Reformation took place and there are sound reasons why divisions continue.
I have always marveled that Jesus did not leave us with any of His personal writings. When you stop and think about it, that in itself is really amazing. From a humanistic perspective, one would think that a person who said that He was an equal with God would lay down the fundamentals in written format, but He didn’t. It almost goes against the grain to leave something of that importance to chance, or perhaps He (Jesus) had a perspective that most of us don’t take to heart. He wasn’t leaving it to chance, He knew what was going to happen and He had no doubt how His message would be dealt with by humanity, even more specifically towards the latter days, so what we are experiencing should not come as a surprise. But still, I can’t help but feel that sometimes we just missed the mark and it does not have to be this way. And yet, maybe it is I that am wrong, maybe human nature being what it is, does paint a picture of perpetual conflict. Consider these words from Jesus as recorded in Luke chapter 12: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
Division within the church was always been problematic and there is a reason for that. The church, that is the collective members of the body of Christ here on earth are imperfect. That would be you and I. The Good News that Jesus came to declare, the sacrifice He made on the cross for our sins, the life He exemplified doing the will of the Father, are all without error. There never has been a man like Jesus again and He was and is truly unique. How we react to the truths that He gave us, has been and continues to be a source of division. At what cost do we move towards unity? When does watering down the Gospel equate to walking away from the truth rather than towards it? If what Jesus proclaimed is the truth, then how can one just focus on things that He said that we can agree on and ignore the rest that may make us uncomfortable?
Christian apologetics is in itself a good thing because it can provide answers to many of the questions we have all thought of at one time or another. But ever here there is variance, even here what is acceptable to one may not be acceptable to another. I don’t see anything wrong in understanding why we as Christians have faith in the written word of God, in fact I think it of paramount importance. But, the way we live our lives, the way we interact with others, the way we offer out God’s love in our dealings with our families and fellow workers and humanity in general is also of equal or even greater importance. If we are to be lights in the darkness, then why do we not shine more brightly?
The more one tries to imitate the way Jesus dealt with people He met, the more we become aware of the distance between His perspective and our own. His work was to do the will of the Father, too often we have our own agenda. This, I believe, is our biggest failing. Do Christian apologetics change non-believers minds, I am sure they have and do, but even more important I suspect is the day to day demonstration of the love of God as defined in Ist Corinthians chapter 13, to our family, our friends and our fellow human beings on this earth. Because, when all is said and done, if I understand 1st Corinthians 13 at all, it is the love that is manifested in all our dealings with others that is pivotal and of utter importance, because no matter what we are doing in response to God’s calling on our life, if we do not do it in love, then we clearly fall short. And yet, I also ponder, is there such a thing as righteous indignation? When Jesus cleared the Temple because they had made it into a den of thieves, was this an act of love on Jesus part? I think it was, love towards His Father in what had been subverted from one representation into another. Maybe our understanding of the demonstration of love needs to be critically reviewed.
For the time being, it is my perspective that different perspectives will always be a reality, the magnitude of the number of those who hold different perspectives, is limited only by our willingness to serve God in truth and in spirit.