Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Gift Stolen" by John Chuchman


Institutional religions strive to make us totally dependent

on external authority;
Protestants, Scripture; Catholics, the Magisterium.
Institutional religions require us to guide our lives
by Scripture as they translate and define it,
and by the Magisterium’s pronouncements with its corner on the Truth.
All this in the face of the True Gift of the Holy Spirit,
all the answers we need deep within.
Scripture and the Magisterium are important sources of Wisdom,
which we should consult in making our life choices,
but ultimately we each have been given the guidance we need,
the gift of the Holy Spirit deep within.
There is a touch of the Divine within us all
and we can connect to that Divinity
within us and within each other.
As opposed to burdening people with even more external rules and regulations,
Jesus spent his life
Freeing People!
He freed the lepers from isolation;
He befriended the morally marginalized;
He ate and drank with the drunkards and prostitutes;
He freed the adulteress from the strict letter of the law;
He tended the unclean, freed the woman in menstruation from disdain;
He freed the tax collector to be one of the chosen;
He accepted the centurion;
He freed the children to come be with him;
He raised women—who had no legal status at all—to full discipleship
entrusting them to spread the Good News
His whole life was spent freeing people from bondage,
bondage of physical ailments, bondage of custom, bondage of law,
self bondage.
Even His parables were designed to free people
from the bondage of their minds,
teaching us that
It is a journey of Unknowing.
Jesus is the Great Liberator.
His sermon on the Mount,
the Beatitudes,
the essence of Christianity,
simple expressions of Love,
also carried important messages
of Freedom.
If Poor in Spirit, we can be free of worldly things,
If we Mourn our losses, we can be free of our pain and anguish,
If Meek, we can be free of our need for power, control, approval,
If we Hunger and Thirst, we can be free of conventional wisdom
and over-identification with any group,
if we are Merciful, we can be free of unforgiveness,
If we are Pure of Heart, we can be free of our minds,
and move into our hearts,
going with Intuition.
If we are Peacemakers, we can be free of results,
if we are willing to Suffer persecution, we can be free of self-possessiveness.
The Beatitudes are not only Gifts of Love,
but also Gifts of Freedom.
The hierarchy of Jesus time,
did not fear Jesus because He healed people;
the establishment feared Jesus
because he went about Freeing People.
By valuing ALL people
and Loving them,
Jesus freed them
from the sense of unworthiness placed on them
by the self-righteous
by the rule makers.
How could they possibly maintain control
if Jesus message of Freedom spread throughout the land.
Take a look at the Virtues
promoted by Institutional Church:
Obedience, Humility, Trust, Forgiveness, Patience, and
Long-Suffering.
They are good qualities and strengths of character.
And are qualities a King wants of his subjects.
But, in and of themselves,
they have no power to move in any outward direction;
they harness no energy to move a group forward;
they hold a group together,
albeit as is.
For change and growth, an entirely different set of Virtues is needed;
Leadership, Truthfulness, Decisiveness, Intelligence,
Inner-Authority, Courage, and Compassion,
qualities Jesus also exhibited throughout his life
by helping to tip the bushels keeping people’s lights hidden.
Jesus life and message
were non-bureaucratic (freeing), inclusive (freeing), and disruptive (freeing)
a threat to the establishment of the day,
and, in fact, to the establishment of today.
It is interesting that Jesus never wanted to be adored,
only emulated.
Is it any wonder
that the hierarchy prefers
we make Jesus an object of adoration,
rather than a person we emulate.
How, indeed, would institutional church be changed
if we all emulated Jesus?
It might not even be needed.

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