Unchurched // A different look at Christianity

The Golden in Golden Rule…..

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Many of us are raised knowing this statement, sometimes called “ The Golden Rule” and many of us associate it with the Bible. While the essence of “The Golden Rule” is in the Bible, every spiritually-based religion centered in love has a similar tenet. Hinduism, Confucianism, and Judaism have their Golden Rule statements as well; basically, don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself. All have a Karmic reference, too. The Bible states we reap what we sow, others state some form of “what goes around, comes around”. Christianity did not corner the market on spiritualism, so why is Christianity marketed as superior to all other journeys?

Christianity has Yeshua (Jesus) at it’s center; God incarnate who took the form of man to restore relationship with man to Himself. I am totally on board with that. And, I believe, all of the other spiritually-based religions of love derived their tenets from the teachings of Yeshua. All civilizations no matter how remote or primitive acknowledge God in some form. The Bible says the Word of God will reach all mankind, and Christianity has taken it upon themselves to bring their form of religion to unsaved man, but is that what God had in mind? Christian missionaries believing they are doing the work of God infiltrate areas they believe to be heathen and build churches, dress the inhabitants in proper church clothes, preach, teach and baptize in an effort to create more cookie-cutter Christians, saved, sealed and delivered to the Almighty. I am not okay with that.

God is not bound by a finite mind like man, and so I believe that God very well may have taken the form of an angelic being or spirit teacher at different times throughout history to teach higher truth to people the world over. Perhaps the teaching was done within the context of  a particular region’s understanding of God? Is it necessary we all adhere to the dogmatic teachings of the church, say the “sinner’s prayer” in order to be saved, or are baptized in water to have relationship with the Divine? For some the answer is “yes”, but others may prefer to take a different path to God. Is one better than another? As long as the goal is relationship with the Creator, the Divine, with God, does it really matter?

Christianity wasn’t an exclusive religion until Constantine declared it so in the 4th Century and all other spiritual paths took a back seat; the perceived superiority of Christianity took hold. Constantine instituted many observances we associate with Christianity, and many people associate with the Bible and Jesus. It was Constantine who declared December 25 the day of Jesus’ birth, Easter, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, and is responsible for Sunday worship and the requisite day of rest. Speculation also exists that Constantine may have used his influence to add his own thoughts and beliefs to the text we know as the Bible. Constantine’s influence on “Christianity” was both good and not-so-good; clearly he helped shift the growing cult of Jesus followers into high gear and established Christianity as the one, true religion in his and many others opinions, but is it the only way to God? I don’t believe it is. The bigger question may be why are we here?

What is man’s purpose? What are we to learn during our earthly lives? In Romans 12:18 Paul says, “ If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people.” (The Complete Jewish Bible) I have been known to include this verse in wedding cards, and I think it demonstrates that God has a sense of humor. When has man ever been able to live in peace with others? The reality is that our mission, should we choose to accept it while we live and breath on this earthly plane, is to learn to live in peace with all of creation. That’s easier said than done, for sure. Some find living in peace with creation easy, others find it challenging at best. So, here we are hanging out on terra firma, doing our best to survive in a world of opposing forces; love vs hate, positive vs negative, life vs death, organization vs chaos, the list goes on and on. And, the fact remains we are still here for a reason, so for those who have ears to hear we are called to come together to bring forth love and peace in an otherwise unloving world. We are here to learn to rise above the opposing forces and seek only love in every situation we encounter, to radiate love toward all without judgment.

Exactly how are we to bring forward love and peace? All work begins with us, inside working outward. Like Paul said, “….to the extent that it depends on you….” One by one, awakened spirit by awakened spirit, we set our intention to live in love and peace with all of creation. The positive energy one person intentions collectively joined with others of like mind and spirit will spread. We who hear and respond will set intention to live from the higher-self subduing ego and putting aside fear of being misunderstood, humiliated, or shunned by those who do not understand, which is no easy task by any means. It will require us to live above the cacophony and chaos of a world driven by ego, which is to say the “I, I, I” mentality. We hear a different drummer, respond to a higher purpose. We may be looked upon as “weird” but that only speaks to the opinion of others. Yeshua did not lend his energy toward the negative opinions of others, rather He spent His time teaching those who would listen and respond.

Yeshua lived by the Golden Rule. One day, according to Matthew and Luke, while Yeshua was in conversation with a religious leader hoping to trap Him into misstating the Torah, Yeshua recited the Shema; the “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength” passage, adding “and love your neighbor as yourself”. The religious leader went on to attempt to argue the smaller point of defining “neighbor”. Living from the ego-self, the religious leader was inciting an argument; Yeshua patiently continued to teach, living above the invite to participate in the shenanigans of the ego. We can learn much from that one interaction; higher-self vs ego-self.

When we choose to live from the ego we often hurt others with words or deeds, we use others as a doormat, put our needs above the needs of others, and wish others ill will. Choosing to live from the spirit-self we seek truth, seek to love and lend a hand, an ear, a shoulder, and seek to do good, to purpose in our hearts to do what is right. There is nothing “mystical” or “weird” about spirit-living.

How do we live from the higher-self? We begin by asking from which self do we generally operate in everyday life? In this way we identify patterns of communication and interaction with others. If the majority of our interactions with others are fraught with vying for the last word in any conversation, needing to be right, judging before truly hearing the heart of another, we are likely living from the ego-self. The power to change how we act in any situation, or in communication with any person lies within our control. Living from the higher-self requires effort to seek the Divine, to fill ourselves from the fount of love and peace found in oneness with the Divine, and practice the wisdom from within. The more challenges we meet from the higher-self, the easier it will become. No task worth undertaking is ever easy, is it?

The Golden Rule is not a tit-for-tat. Regardless of how we are treated by others, living from the spirit requires us to treat others as we would like to be treated without expecting the same from others. We set ourselves up for failure if we expect others to live from the spirit when we have chosen to do so. The only free will, or control available to us is to choose our reactions and words in any interaction with another. The Golden Rule is a good tenet to live by. The question is, do we exercise the rule to ensure better treatment from others, or to seek to do good regardless of the outcome? One leads to disappointment, the other to a spirit-led life…..

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