New Big Picture Needed for Christianity

Oct 23, 2020 by

New Big Picture Needed for Christianity

Here’s the Introduction to my latest book, Christianity Expanding: Into Universal Spirituality, available on Amazon.

Big pictures need a framework to hold them. The framework that held Christianity for 1500 years was the medieval worldview of God as a supreme being who was in charge of our fate and the occurrences that happened in our daily life. If the crops were good, God was pleased with us. If we won a war, God was on our side. If there was a flood, God was punishing us. It was a simple, graspable, understandable concept for times when the vast majority of humanity had no education and were illiterate. This framework retained power in the hands of the few: the leaders, the priests, the religious hierarchy. But, in the West, along came the Reformation in the sixteenth century and then the Enlightenment in the seventeenth. This influx of creative energy brought the printing press, new scientific understanding, education and a huge challenge to the medieval viewpoint. For the last 500 years, this has been working out in society, with huge upheavals, revolutions and developments. Science has taken over from religious dogma, and has developed its own dogma of scientific materialism. Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds to the stage of world domination. Astronomy has emerged from and eclipsed astrology. Christianity has stuck, largely, to its medieval framework. This still works for some, who remain in the churches, defending the sandcastle on the beach against the incoming tide. And there are many parts of the world where the medieval worldview still exists, along with the feudal system, and Christianity flourishes there in that mindset.

But for those of us who have woken up to the pulsating energetic universe, with all its size and utter complexity, we need a bigger framework. Christian theology has to have a larger cosmology in which it can begin to explore new meanings and paths in order to make sense of the present and future of humanity. Science is now telling us that everything is energetically interconnected in one interpenetrating whole and holographic universe. We are One with a Whole that is so vast, so complex, so far beyond our understanding that we find it difficult to believe that this One Life, this One Consciousness could concern itself with us. But we are part of that One Consciousness. Our minds are part of the Great Mind. Our very form, our bodies, our emotions, our thoughts are part of that Whole. We are individually held in being as drops within the ocean of God.

That is the bigger framework that I believe Christianity, and all other religious beliefs and spiritualities, are moving into, slowly and haltingly. The framework has been held down through the centuries by a tradition that goes by a number of names – the Perennial Philosophy, the Ageless Wisdom, Esoteric Philosophy. Strands of it can be traced back to the Greek philosophers, to the early Hindu texts, to the Egyptian mystery religions. It is there in the Jewish Kabbalah and the writings of the Christian mystics. It is esoteric in that it has been veiled, hidden within the traditions, like an underground stream of living water flowing until it emerges from the rock. Revd Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault describes it nicely in the introduction to her book The Wisdom Way of Knowing.

When I use the term Wisdom, I am designating a precise and comprehensive science of spiritual transformation that has existed since the headwaters of the great world religions and is in fact their common ground… The Wisdom cosmology is bold, spacious and remarkably contemporary… It’s remarkable how, no matter what spiritual path you pursue, the nuts and bolts of transformation end up looking pretty much the same; surrender, detachment, compassion, forgiveness. Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Sufi, or a sannyasin, you will still go through the same eye of the needle to get where your true heart lies…

Through a series of books, I plan to explore the application of this larger cosmology to Christianity. In this first book, I am setting the scene for further writing to enlarge the exploration. It is set out in six short chapters, each one setting out something of the challenge to traditional Christian doctrine and theology that developed in the first thousand years after Jesus the Christ walked the land. At the end of each chapter are questions for reflection, a practice to try out, and recommended books and website for further study.

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