JUST finished my Tuesday morning coffee session when a senior gentleman pushed a smallish leaflet into my hand.
As soon as I saw the words ‘gospel’ and ‘salvation’, I got the message.
“You are way off,” I said unhelpfully. “Which group are you from?”
“Plymouth Brethren,” he replied.
“Way off, ” I added, no notable improvement on my first comment.
I instantly felt a little guilty – perhaps I should have spent a little time to explain my point. After all, I’m quick to criticise the way people who seem unable to argue their case these days without resorting to slogans and/or abuse.
A guilt tempered by the fact we were both standing in the middle of the road in Loughborough at the time – but you get my point.
Anyway, here is my response – a more considered one.
There was plenty of truth and wisdom in the leaflet that somehow contrived to link the Normandy D Day landings with the birth and mission of Jesus Christ but, through the limited light I have encountered, I beg to differ in several important ways.
Jesus himself reportedly said: “By their fruits you shall know them.” The Plymouth Brethren are a reclusive cult, best known (by me anyway) for not allowing their children to watch TV.
In short, their lives seem bound in a religious prison – can’t do that, can’t do this, certainly none of the other unless it is with an equally tied-in-knots partner and they have the right certificate!
Is that the way the creator of all things, the light of the universe, Almighty God, or whatever name you wish to use, wants us to live?
He or she, must be a ‘he’ because I wouldn’t expect a ‘she’ to be so unenlightened, didn’t put us on this planet under an almost universal embargo on experiencing anything, let alone enjoying ourselves?
Religion, as the derivation of its name implies, is all about rules; spirituality, with which it is so often confused, is all about freedom.
The irony is that I was once handing out similar leaflets. I was very vocal in my beliefs and very lacking in judgement in how I spread them.
That gives me considerable sympathy and empathy with evangelists still on the same never ending road.
Christians, by and large, sing the same things, say the same things and live the same way as they always have. It’s like missing 1,000 episodes of Corrie and instantly being able to catch up because nothing of real significance has happened. I left my main church in 1991 but I guarantee it’s still going round in ever decreasing circles.
The main reason is their concrete belief in The Bible as the Word of God. The process of enlightenment begun and ended around 2,000 years ago – someone turned off the light and they’ve been swimming in the dark ever since.
I’m being a little cruel – I sill know some lovely Christians, the very best of human beings – but sometimes you have to state things exactly the way you see them.
Jesus was amazing, brilliant, almost certainly from another dimension. But when he told us that the ‘Kingdom of Heaven is in you’ – he actually meant ‘in’ everyone and not just those who sign up for a life of religious restriction.
The Bible is laced with stories and symobolism replicated in other religious traditions. Even the birth from a virgin’s womb and resurrection after three days were written of well before Christians had their say.
This is how I read it: disagree, if you wish, infact I hope you do – because you will be using your own mind and judgement, just as you’d expect from intelligent beings.
World history is divided into two chapters – live and evil (please note this is merely an inversion).
I’m not saying Adam and Eve existed – that’s not the point – but human beings were put on this planet to ‘live’ in a completely different environment to the one we experience today.
No disease, decay or death, communication by thought as well as words and advancements in technology far outstripped what we think of as cutting edge today.
We were in touch with ourselves – the spring of life that is the universe – and resources were plentiful. No need for anyone to go without.
Then something happened. The Bible calls it ‘the fall of man’ and there’s a story about an ark in there somewhere.
I believe something very significant happened in the heavens. Allow me to explain.
The moon, as we know it, has NOT always been there. Scientists know that as near established fact. But it’s subsequent influence on our planet is partly recognised. We have just not been told the full picture.
From that point on – and time isn’t necessarily helpful here, as it’s only a human construct – we were largely cut off from our true source. Our world became inverted, it’s values turned upside down.
Instead of looking ‘within’ for guidance and wisdom, mankind began to seek answers from outside. The world became blighted by illness and death, even the beauty and majesty of sex became tainted, we started to grab resources rather than share, fight rather than love.
And our worship turned to what The Bible terms ‘the god of this world’ – Lucifer.
He, the story goes, was a beautiful angel, cast out from heaven due to his rebellion to wreak havoc on our world.
Symbolically, at least, that makes perfect sense.
People read of the God of the Old Testament and come up with all sorts of excuses and theories to try to square him with our instinctive idea of a God of love, the ‘father’ figure Jesus spoke of.
The OT version is clearly a god of war, division, jealousy and hatred. The extent of violence makes a modern bloodthirsty death fest look positively tame.
In short, our world has been ‘hacked’, akin to a computer virus. This isn’t the way things are meant to be, nor the way it will ‘end’.
When we are ‘born’ into this world, we forget who and what we are and become for a few short years part of this materialistic existence.
Listen to Jesus, listen to wise men and women over the years – the ‘kingdom of heaven’, the answers you seek, are all still within you. There is no ‘outside’, not really.
You are the beginning and the end, not only a part of universal consciousness but the whole of it – and so am I.
Everyone in the world is our brother and sister. Jesus told us to ‘love our neighbours AS ourselves’ because we and they are literally one.
The nightmare apparently going on ‘out there’ is merely the storm before the dawn.
‘Evil’ is having its day, but it’s ‘time’ is short, very short.
We are destined once more to return to ‘live’, our harmony with others and our spiritual source fully restored.
There’ll be no wars, poverty, disease, sexual violence and ‘death’ will be understood as the nonsense it always was. Spiritually it doesn’t exist.
Several religions – for all their rules, they have their use – speak of the Golden Age, a returning ‘home’ to the way things are meant to be.
The transition, however, will not be easy for all.
Those who knowingly have helped to keep this world in darkness, who have endorsed ‘the hack’ as ‘real’ for their own ends. have sought enlightenment for their own ends and followed the ways od Lucifer, will be brought to their knees.
As Jesus said ‘the meek will inherit the earth’ – and those who try to take it by force will be our servants…….