By: Woodrow Lucas
As part of my recovery from illness, I see an energy worker named Carol Bratcher. She is a truly gifted healer, but she is not a Christian. Some months back she gave me a book to read called Anna Grandmother of Jesus, which described Jesus as being in the tradition of the Essenes and having a bit different approach and philosophy than traditional Christian witnesses have relayed. Something else that the book talked about is the process of how Anna an angelic being “walked into” a woman named Hannah during a near death experience and lived out an extremely long life in Hannah’s body. As a person, who has felt like my body sometimes did not belong to me, and who has a belief in the existence of the demonic, I was horrified by this notion of Anna “walking in” to Hannah and felt tempted to end all of my work with Carol Bratcher. But as time passed, and I got some emotional distance from the book, I began to understand this “Walking In” process as perhaps an act of mercy or benevolence in many cases. And as I just let myself calm down, my fear of the book and this “Walking in” notion faded away. I still would not likely soon espouse the belief matrix articulated in Anna, Grandmother of Jesus. But now I do not see it as some “conspiracy of evil” intended to derail my progress, and rather view it is as a beautiful book, which possesses ideas with which I do not resonate.
But I wonder? What would have happened, if I cut off all contact with Carol as a result of this book? What would have happened, had I let fear define what I did and did not embrace in my healing journey? I wonder, what might have happened had the European settlers viewed the indigenous population as beautiful co-owners of the earth, rather than savages to be exploited? I wonder, how many of the atrocities of Christendom have been committed as a function of fear and suspicion? But I also wonder? Are Christians the only religious category on the earth that operates in fear? And seems to sometimes live out of fear?
Ironically, I was at Carol Bratcher’s again today, speaking with a woman about how she overcame Breast Cancer through alternative healing techniques and the incredible care she received at a Hospital in Taiwan. I began to tell her my ideas about the neuroplasticity of the brain and how I believed that the human body was designed by God to heal itself of ANYTHING! And she seemed very interested in my thoughts. But then I said, “It is like Luke 1:37 says, with God nothing shall be impossible.” As soon as I quoted that scripture, her whole demeanor changed. She was still very friendly, but it was as if she wanted to quickly remove herself from the conversation. It was as if my use of Christian scripture had triggered her to this new belief that I was no longer a like-minded soul. Can two souls be likeminded without sharing a believe in Jesus as penultimate? Can two souls who believe in Jesus as penultimate be like minded even though they disagree on the notion of eternal hell?
Religion and belief, are and always have been a complicated terrain. All the religions of the world really do not say the same thing, neither do they introduce us to the same worldview at all times. But are fear and suspicion sufficient vehicles through which to navigate the terrain of religious diversity? It seems to me that at the very least we need some basic assumptions which keep us from going down the road of fear, judgment, violence, and definition by contrast. I believe that Namaste is one of those beliefs. The idea that there is a divine spark of beauty and goodness in every single one of us, helps us to understand more and judge less. Similarly, the idea that God loves all of us equally and so will find a way for all of us to reach a state of peace and rest is indispensable in my opinion. If you can see your brother making it to heaven with you, whether he is an atheistic, a Muslim, a Jew, or an agnostic it helps you to see the best in that brother and it helps you have a sense of kinship with that brother.
Now I am not suggesting that we all have to have the same view of the afterlife, or the same beliefs concerning the hereafter, but I am suggesting that while I feel a strong like mindedness to many people who believe in eternal hell, notions like eternal hell are ideas that I just do not think that humanity can afford any longer. I am not saying that we need some “one world religion” to bring us all together, because I believe that our diversity is so sublime and beautiful that it is like a symphonic aroma for our creator. But I am saying, that every religion needs to begin to dispense with some of their notions that breed fear and suspicion. For it is not a time for fear and suspicion. We live in a brave new world, with challenges which require understanding and compassion across every line of division that has existed in the past. We need beliefs and understandings that help us to reach across barriers of race, religion, gender, sexuality, class, and culture. My hope is that these beliefs do not become gross oversimplifications of truth that undermine the beauty of our diversity and complexity. But without doubt, we are in need of paradigms and truths for this age, which as scripture states, “Bring in things new and things old,” and propel us into the harmony of God’s beautiful and perfect will for our species!!