When I was 19 years old, I saw Jesus heal two lepers in a movie and was so emotionally moved that I threw my hands up and said, “My whole life is yours.” A few years later, while attending a Baptist Church I confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior. Shortly after that I embraced the ideas that Jesus was the only way to salvation and that all who did not receive his sacrifice and Lordship would burn in hell forever. My life since giving my life to Jesus has been full of miraculous blessings and some pretty difficult trials and tribulations. And I have always prided myself on the notion that I have never relinquished my sense of Jesus’ Lordship. But recently, it has occurred to me that my fear of betraying Jesus was more similar to a slave in the ante-bellum south being afraid to offend master than it was a sense of awe inspired devotion.
It has come to my awareness that any notion of a “political” Lord in the higher dimensions stems in my opinion more from human imaginations of empire than true understanding of the dimensions which transcend our own. I am now thoroughly convinced that much of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament were written by people feeling the Holy Spirit yes, but who were also superimposing their own limited political forms of government and their own capricious emotions on the divine. One of my favorite pericopes of scripture is from Philippians where Paul describes every knee bowing and tongue confessing Jesus as Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. This scripture used to comfort me and I would often use it in arguments against other Christians who believed in the doctrine of eternal damnation. But now, I am beginning to see an insidious correlation between the idea of their being only one savior, one way, one true religion and the suppression of the accomplishments of people of color and women throughout modern history. The idea of “one” rather than “many” contradicts the beautiful diversity of the creation all around us and undermines the glorious complexity of God.
Now I still consider myself to be a disciple of Jesus. Similarly, I totally embrace the truth that Jesus was born of a Virgin, that he performed various and sundry miracles among the Israelites, and that he rose from the dead and proceeded to ascend to higher dimensions of light. But I now also embrace the possibility that many African Shaman, Indian Yogis, and Native American Medicine Men and Women did all the miracles that Jesus did and perhaps others as well. I also believe that it is quite probable that many women and men from all of the cultures of the world have risen from the dead, healed the sick, teleported, and ascended to higher dimensions among other things. Most miracle workers do not publicize their accomplishments for money and status, as they realize that those kinds of worldly accoutrements are dangerous to embrace and have the potential of souring their connection to the Divine. Jesus himself, would often tell his disciples to tell no one about what they had seen after he performed a miracle. Toward the end of his ministry and in certain accounts like the gospel of John, Jesus was very vocal about his miracles and his status as the Son of God. This is still a mystery to me. Perhaps Jesus was the Son of God and other ways to salvation are still valid. Perhaps Jesus never claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life and that these quotations were the result of a redactor imposing his belief system on the accounts of Jesus. Either way, for me, it is Jesus who has been guiding me and teaching me on my journey and so I suppose I choose to trust the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life and my experiences with God more so than I trust the biblical text.
One need only perceive the problems of pollution, widespread poverty, international and domestic exploitation, and atrocities like slavery, the Native American Holocaust, the Jewish Holocaust, and the totalitarian tyrannies of Maoist China and Stalinist Russia to know that empire is a form of organization and philosophy of empowerment that always does more harm than good. Empire is a function of the egoistic need to control and conquer others. It is antithetical to what Jesus and the great spiritual leaders of all traditions stood for.
I is my belief that Jesus does not want to be Lord in some political sense of empire, but that rather he wants to save the human race from its own pain and delusion just as he did 2000 years ago. And I do not believe that he is too prideful to work with great Hindu Yogis and African Shaman who too have touched hold of Divinity in accomplishing that goal. Furthermore, I do not believe that the risen Jesus has a problem with acknowledging such Yogis and Shaman as equals. Pride and egoism do not exist for those people who truly achieve oneness with the Creator and it is high time that we stop imposing our own pride and egoism onto them. Jesus is not insecure. Jesus is not jealous or easily offended. Jesus is not going to punish people who decide to connect with another being of transcendence and love instead of him. Jesus is my teacher and I love him and I am so thankful to him for freeing me of the tendency to project immature human tendencies onto him or God. I am still working through issues of fear, but my teacher Jesus has led me this far and I know that love will bring me to wholeness eventually.
In Closing I am moved to Pray and I ask that all who read this expression pray this pray along with me:
Thank you for your love and healing.
We ask that just as Jesus rose from the dead that you open our minds to the possibility that others have experienced similar resurrections. Similarly, we ask that you miraculously resurrect the glorious diversity that you always willed for the earth to operate in and that you birth new dimensions of diversity and difference on the planet earth, connected by the wondrous sinews of appreciation, admiration, and unconditional love.
In the name of Love Everlasting. Amen.