Would Jesus Be a ‘None’* Today? God and the Self in an Age of Spiritual Democracy
*A person, for the most part, unaffiliated with institutionalized religion, also, someone who is “spiritual but not religious”
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This book was written for the religiously unaffiliated, also known as the “Nones,” who are people who believe in God and describe themselves as religious or spiritual, but who think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics. This book addresses the question as to whether Jesus, whose relationship with God was of the “spirit” and who vigorously questioned the hypocrisy of the Temple cult, especially its political connections to the Roman Empire, would view contemporary U.S. Christianity, with its own close relationships to nationalism and private corporate power, much differently today. In other words, would Jesus be a “None” if he were living today – that is, an independent spiritual teacher unaffiliated with any institutionally-organized religion? Thinking about him as a “None” might give us a radically different perspective on Jesus’ life and teachings. It’s my belief that every person on this beautiful blue-green planet, potentially, is a mystic because “spirit” is an inherently democratic attribute – each one of us having been born as a “child of God” with an innate ability to experience a direct relationship with the Holy. Institutional religion, on the other hand, has had a vested interest in distracting us away from this reality. In fact, it has shied from almost nothing to get such a radical idea out of our heads. Jesus, a mystic himself, refused, for his part, to accede to every one of the legal interpretations of the Chief Priest in the Jerusalem Temple – and it’s equally unlikely that he would respond any differently to the dogmas of the Vatican or to the orthodoxy of the mega-Evangelical churches of today. Popes, priests, and pastors are not the only people on the planet possessing personal keys to the Kingdom of God – each one of us has our own set – given us at birth. This book was written as a map for finding God and your true self. If, like myself, you’re interested in what it might be like to live in a post-denominational, even post-Christian world – where strict theological boundaries enforced by established religious institutions would no longer be binding on you – and where Jesus actually can come again – not on clouds or in power – but in each individual’s heart with all the peace and joy Jesus promised us – then this may be a book for you. Jesus, one of the most beloved children of God, ever, actually can come again, but only heart by heart – as each individual accepts himself or herself as a child of God. When a tipping-point is reached – that is, when enough people are openly acknowledging themselves to be children of God and affirming each other as brothers and sisters in the same spiritual family – God’s world will have come to earth. This, after all, is what Jesus taught us all to pray for. These postmodern times are calling not only for the re-reformation of Christianity, but of all the established religions. We need to start working towards a worldwide “spiritual democracy” that can transcend (even if not completely replace) the traditional historical faiths. In his own day, the primary difference between Jesus and his religious contemporaries was that Jesus was said to teach “with authority”. He taught that way because he had had the profound spiritual experience of being “born again” – which means that he had crossed over into becoming a “child of God” – a person able to live entirely within the Spirit. The message of this book is that each one of us has that same potential – to become a child of God and to live one’s life wholly within the Spirit. This might turn out to be news to you, but it’s completely true that each one of us is able to achieve a similar relationship to the Holy as Jesus, Buddha or Mohammed did – if that’s what we want – and then, of course, follow up, and go do it.