Monday, May 3, 2010

Person In The Mirror!

On my website, I claim to be not only progressive in my approach to spirituality, but I also state that I still root a lot of my ideals in Christian values and teaching. I've been asked a few times how it's possible to merge words like "progressive" and "Christian" without contradicting the church. Well, the simple answer to that is, I don't. I can't believe the things that I do *without* contradicting the church but that doesn't mean I have lost all respect for the Bible and the things that Jesus teaches us in it. In fact, whatever religion you may be rooted in, it is possible to take from it the things you need in order to live a completely independent spiritual life.

Our history is FULL of great spiritual teaching. Many people came before us and left their mark by leaving us with guide lines and lessons for life. The people who wrote these things down and lived by them aren't meant to be the focal point of the lessons themselves. From Christian to Pagan, and everything in between, the values are always the important things to take to heart. Does this mean that all religions have the same message in essence? That depends. For me, any religion that is going to be worth while for spiritual growth has to by it's own nature possess concepts of peace and love as their main focus.

Without the firm foundations of peace and love, a religion is doomed to fall into the trap of becoming mere dogma. Not only that, but religions that become too dependent on their many man made limitations, become easy tools for manipulation by powers of social and political influence. When the concepts of peace and love run a religion, these influences cannot gain a foot hold because their power lies in the ability to mold the personalities of the people who follow it through ritual and dogma designed to ensure both loyalty and a sense of longing or need that can only be satisfied by the religion itself.

Take my Christian roots for instance. If you look at the Bible's New Testament, it was never meant to teach us to worship Jesus. Rather, it was meant to teach us to be *like* Jesus by following his example. I have said for a long time now, that the salvation practice that the Christian church teaches is backwards. Jesus isn't someone to invite into your heart, he is a physical representation of something to be let out of our hearts and run our lives. The idea isn't to invoke something in, it's to reach an realization that we already have something within us that simply needs to be acknowledged and then released, that being our own divinity.

Jesus tells us in scripture to be like him, to be his brothers and sisters, not his sheep. The simplicity and reality of this goes all the way back to Genesis when God created man in his own image. What do you think that really means? I can go out right now and find someone to create a doll or figurine that looks nearly exactly like me, created in my own image. Is that what "god" had in mind when we were created? To be a bunch of look alike dolls? I hardly think so. No, we were given LIFE and had the breath of divinity pushed into our lungs made in the exact image of "god" both inside and out, meaning that we are equally as divine because we *are* our own gods.

When you look in the mirror, do you see Jesus? When you look at the cross, do you see yourself? make the idea something physical that you can relate too. Go out and buy or have made (because shockingly I haven't ever seen one) a mirror cut in the shape of a cross and hang that in your place of worship. Worship the divinity that is already within you, granted to you by the universe itself because you're a part of it's creative power, made in it's image. You are the one reflected in the cross. In a sense you're being given a type of permission to worship yourself for being the amazing creation that you are. You are also being challenged to see that same divinity in the people around you.

In the end, this makes perfect sense to me, because throughout all of our lives as people, we are seeking acceptance, forgiveness, and justification for the people we are now and have been in the past. Ultimately, whether we are willing to admit it or not, we don't "come to christ" as it were because we're seeking God's forgiveness and love. We use that reasoning because we are all too often unable to forgive ourselves or be "egocentric" enough to really love ourselves. We feel that we have to have a divine third party to do all of this for us. This is a good baby step but the real freedom does come in realizing that YOU are the divine forgiver and distributor of unconditional love.

We, the faithful, seek our entire lives to look upon the face of God and be approved. I submit to you that the true way of doing this is being able to look at your face in the mirror and find what you see looking back at you, approving.

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