YouTube: The Alternative Christian
Audio: The Alternative Christian
The thread of Truth runs through all the world’s religions, often overshadowed by the low hanging fruit of dogmatic beliefs handed down through generations. These gain acceptance, not necessarily because they are true or spiritually logical, but because they are repeated so long and so often we assume they must be true.
I consider myself a Christian, but I obviously do not flow with the mainstream. In this sense, I would compare myself to Jesus. He was a Jew, but his greatest critics were the Jewish orthodoxy. They had their doctorates in religious law, but they had no understanding of the spiritual rebirth he spoke of with Nicodemus. Paul, who began his life as a Pharisee, had an experience that opened his mind to a deeper level. “The unspiritual man (strict intellect) does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually (intuitively) discerned” (1Corinthians 2:4).
Embodied in the teachings attributed to Jesus there are universal principles that largely go unacknowledged by our native Christianity. Critical scholars believe that the first Gospel writer, the author of Mark, began simply with a list of sayings attributed to Jesus. To these he added his own narrative and interpretation of who and what Jesus was. Matthew and Luke created their differing versions about a decade later. John, who presents a completely independent interpretation, appeared sixty to seventy years after the death of Jesus. These writers were evangelists, not historians. To find the gospel or “good news” of Jesus, we must look beyond the imposed and currently accepted interpretations of early church orthodoxy.
Truth, as I will define it through this series, is the omnipotence of God expressing as the spiritual essence of every individual. I’m confident Jesus taught that a return to the bedrock of our spiritual core is the key to salvation from the full range of life’s hardships. When he said, follow me, he was not suggesting that we follow him, the man, but the instruction he was giving. The kingdom he spoke of is not lo here or lo there. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
That Jesus appealed to the common person of his day tells me his message was both accessible and practical. But as someone has pointed out, what we’re now presented with is not the religion of Jesus, but a religion about Jesus. When we start from the basis that we are each an expression of that one presence and one power we call God, we more readily see the present and practical value of what Jesus was communicating.
Through this series we will explore the many gems of wisdom found throughout the sayings of Jesus. We’ll look at how these sayings were compiled and put into narrative form as the Gospels we know. Most importantly, we’ll explore the universal principles embodied in the sayings and actions of Jesus, principles that serve as a solid basis for those who feel comfortable identifying as the Alternative Christian.