Friday, April 3, 2009

The 80% Christian

I had mentioned something in one of my previous posts about being of a same mind with some early nineteenth Unitarian beliefs. Not claiming to be any expert on that dogma, here is a quote from John Adams:
"The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.” -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (January 23, 1825).

I have read somewhere that Unitarians like Adams at that time did not think much of Concept of the Trinity with Jesus being less than a full third - or not being the sharpest point on that triangle. In other words, people then thought that Jesus was definitely more human than divine but that his words and teachings were worth examining and holding onto in a religion context.

So too, I often wonder if the Greco-Roman concept of Jesus as the Son of God, how can he be equal to or just one third at the same time? Thirty three and one third percent does not add up to one hundred percent in my math book. A son is just a son and a father is just a father? Just shut up and label it mystery. Right?

I guess in the strictest sense of Christianity I might be labeled an 80% Christian. I am not going anywhere and have done more research on the subject than the average Joe. I am who I am. I am what I am. And God’s grace in me I do not believe fruitless.

An Episcopalian priest has just been defrocked for trying to believe in two major monotheistic faiths – Christianity and Islam.

This is not an April Fool's joke --- Episcopal Priest defrocked

The Seattle priest first became aware of the Islamic tradition in 2005 when St. Mark's Cathedral invited a Muslim leader as an interfaith guest. Redding was impressed with his prayer which sparked her interest in Islam and eventually lead to her making her Shahada -- Islamic profession of faith - in 2006. This eventually cost her the Episcopal priesthood and forced Bishop Wolf's decisive actions. Basically, the Shahada asks the Muslim to affirm: "There is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

For almost two years, Bishop Wolf has patiently worked with Dr. Redding to help clarify her mixed religious beliefs and practices as well as her commitment to Jesus Christ through the Christian sacerdotal priesthood as an Episcopalian.

In July 2007, the bishop originally issued a Pastoral Direction to Dr. Redding inhibiting her from all priestly and diaconal duties. In a letter to her priests, the diocesan council and standing committee, the Rhode Island bishop explained why she disciplined the theologically straying Seattle priest...

April 1, 2009 ...Bishop Wolf believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim. Consequently, as a result of the abandonment of the Communion of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Wolf imposed a sentence of deposition in accordance with the Canons of the Church.

The priest is/was the Rev. Dr. Ann Redding. Her bishop in Rhode Island took the bold step to establish some discipline about something, anything and not focus on the other ugly, ignorant things within the decaying crumbling Episcopal church - like the still current and enthusiastic witch hunt against gays. Anybody got a match?

Perhaps Dr. Redding was at one point a 50% Christian and a 50% Muslim. Perhaps she is right. Perhaps she in wrong in accepting that there is no God but God and Mohammed is one of his prophets/messengers. Or –let me try this. There is no God but God and Jesus is one of his prophets/messengers. She can’t call Jesus a prophet? Can she? He got elevated to godhood in a Greco-Roman cultural context as in Hercules, son of Zeus cultural context. Right?

The more I study about Jesus the more I know he is real and his true message is hidden amidst the baggage and fears imposed on him by the God Emperor Constantine who adopted Jesus as his political arm and son and inducted him into his newly invented Pagan Catholicism.

Constantine was 50% Roman God and 50% Pagan Catholic. Other than that I think a better percentage to describe him was something like 5% Christian in that he may or may not have even bothered to join his own new religion - not even on his deathbed.

Reminds me of the grade school myth told us every year by the nuns about how George Washington went to heaven because he knew that as a Protestant he would go straight to hell. So on this deathbed and delirious as he was he sent for a Jesuit to save himself by conversion to the one truth faith. Believe that? Yeah. Hey I got shares in the Brooklyn Bridge – very valuable in that they are going to start charging tolls there soon.

There is a line in the movie Gandhi (1982) when the great soul (mahatma) talks of religious services when he was a young boy and the person conducting the religious service was quoting from both Hindu sacred texts (Vedas) and the Muslim’s Quran side by side.

From the movie:

Gandhi: “I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you.”

Just a movie script but powerful words not unlike the dynamic words of Jesus who if you seek him out – he cuts through all the religious bullshit and cuts the mustard in my book of life. The movie is secular but the message seems sacred. In this presently spinning overloaded technical world, where does the sacred stop and the secular begin? Or is the modern age a centrifuge pulling all similar ideas and things together into one item.

I don’t know where to stand on Dr. Redding’s embrace of another perhaps legitimate faith in the concept of God. I think she is ahead of the curve and the merging of the best aspects of Christianity and Islam and Buddhism is upon us in this 21st century of this magnificent dawning common era of humankind.

I don’t know what is in Dr. Redding’s heart. I do say good luck and good labor opening up a new pathway to heaven for those of us trailing far behind you.

Semantics may temporarily serve the old dying churches in Rome or Canterbury.

Others with true faith and love of God do not care what you call or label him/her/it – There is no God but God.

The thing about spirituality and faith and getting through life on crutches of belief/faith or is it floating on air with wings of prayer – these things are perhaps only perception awakenings (light) and not perception problems (blindness).