The Current State of Christianity
It seems to me that current Christianity has hit the same glass ceiling that Judaism hit just prior to the time of Christ’s arrival. Meaning – the Jews had taken their worship of God as far as they could - right past the point of non-growth. They had rules upon rules. Everything was mapped out and defined to be a good worshiper of God and a guaranteed path to heaven.
And, just like growing a plant inside a glass dome container, when the plant gets to the point it can’t grow outwardly anymore – it starts turning (growing) in on itself. Eventually filling the glass container with itself – causing rot and decay at the inside parts of the plant. Eventually, it grows itself to death, suffocating and starving itself with itself.
It’s no secret the Pharisees, Sadducee’s, Levite’s and Priests of Judaism were very corrupt. That’s what happens when there is no more growth in an organization of any type. It can’t create or develop outwardly anymore … so it rots from the inside out.
Sadly, I find this to be true of current Christianity. Though there are many divisions and various sub groups to this religion – Catholic, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopal, Jehovah Witness, just to name a few – the overall development, growth and discovery of the Christian condition remains stagnant. There’s just nothing new under the sun being presented to the average believer. It’s just a whole lot of the “same ole same ole”.
In short, they are all telling the same thing -only slightly modified to fit their respective audiences. It’s still the same “Jesus is the Savior”, “the kingdom of heaven is where God lives”, “protect your immortal soul from the devil” etc. There doesn’t seem to be any greater, or rather, expanded understanding of what God is, where heaven is located, what or where our Soul is… etc.
All of the current common teaching practices of these “churches” seem focused on old world thinking, language and examples. Everything gets presented to us today in the sandals-in-the-sand format. Too many Gospel readings are immediately and predictably followed by the words, “What this meant in Jesus’s time was…” It’s to the point that a good portion of today’s “sermons” are spent educating parishioners on what “that meant” back in Christ’s time in the past. There is just too much biblical history and not enough daily spiritual meaning leaving our church parking lots and going home.
And then there are also all the many, vast and varied visual metaphors that God had to use to get his point across to the spiritually impaired followers of the day. God as Jesus’s famous parable storytelling had to constantly be used to explain or paraphrase the nature of our self to ourselves. And sure enough, our ministers and preachers are more than happy to spend our church time delving into the superficial meanings of these superficial Holy narratives.
For Example: there are many references throughout the Bible referring to God sitting on a throne. This is fine and well… however, we are discussing a celestial being not of the physical world. This begs the question – Why would a bodiless entity have need of a throne? A throne is just a large chair. In order to use a chair - Legs, back and a butt are required to sit. I am doubtful that the omnipotent God has any need for legs or a back and even less need to use a Butt. (Let’s face it… There’s only ONE end reason we have a Butt.)
It seems obvious to me that God deliberately presented himself to people as sitting on a throne because that’s the only thing that the people of the day could comprehend. They understood what a King was, what a throne was, that Kings were given respect and honor and all that comes with being a King - was something that folks in Biblical times (and the ensuing Medieval era) could grasp. God presented himself in visual terms that writers of the Gospel could understand. We on the other hand don’t need this simplistic type of reference. We can grasp what and Omnipotent Deity is and we automatically understand the reverence, respect, and awe due part.
The above was just for an example of how Christianity hasn’t “grown” as over the centuries we (as a people) have grown. I’m not suggesting a re-write of the Bible. Nor am I referring to simply modernizing the Biblical sentences in the Bible. Others have already taken the King James Version of the Bible and replaced the old words and sentences with modern English. This is not what I’m getting at. I referring to expanding the meanings and concepts presented in the Bible to be more in line with today’s knowledge and understanding.
For example, in the classic Holy Bible, our immortal Soul is usually discussed as if it was something separated from our Self. But we know that is not the case. The Soul is our Identity, our Self, our Being. So, let our esteemed Reverends and Priests discuss the Soul as it really is: everything about us that is not biological. The mind, identity, emotions, intellect, self-concept etc., are the stuffing’s of what the Soul really is. It is NOT a separate spiritual item we carry around all our lives. It is US. Where are the sermons that refer to the Soul as it really is?
Another brief example: Expressions like “Having Faith” become questionable. Simply because once you realize and understand that we and our bodies are two different critters, and that traveling from this 3D reality is as natural as breathing, the then old world notion of “Having Faith” becomes a little silly. When you ‘Know” something is a fact – there is no need for “Having Faith”. Believing is trying to convince yourself that something (you’re not sure of) is true. Having Faith is trusting that the thing you Believe in, is going to prove itself to be true. This is why you have to “Have Faith” in the first place, because you’re trying to “Believe” in something you’re not sure of to begin with. However, you don’t have to “Believe” if it’s true – if you already “know” it’s true. I am simply suggesting that I believe WE, as a people and society, have gotten to a point in our development, when we can start to understand and grasp the larger, greater and more accurate meanings of the Bible, its characters and subject matter. This expanded understanding could and would lead us to (and become) a more dynamic and useable tool for shaping our society. Truly, we go to our respective church services and are told to turn off our high tech, the-world-in-the-palm-of-your-hand cell-phones, just so that we can listen about and learn how to be, better people in the language and world view of 33 BC and earlier.
The democratic\capitalistic nations of the world have created, discovered, and built so much since just 1960, that the common people’s intellect and understanding has outpaced 2 to 1 the evolution of the insights and advanced understandings of the current Christian Church. In fact, Tel-Evangelism is probably the most common “advancement” known to most Christians. Sadly, Christianity’s current situation is quite similar to what the coal mine property owners of Eastern Kentucky did as their big coal revenues began to pour in.
Eastern Kentucky was largely poor, semi-educated mountain folks. There wasn’t any money in their towns to speak of. That is, until the big coal Companies came in and bought the land from the hillbilly folk. Suddenly, these dirt poor mountain families had tens of thousands of dollars at their disposal.
Consequently, there were entire neighborhoods filled with old beaten down one room shacks – with a new car and a high tech satellite dish in the back yard. You’d think the first thing these folks would do with their new found wealth would be to renovate, clean up and modernize the home they lived in. NOPE! They kept their hillbilly shanties as is – but they didn’t hesitate to buy the most sophisticated high tech TV experience moving in the country.
Sadly, and yet accurately, contemporary Christianity is following in the same path as these mountain folks did. Our churches have top notch PA systems with wireless microphones – feeding into wall size digital HDTV’s. So all can see and here (in the greatest of technological fidelity) stories and narrations of a long dead civilization, using quotes three times translated, then re-spoken from a long dead language.
We are spending our Sunday mornings and evening prayer services learning about our Spiritual selves using the terminology and world view of a civilization that has long died out. No one speaks Latin or Greek anymore… however, it is the founding basis for our language today. Science constantly uses these old languages to fashion new words to befit America’s never ending supply of new inventions, chemicals, molecules and newly discovered species on the planet. And in parallel, the world view of the Bible times has died out, but the principals of Christian living should be the foundation of our current view of Human and personal existence.
So why hasn’t our founding religion grown with us? Why are we still using the word Soul? It has been known for a while, that the verbal word Soul is a reference our combined Identity, mind, emotions, intellect, beliefs, self-concept and personality. Why do we still call God’s home “Heaven”? We and our children can easily comprehend that there are realms of existence beyond our three dimensional reality. (We even know and understand what 3 dimensional realities ARE!)
It’s no wonder that our young people attend church, only to leave it behind uninterested. They get inspired only by the truth presented in the church services – which is: we as beings are part of something greater than the world we live in. We are half physical critters on the earth AND half mental, psychic, non-physical, entities that just share our bodies. That is the truth that brings young folks into to Church. That is the point of fascination for them. That is also and sadly the thing not being explored or exploited during the Sunday sermons Unfortunately, our youth become equally disappointed in the lack of fulfilling methods or techniques for exploring this spiritual realm/self that we are a part of. They are not provided a current modern explanation in the church building, which they can take home and use effectively. They’re just given – “do not sin, Have a personal relationship with Christ, God will forgive you, and if you listen, you will know what God wants you to do.” Not a lot of “How To” or “this will get you that” is being provided. The only remote exception to this would be Prayer. Yet, again, the only How To the devote gets is the same old; “Pray, cross your fingers and sometime - something will happen.”
Remember, this is the same youth that can send pictures of themselves to 5 friends, in 5 different locations, at the punch of a button on a box the size of their hand – all while traveling 60 mph in a car! This is the same youth that knows debit card transactions bounce off a satellite, in outer space, go to their account at the bank, the bank computers log in the transaction, send the result of that transaction back to the satellite, and back to the store on earth - all in the time it takes them to count to 4. This is the same youth that plays video games involving one character, who visits 3 different planets in the universe, inhabited by creatures hardly resembling any living thing on this earth.
And then we wonder why our youth are not impressed or interested in an Omnipotent Deity, who created the entire “everything” sitting on a throne of gold, with only a few Arch Angels, seraphim and Cherubim floating around in an all-white Realm,?!
The last 4 generations of people have evolved, grown and developed faster than current Christianity has. Even when it comes to concepts such as Time - Movies like all three “‘Back to the Future’s”, and the action movie “Time Cop”, each of these deal with the consequences of actions and their ripple effects in Past, Present and Future. We understand time concepts so easily… they have become our entertainment.
The mired one hour TV shows that have hero’s traveling through time in the past to correct events in the present. Each week our beloved hero travels to another “alternate” past or future to bring good to the end of the episode. The countless (now boring) storylines using the Hero’s “Evil Twin” from another dimension, to cause a good fight scene at the end of the show. This is easy stuff for us. We can understand and grasp Time, Alternate Dimensions, and Realities other than our 3D reality.
So, why hasn’t our knowledge of Biblical teaching expanded as well? Why is it that we seek the “Kingdom of Heaven” instead of the “Realm of celestial God?” Why do we still try to “Save our immortal Soul” instead of “Preparing and bettering ourselves for assentation into the next Realm?” As long as we continue to use old world terminology and old world views, we will be and will remain, hindered, restrained and confined by them.
During the first 1,800 years or so – YES – there was a real, justifiable, immediate need for the language and world view presented in the Bible. It was a paramount necessity. That was all those people of the day could possibly understand. Even if they didn’t understand it, they could try and believe in it – it was attainable. The hierarchy of Monarchy was a ready-made, built in frame of reference, old world Christians needed to go about grasping and living God’s teachings.
However, that time has and is waning. There is too much science available today that supports the truths presented in the Holy Bible. We as average citizens of this new millennia are too smart to keep “having faith” and to “believe”. We are at a point where we can now begin to know that God is there. We can prove that our “self” continues after Death. MRI scans are removing all doubt that Prayer effects and affects nearly the whole brain. We’re just too smart for the Bible to be presented to us as it was to our great grandparents.
So where are our educated and informed ministers, preachers and priests? Where is our non-stop barrage of TV commercials that give us a 30 sec. shot in the expanded scripture? Where are the 30 minute news documentaries about how the new scientific discoveries are proving the Biblical truths about our existence? Where are the news articles demonstrating that Bible philosophy’s for living and Behavioral Psychology methods are one in the same? Both past and present methods are supporting and proving the other one correct. Where are the sermons that teach ONE WAY of living and dealing with other people based upon these unified proven truths?
God foresaw this era coming. He knew that with proper guidance, Democracy and Capitalism would dominate the majority of the western half of this planet. He knew, that starting in 2000 and traveling forward, all the Middle East countries would be under attack from within and from outside their borders. The last strongholds of an old antiquated world view would finally be tackled, dealt with and then be set to rest.
And then what?! Where is our matured Christianity? Where is the greater understanding we are to share with others everywhere? Are we as modern educated, contemporary, thoughtful Christians ready to demonstrate our evolved and matured understanding of Christianity, God, and our Self? Or are we going to replace one immature age old philosophy with our own immature one?Thus: Christianity’s “Glass Ceiling” exists. We spiritually bump against that barrier. It would be good to be able to see it for what it is… just a temporary barrier. Also, it would be good start the process of putting cracks in it. Punching here and poking there, slowly putting cracks in that thing. Until we can finally break through and begin living our lives with the greater – expanded – understanding of the Holy Celestial Being that made all of this and us. Such is the challenge of the Universal Church and the 21st Century Christian..