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Two True Things

Posted by Roberta Grimes • October 15, 2022 • 16 Comments
Human Nature, Jesus

People who need people Are the luckiest people in the world.
We’re children, needing other children,
And yet letting a grown-up pride Hide all the need inside,
Acting more like children than children.
Lovers are very special people. They’re the luckiest people in the world.
Henry Robert Merrill Levan (1921-1998), from “People” (1964)

I wish that everyone could know Jesus personally! Even being in His presence feels overwhelming. When He looks at you, it is as if He has found at last His hundredth lost sheep (MT 18:12) and His pearl of great price (MT 13:46). But how is it possible that Jesus loves each one of us so much? The researcher in me is always at work, and just as I had to peek behind the curtain of my childhood experience of light, so I am feeling nagged now by a need to better understand this experience of personally knowing Jesus. How is it possible for Him to love each one of billions of people individually, and so much?

 My Thomas accepts it all with casual grace. He says that he could never love one person the way Jesus loves each one of us, and I couldn’t either. “And that is why He is Jesus and you and I are not.” When I asked Thomas if he has ever asked Jesus how He can love each person so much, he told me that of course they have talked about it. And Jesus always says just, “I can see their souls.”

It has taken me a while to accept what my role in all of this might be. Thomas has let me work it through on my own. Over time, I have come to understand that Thomas and I share a close male bond that goes back for nearly two thousand years, and for all that time I have been a part of Jesus’s inner circle as well. Although I’m sure I am just Thomas’s tag-along! But that was why I recognized Jesus at once. Even though He looks so different from church-Jesus, I always knew who He was. And His spot beside that astral river always felt familiar to me, despite the amnesia that we accept when we undertake a lifetime on earth. Everyone would assume that Jesus’s inner circle must include some Catholic saints, but apparently most beings choose to advance as they grow spiritually, and then they join the various higher collectives. It is only the most loyal of Jesus’s friends that have stayed with Him. Thomas tells me that Jesus’s inner circle amounts to perhaps twenty mostly anonymous beings. It is sadly ironic that a Man who so dearly loves everyone hardly trusts anyone at all.

I have been meditating on the Master’s entirely justifiable lack of trust in embodied people, despite His immense love for all the world, and the discordance that this must create for Him. The Romans stole, and then they freely used His name for their own purposes. And they committed in His name the most monstrous acts. It wasn’t just the physical things that they did, but they have also spread so many false and fear-based teachings that Jesus has never had a way to counter. And oh yes, Jesus has studied all those awful Christian teachings. As His need to nurse the returning sufferers lessened, He would visit Christian places of worship in disembodied form. I am struck by the image of all those fire-and-brimstone preachers calling down hellfire and damnation on their congregations, quite unaware that in their midst was the Prince of Peace. And what have been some of the false and fear-based Christian teachings that have for so long been attached to the name of Jesus? Here are just four typical ones. If you were raised in Christianity, do any of these bogus dogmas look at all familiar to you?

  • Substitutionary Atonement. The teaching that Jesus came to die on the cross as a pure sacrifice to God for Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, and for your sins and for my sins, is absolutely central to Roman Christianity. The religion would be unrecognizable without it. And yet no afterlife researcher ever has found a single bit of evidence that the death of Jesus on the cross has ever made an afterlife difference for a single human being. Substitutionary atonement is just a holdover from ancient Judaism, making Jesus into the ultimate sacrifice to Yahweh.
  • God’s Judgment and a fiery hell. Every Christian who ever has believed that God judges us has carried to church with him a Bible in which Jesus says “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23), and “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (JN 12:47). So the fact that there is no divine judgment has always been a Biblical fact! And when we do any afterlife research at all, we also soon find that it is a literal fact as well. There is no divine judgment, and there is no hell. The whole notion of a hell to which we might be condemned by God is mere human folklore.
  • Calvinism and the Elect. Calvinism is the sort of thing that you get when you carry any set of very bad human ideas to their logical conclusion. I wrote about Calvinism three years ago, and I urge you to read that post again, because all the really bad human ideas that are at the T.U.L.I.P. core of Calvinism still exist in the world today. Until it is stamped out altogether, and the earth wherever it has been is salted, there remains the risk that some bit of Calvinism might come back.
  • The Rapture and Armageddon. The Book of Revelation is part of a collection of end-times literature that was produced during a period of extreme persecution, and it was included in the Bible by the Council of Nicaea in 325 as the Bible was first being assembled. Of course it was what those persecuted Christians were hoping for! But Armageddon never will actually happen, because its deeply fear-based vibration is the direct opposite of everything that Jesus taught, and if it ever did happen it would undo all the good that Jesus’s teachings ever managed to create on earth. And as we know, the Rapture idea was just a dream that some nineteenth-century teenager related to her pastor.

All four of these sets of Roman Christian dogmas are pure human-level nonsense! And yet, as was true of all the physical pain and death inflicted in the name of Jesus that the Master has spent most of the past two thousand years working so hard to heal, He never has complained to anyone about any of these false human ideas that have been taught by Roman Christianity in His name.

But I feel truly terrible about it all. Yes, He is famous. But what good is being famous if what you are famous for is lies and killing people? I was such a devout Roman Christian for most of my life that I almost feel as if I did all of this to Jesus personally. Even as we prepare teachingsbyjesus.com, we have to plaster all over the website and its companion book the fact that no Christian dogma is operative here. It would be easier in some ways for Jesus to start all over again with a new name. But as Thomas points out to me, the one good thing that the Romans did for Jesus was to make His name the most famous in the world, even two thousand years after His earthly death. Now we will just need to re-brand His name and get rid of all the fear the Romans have attached to it. And then Jesus can again use it happily!

To distract myself from all this guilt that I cannot help feeling for having remained a Roman Christian for so long, I have been trying to better understand what makes Jesus tick. He seems to be – and Thomas agrees with this – surprisingly childlike. Not childish, you understand, but rather as if Someone very old and profoundly wise had been stripped down to just His essential qualities. As if He had removed whatever adult sophistication would otherwise have gotten in the way of His becoming very close to us. And, come to think of it, He talks about our needing to become like children in order to enter the kingdom of God. Adult sophistication – or grown-up pride, as our frame-song says – just gets in the way of our coming together in perfect love. Jesus is a living example of what He says repeatedly in the Gospels! “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me” (MT 18:3-5).

A dear friend of ours mentioned to me just this past week that someone is spending a hundred million dollars on an advertising campaign to fix Jesus’s brand. A hundred million dollars! And how, you might wonder, are they planning to fix Jesus’s brand? They are running an online video campaign that features ads showing Jesus as a rebel, an activist, or a host of a dinner party. These ads have been viewed more than three hundred million times. Our friend wanted to know what I thought of this, and I said the same thing that Jesus said when one of His disciples complained that a stranger was casting out demons in Jesus’s name. Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” (MK 9:40) Sure, whoever is paying for these ads is almost certainly a Roman Christian. But the genuine Jesus is all of these things! He is a rebel. An activist. And a host. And depicting Him in any of these ways is hugely better than always showing Him as just a human sacrifice nailed to a cross.

Teachingsbyjesus.com will be up and running in the first quarter of next year. It will let you have the experience of sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing His teachings as clearly as possible on every topic that He addressed. And there will be both a Q&A and a weekly thought (I hesitate to call it a blog). How I will manage to keep that going and this as well is yet to be seen!

I believe I have mentioned to you that my very irreverent spirit guide has tried to get his Friend to demonstrate His physical power, which shocked Jesus considerably. You might think that He would want to try it, just for the fun of it? Maybe blow up a very big pumpkin on earth by touching it with His pinkie finger? He would be disembodied. No one would see Him. But, no. Boys will be boys, but not Jesus. And even doing something very positive on the earth with His physical power seems to feel off-limits to Him. Perhaps it would disrupt the human balance. Jesus’s role is to teach. And only to teach.

But Jesus really is God. There is an angelic purity about Jesus that makes it almost impossible for me to speak to Him, or even to be very close to Him. How my Thomas can treat Him as familiarly as he does is beyond me. When I say that to Thomas, he says just that there is a little spark of God in everyone, and Jesus just has a whole lot more of that spark. Wow, amen to that! But Jesus needs someone who will be His familiar, and Thomas is that for Him.  

The problem most people will have with the teachings of Jesus is that they are not a Smorgasbord, but instead they are a System. And you even have to apply them in order and carefully if you want them to work optimally well. That was why Jesus kept saying that it was hard (e.g. MT 7:13-14). And it really is hard, at first, to change our ingrained habits. First gratitude, then forgiveness, and then love. And Roman Christianity focuses just on the love. But when the teachings of Jesus are properly followed, those teachings are absolutely transformational. I tried them eleven years ago, really expecting nothing. But when you give yourself at least three discreet months of focusing on those three key teachings in order, you can altogether transform your life! And this transformation is permanent.

In my entire life, there are two things that I have learned that I know now are certainly true. As the great quantum physicist Max Planck said, I cannot even be sure that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. But I know now for certain that Jesus is real. And I know that His teachings work wonderfully well to raise our spiritual vibrations. Only two things I know! And these two things are enough.

With one person, One very special person,
A feeling deep in your soul Says you were half, now you’re whole.
No more hunger and thirst. But first be a person who needs people.
People who need people Are the luckiest people in the world.

– Henry Robert Merrill Levan (1921-1998), from “People” (1964)

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16 thoughts on “Two True Things

  1. oh Roberta-this is good news and I’m not late, not left out.
    Teachingsbyjesus.com
    You have given us so much to read,
    to ‘prepare.”
    “Crystal Blue Persuasion” could be His website song!
    The first quarter of 2023! I’m not late. The Roman take
    on Christianity never seemed true. I look forward to the Truth:
    Jesus is real and His Teachings do work.
    I am so lucky to be here now.
    I feel a lot of peace.
    Erica

    1. Dear Erica,
      Such a sincere, beautiful and innocent sentiment! May we all hold the same peace in our hearts as you do in yours! Much love to you!
      Fran

    2. Oh my darling Erica, of course you are not left out! I feel as you do, so very blessed by God to be alive now, and so gifted to be able to know the living Master. But He tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (MT 11:30), which is never true of any religion. Even if we are old and weary, His teachings can carry us the rest of the way home.

  2. Dear Roberta,
    A very lovely post this morning! Thank you! This stood out to me, being someone who often whines about injustice to the Lord, and “why don’t you DO something?”:
    And even doing something very positive on the earth with His physical power seems to feel off-limits to Him. Perhaps it would disrupt the human balance. Jesus’s role is to teach. And only to teach.
    And your answer is exactly what we need to understand; He promised we can do all He has done and MORE(!), but WE have to DO it, not Him. There is a companion book to ACIM that I have been reading, contemplating, “Surrender to the Stillness”. In it, Jesus reminds us, “You must not think that there is some great gift of Transformation that we can offer you, that will sweep you up into higher levels of consciousness. YOU must transform you.”(pg 68). When I read that the first time, I smiled a “gosh darnit, I knew it” smile, because we really DO know that, we just don’t want to accept it. We’re like a youngster who is no longer a child, wants independence, but also wants all the security and “certainty” we’ve experienced. In other words, we don’t want to “grow up”.
    I’ve underlined that…twice. I am learning to let go of whining and accusations toward those in the Light when it APPEARS darkness has been successful in situations, and to surrender to peace. And when you consider all the “tantrums” throughout the world these days, all of us children not wanting to take responsibility; even some of us trying to use His name like a scare tactic (MY dad is stronger and bigger than YOUR dad!), it brings a sigh and headspin. How far we have to go to evolve! Yet, Jesus reminds us there is only NOW, and we CAN choose to “turn the other way” (repent) and wake up. He sees the best, the potential, and, (I feel) He holds this “sight”, this truth of us, FOR US, until we hold it. What joy and laughter there will be! In this, I am learning to deepen my desire and commitment, and believe as He does, in mySelf, and everyone else.
    Btw, thank you for posting His “picture” again. It always brings a sweet smile to my heart.

    1. P.S. There is a “mantra” or saying I tell myself when I feel like the scales could “tip” in the “wrong way” in the world or in my life. I allow myself to counter my fear with the idea/belief that “all is indeed well” and we WILL transform. Then, (and this was something that popped into my head some years ago, and always brings peace and calm) I say,
      “He PROMISED us (we can do all things); and HE ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES.” kind of child like, but it always helps calm me and I feel braver, stronger, and happier.

    2. Hello Fran,
      “You must transform you.” I believe that it is a true statement but instead of a single fork in the road there are dozens, each claiming to have the answer. This is at the core of my searching. How exactly do I accomplish this transformation?

      Gratitude, forgiveness, love. It couldn’t be that simple, could it?

      1. Dear AC,
        Like you, I’ve spent so much time searching! And yet, in truth, we’ve known all along-deep within us-it IS that “simple”-Gratitude, Forgiveness, Love.
        It’s just our “investment”
        In the material world that makes it seem “hard” rather than simple 🤭. I was told that this morning as I journaled. Investment, meaning, sacrificing authenticity in order to fit in, to beliefs we hold as Truth, despite them not feeling right inside; our economic pursuits to global vision and who or what it supports- is it for all or do we still see “enemies” or those not worthy?

      2. My dear AC, I didn’t expect anything when I tried Jesus’s steps eleven years ago, but I found that it worked for me. Forgiveness is the hard part, but the forgiveness balls exercise defeats it, and it took just a month. We’ll be teaching it on teachingsbyjesus.com.

    3. Oh my dear Fran, I spent two years doing ACIM with a study group every week, and it did help. But what really did the trick for me at last was just a few months of literal gratitute-forgive-love exercises that I thought up myself. Forgiveness is the hard part, when I analyze it. That’s why Jesus really emphasize that. But you can mind-over-matter train yourself to master it, and onc you have donne that, you shrug and turn the other cheek. It’s amazing! And it is so unbelivably mpowering.

  3. Dearest Roberta,

    Thank you for helping my resolution of what Presbyterians think. Is T.U.L.I.P meant to be taken literally, or is it like my denomination, Episcopalian’s Thirty Nine Articles that is placed in the back of the Book of Common Prayer and hopefully forgotten?

    So, I did a little research in hymnbooks. Here is an example of what I found: Written by James E. Seddon (PHH 15), this text is based on the well-known passage in 1 Peter 2:9-12 where Peter calls the church “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (v. 9). Each stanza of the text begins with one or more of these memorable phrases and then, following Peter’s pattern, explains why the church should be such a holy people. Because it is the recipient of God’s mercy, the church must be consecrated to holy living as a testimony of praise to God and as a convincing witness to the unsaved.

    The text was first published in Hymns for Today’s Church (1982).

    “Written by James E. Seddon (PHH 15), (Church of God, Elect and Glorious), this text is based on the well-known passage in 1 Peter 2:9-12 where Peter calls the church “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (v. 9). Each stanza of the text begins with one or more of these memorable phrases and then, following Peter’s pattern, explains why the church should be such a holy people. Because it is the recipient of God’s mercy, the church must be consecrated to holy living as a testimony of praise to God and as a convincing witness to the unsaved.”

    I wonder why Presbyterians even bother to be witnesses to us poor benighted people. But wait, didn’t I attend an Episcopal Church where it was taught that each one of us was a priest? I did, and so I shouldn’t be so smug about not believing another denomination’s creed.

    Yours
    Cookie

    1. My dear Cookie, Calvinists actually believe, as I understand it, that since God knows everything, God knows in advance who is going to go to hell, and God created most people to populate hell and a few people – the “Elect” – to populate heaven. One of the least charming features of modern Roman Christianity is that many of its forty-thousand-odd versions are monstrously sadistic, as would be true of any institution that humankind had created in our own image.

      1. This conversation about Presbyterians is very interesting. The mistake is lumping any group as “thus and so”. In modern congregations of any denomination, most have no idea what are the tenets of their church. They are individuals comprising the church they attend. We have been such a migratory bunch, the tenets get jumbled by most. In my personal experience I’m biased against Evangelical Bible thumpers. My interactions with them(mostly family!) has led me to believe they have no idea what Jesus taught. His message of Unconditional Love is what brought me back from being an Agnostic. I’m now a Presbyterian! I do enjoy your posts! By the way, I’m 10 inside! How old are you?! Smiles, Candace

        1. Oh my dear Candace, you are so right! in fact, most modern Christians have very little idea of what Jesus actually taught. It really is amazing. And what is even more amazing is that they are confident that they do know what Jesus taught. It is really pretty horrifying, since they think that He taught the most horrendous things! I look forward very much to setting the record straight for them, since the Master’s teachings are so beautiful. I’m sorry, but I have no idea what “I’m 10 inside” means?

  4. Thanks Roberta. You have a wonderful way of keeping things so simple and straightforward, without needing all that “adult sophistication” as you put it, that even a child could follow it. I’m grateful for that. Jesus must be rubbing off on you. 🙂

    1. Oh my dear Scott, I sincerely hope so! I find it fascinating to watch the interplay between Thomas and Jesus. Jesus can be playful, and He teases Thomas as a younger brother would, but He is highly conscious of His need to protect His dignity and His role as our Teacher. And what astonishes me is how little time it really does take to achieve positive spiritual growth when we use Jesus’s simple steps! Some of the eastern methods can make it seem so difficult. But this feels so deep, and so simple.

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