Don’t you think it’s rather funny
That I should be in this position?
I’m the one who’s always been so calm, so cool, no lover’s fool,
Running every show. He scares me so.
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)
This essential fact is the center and sum of what Jesus tells us in the Gospels, and it is strongly reinforced in A Course in Miracles. When we remove what was added to the Gospels by the Council of Nicaea in 325, we have what we are told by people that we used to think were dead is the core of what Jesus taught us while He lived on earth. And then reportedly Jesus Himself led the group that channeled the Course in the nineteen-sixties. A Course in Miracles is essentially a very advanced version of the basic advice about spiritual growth that Jesus gives us in the Gospels.
The Lord’s Gospel teachings make it plain that it isn’t enough to simply try to be more loving to friends and family. He says, “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:46-48). The Lord’s stated goal for us is nothing less than the spiritual perfection of the Godhead! But He tells us that level of perfection is attainable only when we have internalized the universal love that He came to earth to teach. In A Course in Miracles, the team around Jesus makes this point more explicitly. The Course calls our love for only certain individuals “special loves,” and it tells us that “special loves” are as counterproductive spiritually as are “special hates.” Wow.
Jesus also insists that in order to live God’s perfect love, we must never judge another human being. In fact, being judgmental of others is such an ego-based, low-vibration attitude that it makes our spiritual growth impossible. And seeing how fiercely judgmental so many modern Christians are wont to be gives us a pretty good explanation for why Christianity has failed so miserably at elevating human consciousness toward the spiritual level of the kingdom of God.
We now know that what Jesus taught is a deep and transformative kind of love that permanently raises our personal consciousness vibrations. And we now understand that Jesus is right, and none of the things that Christians have been attempting for the better part of two thousand years has really done much to improve anything. It is long past time for humankind to listen to Jesus a lot more closely.
One of the Lord’s goals for us is to build a more universal morality, a better distinction between right and wrong. For all of human history, all versions of morality have been rules-based. And since every rule is human-made, morality has always been a matter of opinion. We might know in our gut that we ought to do something or not do something, but if there is a bright-line moral rule that is different from our instinctive view then it can be very hard to tell right from wrong.
Since this inability to arrive at one universal morality has been such a longstanding daily problem, a number of attempts have been made to come up with a more universally acceptable set of moral standards. For example, the hot spiritual book of the Sixties was Situation Ethics – The New Morality. Traditional Christians hated it! That book’s premise was that love is the ethical standard that trumps every rule; but since it failed to distinguish between divine love and the special loves that Jesus warns us against, all the critics of that book were likely right. At its base, it just threw away the rules without putting any sort of universally acceptable moral standard in their place.
We cannot achieve a love-based morality that will free us altogether from human-made rules unless we can first internalize the divine form of love that Jesus taught.
I think the reason why the Lord’s teachings are so effective when we actually apply them is that the sort of love He came to teach is actually our essential nature. When we get beneath all the special loves and hates and all the ego-based negativity, we already embody that perfect universal love. Clear away the mess, and our personal consciousness vibrations begin to rise naturally! And the easiest way to make that happen is turning out to be nothing more than the close application of the Gospel teachings of Jesus. Simply by concentrating on ever more perfectly living the love that Jesus taught, we can raise our own vibrations enough to make this our last necessary earth-lifetime. And if sufficient people worldwide will work to raise their own consciousness vibrations, we can indeed bring the kingdom of God on earth.
I have been experimenting for more than a decade now, and I have told you something of how different special loves and universal love actually feel. As I got to the magical moment when I realized that prevenient forgiveness works, I also developed the sense that I was loving my family a whole lot less. This bothered me at first, but soon I saw that in fact my love for my family hadn’t changed. Instead, I had simply stopped differentiating them from all the rest of humankind. It was all people that I loved now, all children and everyone I passed on the street! And my new love for humankind felt highly pleasurable, as all forms of love are pleasurable. It was cooler, not possessive at all in the way that special loves often feel possessive, but still it was as rapturous and intense as any love that I have ever experienced. In a sort of muffled, human way, I can envision that this must indeed be the way that the Godhead loves all of humankind.
So now, based upon the teachings of Jesus, we know that what matters to God is not any of the things that we might do. All those Ten–Commandments–style rules were human-made; and the more we have progressed spiritually, the more we have seen exceptions to the rules. Thou Shalt Not Kill (except to protect innocents); Honor Your Father and Your Mother (unless they are harming others); Do Not Steal (except to feed a starving child); and Do Not Bear False Witness (except in 1942 Germany, when you have Jewish refugees in your closet). It has been many generations since we stopped considering the Old Testament rules to be black-and-white governors of our behavior, but rather we now routinely consider those rules to be no more than good suggestions that can be overridden when the facts get complicated.
In the same way, the Old Testament’s sexual laws are human-made and culture-based. So once we have mastered divine love, we will be able to ignore them all. From a spiritual perspective, there is nothing inherently sinful about any kind of sexual behavior! We can morally have sex in every possible way, whether inside marriage or outside of marriage, with or without a partner or three of any combination of genders, and in private or in the middle of a public street.
We know now that God doesn’t put much emphasis on what we do. No, what matters to the Godhead in all our actions, and matters very much indeed, is just two things:
So morality has become a more personal process. There are no longer any rules! But instead, before we take action in any situation, we must weigh on our internal scales of perfect and selfless love both what our reasons are for doing it, and how what we are planning to do might affect the other people around us. Always having to be sure to do the love-based thing might seem to be a complication, but trying to follow the old rules was even worse! Before we ever did anything, we had to mentally check to see whether there were applicable human-made laws. Then we had to look for any love-based exception (like a murderer going after your family, or saving the refugees in your 1942 closet). Then, since we still would be acting in violation of those human-made laws, we would fret about whether there might be some way to do the right thing without violating those laws. We might well carry even our well-thought-out and apparently justified but still non-legal choices on our consciences forevermore!
The key to an entirely rules-free morality that is based in love alone is simply learning and internalizing the perfect divine love that Jesus taught. And then we can altogether and forever entirely banish every rule from our minds!
You may have been wondering what all of this has to do with sex. In fact, the sexual decisions we make are some of the most complex and intensely emotional decisions of all, and inevitably they can affect other people in what are often traumatic ways. Reasoning through some sexual decisions is the best way for us to better understand and begin to implement the Lord’s love-based morality. So next week we will consider how we can best apply divine love’s true measure to some of our thorniest moral decisions of all….
Yet, if he said he loved me,
I’d be lost, I’d be frightened.
I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope.
I’d turn my head, I’d back away, I wouldn’t want to know.
He scares me so. I want him so. I love him so.
– Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, from “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971)