Posted by Roberta Grimes • December 11, 2021 • 47 Comments
Afterlife Research, Jesus, Understanding Reality
I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
– Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946), from “In the Garden” (1913)
I love Christianity. I love it desperately, dotingly, stupidly, as an infant loves its mother or a lover cherishes the beloved, and as the center of all goodness and safety. Christianity has been so much a part of my life! From the moment when I first saw the light of God in my nighttime bedroom at the age of eight, I have deeply associated the religion with God, with Jesus, and with everything that is right and just. After I first saw that light as a child, I gave up Sunday school for grown-up church, and my mother had trouble understanding that. I recall her telling me more than once how it amazed her to watch my face in church, a little child earnestly singing the hymns and transfixed by sermons that should have gone over my head. But I was sitting at the literal feet of God! So of course I was in rapture. And when I was twelve, I discovered that I could read the Bible and comprehend it, so I began a habit of reading a couple of pages every night that continued for the next forty years.
Given my history of devotion from childhood, my long fall from belief in Christianity has been painful. It began when I took college courses in early Christian history from a professor who seemed to bear a personal grudge against the authors of the religion. Miss Corwin was close to retirement age when I knew her. And she was ardent! She was my faculty adviser, and my devotion to the religion rather than to Jesus Himself seemed to irritate her to the point where I still recall having to submit to lectures in her office as I resisted learning what she was trying to teach. I didn’t want to look behind my beloved religion’s beautiful façade. I hadn’t realized that was what my choosing to major in Christian history was going to mean, and I could already tell from Miss Corwin’s classroom lectures on the corrupt church councils that I didn’t want to know any of that. If you enjoy sausage, never watch it being made! I am realizing only now that I have blocked her point of view for most of my life as I tried to hold onto my youthful love for Christianity, so it really is only in the last few years that I am remembering much of what she said.
If you’ve been reading these weekly missives for a while, you have seen me fall from my lifelong faith as from the top of a tall tower, relying on floor after floor of that tower of Christian faith to break my fall; but then falling to the next, and then to the next as each successive floor failed to hold. The poet Robert Frost directed that his epitaph should be “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world,” and I can identify with that. My own lover’s quarrel is with Christianity, the great love of my life that I met in childhood as a burst of nighttime light and a sweet voice of love and the blessed certainty that if I ever again forget that God is real, I can trust Him to remind me. That set of pat religious beliefs was such an easy comfort! Christianity was the package that contained all truth, and it was so simple and so neat. Everything that was important for us to know had been figured out before I was born, so I didn’t need to think about it much at all.
But we know now from the not-really-dead that Christianity is altogether wrong. And it isn’t even just a little bit wrong! In fact, every core Christian teaching is nothing more than human-made nonsense. The Godhead is not a Big Guy with thunderbolts. The Godhead has no human flaws, and It never judges or condemns us to a fiery hell that does not exist. Every person of every faith or no faith at all goes to precisely the same beautiful afterlife. The Christian religion has almost nothing to do with either the Jesus of the Gospels or the genuine Godhead, but rather it is an amalgam of ancient beliefs well-seasoned with the Roman Emperors’ need to control people by inspiring fear. The Christian Bible as it was assembled at First Nicaea and the other Councils is a collection of writings that could not possibly be all the work of a consistent and loving, or even of a sane and rational God. For me, the kill-shot of my Christian faith was the moment when I accepted the fact that after my decades of reading hundreds of different communications from the dead that had been received over more than a century in southern England and in the eastern United States, I never had found one bit of evidence that the death of Jesus on the cross has ever made an afterlife difference for a single human being.
It strikes me now that my relationship with Christianity can be divided into thirds. I was a Protestant until I was twenty-five, and so filled with conviction that I intended to enter the ministry. Then I fell in love with and married a Catholic, and at twenty-six I converted to Catholicism. I was a Lector, I attended Mass each week, and I sent my children to parochial schools. I was an ardent Catholic while I continued to do my decades of afterlife research, until the lowest floors of my tower of faith eventually were forced to give way beneath the weight of all that I was learning. So in my early fifties I was left bereft, with almost no religion at all. As the title of my weekly podcast insists, I only ever wanted to know what is true! And I have spent this most recent twenty-five years pulling bits of truth from the debris of the tower of my old lost faith, and combining those bits with the afterlife evidence, quantum mechanics, and a lifetime of studying parts of what is one absolutely gigantic truth, until now – within just the past few years – I have managed to replace my makeshift tower of human-created Christian faith with a solid edifice of what I know for certain is nothing but the most wonderful and entirely nonreligious ultimate truth.
But I still love Christianity! As I study the pictures that accompany this post, to this day I yearn for the certainty and safety of my old lost faith. Even though it was a false certainty. Even though now we know so much about what actually is going on that I have established in place of my old religion such abundant bedrock knowledge about what happens at and after death, and where it happens, how it happens, and even a lot about why it happens, that now I look forward to my own transition with a joy that feels like waiting for Christmas. Going home is going to be so much fun! And it turns out that I won’t have to leave my love for Christianity behind altogether. Those that we used to think were dead now tell us that although there is no religion practiced in the afterlife, Christians will sometimes get together to sing hymns for nostalgia’s sake. And wow, do I ever understand that impulse!
So now the jig is up for Christianity. It had a good, long run! Although of course not all of its dominance on earth was positive, what with the Inquisition and the Crusades, the burning of witches and the forced conversions of indigenous peoples here and there. But those embarrassing glitches were by and large the result of cultural influences, weren’t they? Christianity has always been a movement of whatever was its current time and place. So, by and large, Christianity has softened dramatically in the course of the past hundred years.
And the truth about the nature of reality and what happens at and after death is about to become quite broadly known. All the gaps have been filled. There is no need any more for additional theories, no room for further speculation, and Craig Hogan and I are not the only people who are being called to share with the world the beyond-wonderful truth about humankind’s eternal nature and how reality actually works. That old-time religion doesn’t stand a chance! And yes, for Christians the wonderful truth is that we can keep the genuine Jesus. It turns out that Jesus is in fact an aspect of the Godhead, quite literally God on earth, and we can follow Him in undivided joy once all our old religion-based fears are gone.
All of this seems to be such good news! So, why am I suddenly feeling so anxious?
This fluttery feeling of inchoate dread reminds me of the summer of 2010, when The Fun of Dying was about to be published. For the first time I was going to go public with what I had learned about how broadly the actual teachings of Jesus differ from what Christianity teaches. It was to be my first shot across the bow of the religion that I so much loved! I was confident that what I had learned was true, but what if it was supposed to remain secret? Or what if it was supposed to become known eventually, only not just yet?
My anxiety about my perhaps letting some cosmic cat out of God’s personal bag became so acute that one evening about a month before the book’s publication date, I took to my knees. I prayed fervently that if there was anything in that book that was not supposed to come to light now, please God, just take me in my sleep. I had already emailed the publisher that if I were to die, The Fun of Dying should be kept out of print. I prayed so long and so hard that night that God’s will and not my own be done that I was mildly surprised to wake up the next morning to a flood of normal earthly sunlight.
So apparently what is happening now is God’s will. Sooner or later, humanity was going to have to leave behind all its false beliefs and at last grow up! As the Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1Cor 13:11-12). But still, there seems to be tremendous danger in sharing these truths with practicing Christians!
Learning that Christianity’s teachings are at utter variance with the words of Jesus and the testimony of the not-really-dead was what finally wrecked my own faith. I don’t want to put others through that, so I have always thought my ministry was just to lapsed Christians. I have regularly urged people who were happy with their Christian beliefs to just ignore what I was saying. So I worry now that our making these truths a lot more broadly available is going to separate a great many more people from the Christian religion that I still love. I have no idea what to do about that, but Thomas tells me that the time is now, and just as I am so much happier being free from my old Christian fears, so as more Christians liberate themselves from the religion and discover the genuine Godhead they are going to be a lot happier, too. But still, this effort at religious patricide that is turning out to be the theme of my life makes me on some level very sad. Perhaps in some far-future day, when we all are free from superstitious fears, we can return in some way to a few of the comforting trappings of the faith of our fathers. Then I can be again that child who used to look forward to the Sunday mornings when she was falling in love with her Christian faith.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him tho’ the night around me be falling;
But He bids me go; thro’ the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling.
– Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946), from “In the Garden” (1913)
47 thoughts on “Liberating Christians?”
Roberta, I’m glad that you took a chance and got your first book published. I was just like you and couldn’t get enough of the Bible. I even lost some friends because I was so over-enthusiastic about it and people got tired of me trying to convince them that it had to be taken literally ,word for word. But then you came along with a few other schloars similar to you that opened my eyes. So I’m grateful that in your times of dispair that you decided to move ahead and release your book and expand with your other books, blogs and podcasts!!
Oh my dear David, it was never about me. I really did pray earnestly and sincerely to be taken in the night unless that book was supposed to be published, and in fact for years afterward – while I was actively traveling and talking about what happens at and after death – I would continue to beg to know God’s will. It confounded me to gradually come to realize that apparently I was actually being used to do this work! Then when I met my lifelong primary spirit guide in 2015 and learned how to communicate with him directly, I learned the extent to which the Godhead was trying to use the willing to educate the world, and that really amazed me.
Makes me thing of a terrarium perhaps, a little false environment of very delicate creatures that you are trying to improve without messing with the natural balance. I mean, when the Godhead saw what is a critical need to elevate the spiritual vibration of this illusion away from fear and more toward love, there were a thousand heavy-handed ways that could have been done, and right away! But instead, this delicate and very respectful method of very gradually infiltrating just a bit of this new knowledge, a little at a time, is what is being done. Changing a few things very subtly. The process has come to fascinate me!
I am so grateful and amazed by this open honest sharing. Just yesterday I was lamenting the loss of “innocent” beliefs I had as a child, and whining to Jesus about how it’s all tarnished now. I swear this is true! I also wax nostalgic over the church of my youth, and my intense devotion to it. I gobbled up stories of the saints, dreamed of being a nun in a foreign country preaching the gospel. Around age 30, all this began to fall apart as I also experienced spiritual growth outside the confines of the church. And interestingly, THAT began the growth of trust in Jesus! I understand now that the past was equating God and Jesus with religion ( like you experienced).
I read your blog today and I thought, “ I’m not the only one!” Thank you!!!
Oh my dear Fran, you’ve made me smile! I hear from so many people now who are going through the same painful disillusionment that we have experienced, and it seems to me sometimes that it is the people who were the most devout Christians who are falling away the hardest. For all of them, too, while they are losing their Christian illusions, they are ever more closely clinging to Jesus and to the teachings of Jesus. It’s a phenomenon! I have come to suspect that it is happening at the level of each person’s primary spirit guide, just as it has happened to me: during the nighttime counseling that is their primary method of communicating with us, they are encouraging our Christian doubts while reinforcing the words of the Master. As I said to David Wright just above, I think this is all part of a very delicate and subtle effort to elevate the vibrations of humankind just enough to correct the earth’s spiritual balance without interfering much with the ignorance and amnesia about what actually is going on that makes this planet such a useful school.
Hi Roberta, hi everybody! Except for the details, my experience is the same. One turning point I remember clearly was finally looking at the actual pages of a Bible and realizing Jesus’ actual words were highlighted throughout—so that I could read only HIS words!
Quite a different message.
Dear Mike, incredibly, there still are prominent clergymen who insist that the whole Christian Bible is God’s Inspired, Inerrant Word. Theoretically, these people read the Bible a lot! They encourage their flocks to read the Bible. But you and I have found that the more you do that, the more you see the many ways in which the Good Book is internally contradictory. Not surprising, given that it was written over a span of thousands of years! And it is culturally tainted and often lacking in sophistication, so if you think of it as the Inspired Word of God you realize that we must be more nuanced, knowledgeable, and sensitive to others than God is, which cannot be right. Worst of all, the Old Testament and the letters of Paul contradict the Gospel teachings of Jesus in various ways. If we’re honest, we come to frankly have to admit that either the premise that it is all God’s Word is wrong, or God is troublingly fallible.
God’s truth is found in understanding our dreams.
Hi John , can you elaborate on your statement ?
Dear Ernest, there are a number of theories about how our dreams can help us to learn fundamental truths, including whole books written about what the events and objects in our dreams actually symbolize. I haven’t seen any dream expert advance the theory that we can find God’s truth in our dreams, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that theory advanced!
This is an interesting theory, John! But there are many of us – including yours truly – who almost never remember a dream. How can I even try to understand something of which I am not aware?
We all dream, or so I am told. And the fact that I don’t remember dreams came to bother me so much that a few years back I asked a dream expert at a conference why I don’t remember dreams and what to do about that. So, am I still actually dreaming? She gave me some ideas about how to remember my dreams, and she said my problem was “interesting”; and as we talked, she concluded that I probably had no unresolved issues so the use of my remembered dreams to resolve issues was no longer a tool that my guides needed to employ. She said that I probably still dream, but I’ve got nothing much left for dreamwork to do. But, who knows?
It is helpful to distinguish between ordinary dreams, those of the brain that are disconnected and haphazard with a dim perception of their contents, from lucid dreams which are connected and appear more real than ordinary conscious perception. My theory of consciousness holds that the “real world” is the immaterial world of consciousness in which our individual personal consciousness exists in a universal field of consciousness (UFC), much as a drop of water exists immersed in an ocean, only owning a unique character. The UFC is effectively the mind of God. A good summary of my text on Space, Time, and Consciousness was posted here ( https://near-death.com/near-death-experience-of-space-time-and-consciousness/ ). According to my theorizing our spirit (our individual consciousness as it exists in the UFC), attaches to the neonate in what we term as a soul, and when doing that it loses its communication with the UFC and other spirits within it. During the Out of Body Experience which may happen from an NDE, or extreme fear, from meditation, during a lucid dream, or spontaneously, the spirit is freed of its lock into the body/brain and is able to communicate within the UFC and with all of the knowledge it contains.
Quoting from my text, “Select achievements by geniuses may thus reflect their having tapped into the universal mind, i.e., the transcendental knowledge in the UFC. Geniuses, such as Kurt Godel, Nikola Tesla, and John Nash, may have tapped into the transcendental knowledge contained in the UFC when their minds separated from their normal functioning locked to the brain.
Note too, that during dreaming (or deep meditation), the mind may separate from its attachment to brain to tap into transcendental knowledge. For example, Einstein attributed his break thru in formulating Special Relativity to a dream (the one about watching cows getting shocked on a fence whose observed shock times depended on where an observer stood); but it is also important to note that his realization for what the dream meant depended on his mental preparation about the issue involved. Mendeleev attributed his formation of the Periodic Table to realizing its patterning in a dream.
Thus, it may be no random accident that some of our geniuses have exhibited mental dysfunction during their lives, because such dysfunction may actually have enabled their exceptional achievements.”
James Watson, who with Francis Crick postulated DNA, is said to have envisioned the double helix structure in a dream.
Hi Roberta, I’m so grateful to stumble across your name and reading your materials. I’ve let go of my Catholic beliefs but hold Jesus near to my heart. I just wish I didn’t feel so lost, so abandoned not having “a religion” to follow. I do t consider myself Catholic but don’t know if I think of myself as a Christian. I feel lost.
Oh my dear Maria, I’m also very glad that you have found us! Jesus said that knowing the truth will set you free, and so it truly does. The truth is that Christianity is wrong but Jesus is amazingly and gloriously far more right than any of us ever before has imagined, and apparently now many of our spirit guides are giving us that truth and we are following their lead. Really, I have no other explanation for the fact that ten years ago – even five years ago – I was seldom hearing your complaint, but now I hear it every day! And from so many sincere and beautiful people. My dear, Christianity and Jesus are so altogether different that it isn’t possible to sincerely follow them both at once. But that’s okay. Fifteen years ago I first made the very difficult decision to follow Jesus alone, and except for this nostalgia that I still feel for the experience of being a childhood-level Christian, I have found that Jesus alone is much more than enough!
We expect to launch Seek Reality Online in the first quarter of next year, and it will include a section where people in our situation can together explore the next phase of this new movement to follow Jesus alone. He called it “the Way,” and perhaps we’ll call it that too, but I know that as long as we keep our egos out of it, He will make it all clear to us. Stay tuned….
I share your spiritual evolution in many ways; from a protestant church, I ventured into and through all kinds of other churches (including Roman Catholic) and movements, only to basically abandon them all in favor of what I also came across myself in messages from Jesus himself directly and others from the realm of spirit and NDE’s. Even though I have been a professional organist for several different churches all my life, I only remember one sermon’s line, and that is: “Remember to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” While to the priest this had a different meaning than for me, for me this line remains my effort to love unconditionally and never judge anyone. I still love organs, absolutely fantastic musical instruments to play on and listen to. In one source about the spirit world I read that someone was playing an organ in an actual church building. A piece composed just for her! And she played the piano for Jesus at her home in the spirit world. That sounds all like really great news to me! And yes, no one can save you (i.e. come to 100% unconditional love) but you yourself. Thanks for your message today!
My dear Adri, music is a big thing there. And I’ve even seen a couple of reports of people learning to play the piano from Mozart, for heaven’s sake! Anyone who wants to perform, can perform, and can find a happy audience. Everything there really is so lovely!
Your book the Fun of Dying was huge for me Roberta. Prior to that I lived with the fear of not being pure enough here in this life and God sending me to hell after I die. I had told myself that when my health starts getting bad I have to go to confessing everything I have done that is considered sinful and beg God to forgive me! I lived fearing death because I was afraid that I had not done enough to earn going to heaven! Thank goodness you came along! I first saw you on Gaia and bought your book after that. Thank you so much Roberta!
Oh my dear Doug, you make me so happy! It is for you that I do this work, and I am overjoyed that you’ve found it and it helps you. Thank you for letting me know!!
Thank you so much for writting The Fun of Dying! The peace it has given me, is invaluble. The freedom to just love God/Jesus and to grow in the relationship is a freedom I value.
Rasied catholic, 12 years of Catholic education….The freedom I have now to build a stronger relationship is AMAZING!
KEEP BEING BRAVE, KEEP WRITTING!
My dear Marilyn, as with our friend Doug just above, it makes me so happy to see your life transformed this way! And I’m sure that it makes Jesus happy to find that you no longer fear Him, but you only love and cherish him. Thank you for freeing Him as well!
Roberta: You don’t miss your religion per se – you miss your IDEA of what you thought it was. It’s not easy to have to give up something you have become invested in over many years. I see it differently. I love that Jesus basically avoided backing any religion whatsoever, as he knew they would be manmade and therefore useless and even dangerous. History has proven this to be true. All the glitter, fancy robes and stained glass windows were all for show
Dear Lola, I’ve thought about this since I first read your comment. I think that what I miss is the familiar trappings of Christianity, and the certainty I once had about everything when I sat in the pews. It was so easy then! Falling away from the religion of my childhood really was a slow and awful, quite literal falling so unbearable that for decades more I still clung to the illusion – what you call the idea – so I only was ever more adamant about it, the more hollow I realized that it all was. It only has been in the last few years, when I fully met God and the genuine Jesus by the circuitous route of the afterlife evidence, that I have again found peace. And this time, that peace is really real!
BEAUTIFUL! AND SO TRUE! THE “OLD” TIME CHRISTIANITY HAS BEEN A CRUTCH-WE CAN LAY THAT DOWN! However, it pains me that so much money is being spent as people pay what you are telling them as they seek proof.
My dear Barbara, I have been reading this sentence from your comment for the past three days, and for the life of me I can’t figure it out: “However, it pains me that so much money is being spent as people pay what you are telling them as they seek proof.” I’m sorry to be so dull about this! But I give up. What am I requiring people to pay?
Maybe all Church Christians will find the real truth when they are truly ready? For some it might be too much of a shock all of a sudden? I started with challenging Jesus that if we pray with true faith we will receive. That was way back in the 1960es. And that we can “move mountains”. I have not exactly done the last but moved other things, as in telekinesis, and yes, Jesus is right. I have always loved him and remember what he said, and tried my best to live as he recommended. Did he really say what he did? Did he really live? I do think so, but hope to meet him when I die and get it confirmed. To me he is not that feminine person he is so often portrayed as. I wonder what he really looks like.
Anyway, after me challenging him and finding him spot on right, I went to the library and found books about the paranormal and I got to know about reincarnation, and I find certain things Jesus said also pointing to reincarnation. All in the time I needed to absorb it.
At the same time I never felt a need to go to church and hear all the wrong things. I was confirmed in the Danish Protestant state-church and had never met a Catholic!
I learned about Jesus in primary school and going to hear our minister before confirmation. That is when I read the New Testament very thoroughly. I never bothered about the Old Testament.
I hope many will figure things out in their own good time without hurting others in the process of doubting. After all, most of us still only believe, not knowing for absolutely sure, until we are spirits.
I have all your books and enjoyed them very much.
My dear Gerda, thank you for sharing your story! I hear variants of it from many people now, to the point where I have come to think that all this spiritual searching by Christians is being prompted by our own spirit guides. Just a theory, but I don’t know how else to account for such a profound change now in the attitudes of so many of what was very recently a stable and docile Christian flock! And every last one of them is outgrowing Christianity while drawing closer to Jesus. It’s really quite a phenomenon.
And I didn’t even know there was a Danish Protestant state church! All of my grandparents were Danish immigrants to the US, except for a grandmother whose parents were Danish immigrants. So if you have a Danish background as well, then in this lifetime we have that in common!
I once heard a fable for our relationship with Lord Jesus that has remained with me always. It goes something like this:
A beautiful mountain deer scents this wonderful, celestial perfume one winter’s day quite unexpectedly. He knows it is the essence of everything; it is his deepest desire, greatest need and most ardent joy all at once.
This fleet footed young stag realizes that this rare fragrance comes and goes as if teasing him, and now he yearns to follow it. He knows he must find the source of the exquisite scent, so he travels high and low, through flood, fire and tempest even with ravenous wolves snapping at his hooves on occasion, as he flies through the wild, mountain woodlands..
Try as he might he cannot find the origin of this most elusive and utterly compulsive ambrosia.
After much searching and starving; after rounding treacherous snowy mountain peaks flanked by yawning crevices but a hair’s width from his aching hooves, the tired young stag slows, stalls and stops on the bleakest mountain shoulder. He looks out and his eyes are frosted in the fog as he sees only endless gray.
In short, the ‘poor deer’ (😉) despairs upon the cold and bitter mountainside, the moaning wind wails his failure loudly. Collapsing, the young stag flops to the ground and lays limp, languishing. Curving his long neck he nestles his cold nose close to his heaving chest.
In a moment of sheer surprise, the forlorn creature is overwhelmed by a scent so powerful and perfect, that he feels suddenly weightless and finds himself floating in timeless, spring joy. All heaviness has left him and he is energized, renewed!
And with a flash of knowing he realized that the Divine fragrance was there all along as it arises from deep within himself. 🦌💎
Oh my dear Efrem, that is lovely! And it’s a fable of what so many people are, as we search outside ourselves for the glory that can be found only within. I think it’s a tragedy of our benighted times that we have achieved a standard of living so far beyond anything ever seen on earth, and yet our riches still seem to be all external! No matter how full of abundance modern Western culture becomes, we still hold to the awful notion instilled in us by our Christian and scientific thought-leaders that each of us is just a body, a fallen and evil meat-robot set to blink out like a light, when in fact each of us is of the very Godhead Itself, needing only to shed our fears and illusions to be able to discover that we are already pure eternal perfection!
I find church a place of questioning, searching, singing hymns, praying, and searching after God. Yes there are problems with its structure and teachings.
This reminds me of the need for the first Great Reformation. I am thinking that we need to have a second Great Reformation in which the divine matrix (Gregg Braden) becomes the underpinning of the message of Jesus, a message of love and service. We are part of the creative process that is inventing the universe.
A Course in Miracles says that a common theology is impossible, but a common experience is possible. We need to base faith on a common experience.
Father Richard Rohr in one of his meditations summarized the problems with the church as follows: “Christianity started in Israel where Jesus and the early “church” offered people an experience; it moved to Greece, and it became a philosophy. When it moved to Rome and Constantinople, it became an organized religion. Then it spread to Europe, and it became a culture. Finally, it moved to North America and became a business.”
I would hope someday we can add, “Then with new spiritual awakenings in science, theology and culture, Christianity was reborn as a path embracing love, forgiveness, the absence of sin and guilt, and the assurance of Spirit ever present and ever communicating love, hope, and eternal atonement.”
Oh my dear Chuck, this is wonderfully said. And I love Father Richard Rohr as well! I wish he didn’t find it necessary lately to bend so much to the current fashion of instilling race and guilt into his thinking, both of which are big cultural steps backward, as the greatest American of the 20th century – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – would gladly tell him. But I think Fr. Richard probably knows that. He is a very good man indeed. And what I admire most about him is his constant, stalwart efforts to make traditional Christianity make modern spiritual sense! Your quote of him in your comment is vintage Fr. Richard. I don’t think he’s right about early church history, but I love the man all the more for the way he keeps trying!
Having spent decades myself trying to figure out how to fix Christianity, to somehow strip away enough of what is frankly wrong and shore up enough of what is true to Jesus and right, I have come to conclude that the fear-based bogus dogmas that began even before First Nicaea in 325 really cannot be fixed.
The foundational dogma of Christianity is the notion that Jesus came to die for our sins because God requires from fallible humans the repayment of some sort of divine debt.There are various ways to express that idea, but it is the religion’s foundation: we are fallen and therefore unworthy, Jesus came to die horribly to save us from God’s wrath, and unless we claim His sacrifice as our own we will be forever separated from God. And we know now for certain that whole idea is a lie! Jesus Himself tells us that God doesn’t judge us (JN 5:22-23). And we now know based upon abundant testimony from those that we used to think were dead that the death of Jesus on the cross has never made a discernible post-death difference for a single human being.
My dear Chuck, I love the religion, as you do! But there is an awful, fear-based lie at the heart of it. And I can’t see a way to fix that without getting rid of the religion altogether.
Jesus told the Jews of His day not to package His teachings with their religion, and He was right about that (He always is!). He called His teachings “the Way.” And I have come to conclude that our best course for Him (and therefore for ourselves) is to go back to before there even was a Christian religion and begin to carry the Way forward from there. At the least, I think we should try!
It seems there is a tendency to unduly criticize what was left behind when one arrives at a new level of understanding after much effort and soul searching. My newly acquired knowledge has brought some humility with the realization of how little I really know. It is true that Christians to varying degrees have been led astray from the teachings of Jesus. I remain thankful for all the good Christians have done and continue to do for the betterment of our world, even though their motives may not be consistent with my current beliefs.
I agree with you Thomas. We can’t move forward in a non-judgmental way of love and forgiveness without first letting go of criticizing the Christian church. As Roberta has pointed out before, the Cristian church did bring us the wonderful teachings of Jesus. Without the church, all may have been lost in the past 2000 years. And while the truth is freeing, those who believe in the Salvation story still readily study the words of Jesus and grow from them.
Dear Thomas, I am grateful for Christianity as well! If it had not been for Constantine’s efforts to build the Jesus Movement into a religion, we would not today have the teachings of God on earth that were given to us a full two millennia ago. Christianity wrapped up and saved those teachings! Even though the religion never did much with the teachings, it blessedly didn’t much mess with them. It preserved them. And now, thanks to the religion, in this freer and more enlightened time we can open God’s greatest gift.
This blog really resonates with me as I think I had written previously. I hesitate to call what I experienced as a conversion, as that word sounds like it is describing a transition from one religion to another when the transition was from a contemporary religion to a what? Privately I call the ‘what” a pre-Nicene believer.
I have had two experiences with attempting to pass this belief on. In a class discussion led by the Rector, the topic of loving one’s neighbour came up. I suggested that loving oneself was most important. The Rector did not want to hear of it, that was the end of that offshoot of the discussion.
Yesterday at church I had a discussion with a friend on this same topic. She mentioned “love thy neighbour as thyself” and I said we should start with loving ourselves first. At first, she demurred, but then I pointed out that if you didn’t love yourself it would be difficult to love anyone else. That thought suddenly clicked with her.
I then asked how her confirmation class was going. “Well”, she replied. We were discussing heretics, when she unexpectedly said she was a heretic as I suppose I am too, now. Since I am not now or yet listening to my guide, I suppose that he or she used my friend to let me know some of the truth of my situation.
Oh my dear Cookie, you fight so hard! I almost said “struggle,” but it really does seem more like a battle to me, and an honorable one. You want to know and to do what is deeply right, and you also love the religion as I do. I can identify with all of that, and I suppose that I am a “pre-Nicene believer” as well. I have been fighting, too, to be pre-Nicene and also Christian, but I am coming to think now that it really isn’t possible to square that circle. I still wish it were! For your sake, even more than for mine. But I think we can’t follow Jesus and remain inside the Christianity that we love, so our only option is to go back before Nicaea and meet Him where He still is, and always was. I hope you’ll be willing to join me in trying?
A heretic is simply one who questions what they are being taught, so I also am a “heretic.” It was considered a mortal sin in early Christianity to doubt or question the teachings of those times. How else could they gain control of us? There had to be some scary words like “heretic” thrown around to keep us dumbed down
My dear Lola, you write about Christianity with a righteous rage that I admire. I would like to go all Jesus-in-the-Temple on modern Christianity, and Lord knows the religion deserves it! So much has been handled so badly for so long that the whole thing is easy to pick apart. But my instinct remains to try to find ways to repair it. I hope that you and Cookie and I and many others can together find a way to give Jesus what He tells us He came to begin, and perhaps in that we all can find what we are craving?
I just don’t understand why any religion has to be repaired. Why not just eliminated? All religions are man made and subject to the current beliefs of the leaders of the religion. All they do is cause confusion, at least for me and many others In all fairness, however, the Catholic church is becoming much more reasonable. For instance, Father Nathan Castle isn’t being harassed or threatened like he would have been in the past, and I think that’s wonderful.
Dear Lola, please understand that while you might be ready to be free from religion, many people are frankly not ready at all. We have talked here about the history of religion, https://robertagrimes.com/the-source/what-does-god-want-part-i and the fact that strong evidence suggests that our notion of religions was born two hundred thousand years ago, with the first fully human beings. Individually, you and I can ditch religions altogether if we like! But Jesus calls us now to tend His flock, and to do that we’ve got to meet people where they are and lead them as they are ready to be led.
Hi guys 😊
Ditto to all of the above been there done it bought the t-shirt, I’ve been Unsaved ! Saved ! Doubting Thomas ! Lapsed ! Reborn, then Born again! Heretic 🙏🏻 Heck done it all then left church (that’s another story all “Christian” friends dropped me like a hot tattie ) Yet the Truth has set me free 🥰 still like bambi on ice but with the help of you all on this fabulous blog especially Roberta and of course Jesus I will get there ♥️♥️….. I’m super excited about the coming website …whoo hoo 🎉🎊🎉
Merry Christmas everyone 🧑🎄 🎅 🎄 🎄⛄️⛄️🌨🌨
With all my love 💕 Louise
Oh my dear beautiful Louise, this is such a delightful set of comments! I love the “Bambi on ice” characterization – I’m sure many people can identify with that feeling. And it is perfectly awful that people who call themselves followers of Jesus actually shut you out just for questioning! I know that’s what they do. But Jesus weeps.
We expect the SRO website to soft-open in February, and launch by the end of March. I’m looking forward to having everyone’s input so we can make it wonderful!!
Great message. I read all of the comments, and found it very helpful and supportive.
I have a similar journey. Member of christian church since a little child. Jesus was always with me. In my dreams, answers to prayers and guidance. He is still my source of guidance. He will lead me to read from many different sources, all to teach me and support me.
I am blessed with a curious mind and I love to ask, and research. The religion I was in, and the bible, were no exception. As answers came, and my knowledge expanded I eventually was led to break free of the religious bindings. I remember the first time I asked if it was His will for me to go to church that Sunday, and I received a “No”. Wow. He let me know, that He would be teaching me. It feels so weird to be free from it. My rare thoughts of doubt and guilt will seep in, and I wonder….hmmm, am I doing the right thing?
But, I know who I follow, and where I have been led. So I move forward. Nothing is impossible….
After reading the enlightening comments and knowing of my own experiences, I feel like the ‘second coming’ is this very unfolding. An awakening to the truth. Jesus returning, in His truth. Bringing light to us all.
Religion for me, was a part of my journey that led to awakening. God can really use where we are, and what we are surrounded with, to open us to Him. I just need to be willing, seeking, and aware.
Oh my dear Sue, I can certainly identify with your journey and your doubts! When we earnestly seek the Lord, and we are led away from Christianity, we tend to over and over again question whether the guidance we are getting can possibly be right. And then will come some spectacular, incontrovertible sign – from the Godhead or from our own guides, doesn’t matter – and and how can we deny what we plainly see? I think the process that you describe so well is really the journey that many of us are on right now. It’s a kind of universal journey, and probably the start of the next stage of humankind’s relationship with God. It’s exciting, but it’s nervousness-making too, to try to look ahead and see where all of this is leading us!
Dear Roberta. Traditional Christianity never got it’s hooks too far into me, so it is kind of funny that I find myself so focused on this idea of the very first followers of Jesus and his Way these days, but it is an interest that has grown steadily in me for several years. I’ve always been a spiritual seeker, though, and my father was a good role model in that respect, teaching open mindedness combined with critical thinking, and spending much time with me talking about some of the conundrums of Christianity that you have brought up in your posts. I ask Jesus and my guides every day to help me learn the truth about His teachings and how they were followed in those first days by those who actually knew Jesus or learned directly from those who had. It seems like a tough nut to crack unless some lost book rises miraculously from the sands, but hopefully now that I have knocked on the door it will slowly start to open, and much of that is thanks to your work and guidance. My spirital search has ranged far and wide over the last 45 or so years since my mid teens. It brings a sense of peace to know I have finally found the spiritual path I want to be on. I look forward to what will unfold with your new website project next year.
Oh my dear Scott, you always make me smile! Yes, my dear, it certainly is a voyage, and we are just at the beginning of it. We know that fear is anathema to spiritual growth so we’ve got to take it back to the teachings of Jesus themselves, which are devoid of all fear. But we also know that from time out of mind it has been fear that has driven every spiritual movement, so without fear, how can we even persuade people to bother? That’s what I’ve been wrestling with lately. And all that I can think to do is to offer the truth as an antidote to the fear of death, which is the base fear. I don’t know what will work, but you and I are just the servants. People far above our pay-grade are in charge. And personally, I find that to be a great comfort!
Yes, Roberta. They always focused on the stick instead of the carrot. What would that carrot be? When that fear is gone, the mystical light of God is awakened. It goes from something you could hide under a bowl to something that would be too huge to hide. It can’t be bought or sold, it can’t be faked, and fear is powerless against it. Who wouldn’t want some of that? Is that the carrot?I get the impression that this “Presence” of, for lack of a better term, The Holy Spirit, will have something to do with what The Way is about, but who knows. We’ll see.
Oh my dear Scott, I hope you’re right! I think that only the internet really makes this sort of fear-free spiritual movement even possible. Churches require fear. Otherwise, why get up on a cold Sunday morning and schlepp to church and put money in the till each week to support the whole building and infrastructure? My husband still goes to Mass every week without fail, even though his parish’s current priest personally irritates him. It’s not a strong fear, of course, but it’s not joy that makes him do it.
I don’t know. I only know that it’s time for us to begin to try to figure it out!