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#2907 - Tuessday, August 21, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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Ray Morose discusses true surrender to Jesus and what it means.
The Dilemma of Practicing Christians
by Ray Morose
Practicing Christians can come face to face with a variety of challenging theological dilemmas, causing some to question the authenticity of a good portion of Christian doctrine and practice. Amongst the many challenges, understanding the difference between belief and faith is a priority, even if it is not stated using that terminology. On the surface, belief and faith appear identical and interchangeable. However, the reality is they are worlds apart and that separation is the cause of intense turmoil, confusion, and argument; potentially isolating one from the very thing active Christians are searching for.
A feature of the book, The Mind of Consciousness, explores the experiential aspect of Christianity that appears to have vanished over time. With good intent, practicing Christians have been lead into following form (theology, dogma and ritual) rather than the formless nature of the original teachings of Jesus. Meaning his teachings are experiential and designed to be experienced, opening the doors for the release of an empirical faith, and not simply used to defend or uphold theology, dogma and ritual to support a belief. The book explores all aspects of existence, using reproducible spirit logic to establish an intellectual foundation for existence, and using experiential processes to confirm that foundation. It provides practical pathways to gain experiential insight into the core of those teachings and parables, allowing the reader to see into their depth, illuminating the light within them and so within themselves. This provides the reader with an experiential foundation for individual existence that is practical and usable in daily life, supporting and enhancing Christian values as an empirical reality and not just as an ideal.
What most practicing Christians crave is a personal connection they can feel or experience, rather than simply endure a potentially restrictive belief within a frail hope that somehow theology, dogma and ritual is sufficient. It is not sufficient. The teachings of Jesus are meant to be experienced and by the experience achieve the personal connection they are searching for. A variety of historical circumstances has precluded the majority of Christians from actively engaging in the true adventure of directly experiencing what they are practicing. This misadventure has opened the door to subliminal and overt hypocrisy on multiple levels: for if the teachings are not directly experienced they can easily be manipulated or convoluted to manipulate others. One of the greatest direct and indirect manipulations that has obscured the experiential aspect of Christianity is the indiscriminate mixing of the terms belief and faith.
Practicing Christians are constantly facing the dilemma of belief versus faith. However, few will use that terminology to define their disquiet as they may not have a clear definition of those two terms. Belief is contained within the restrictive borders of theology and dogma, whilst faith is unrestricted and cannot be contained within any form of border. Normally, there is an attempt to create faith in a belief, but that is attempting to superimpose non-restriction upon restriction. It simply does not work as restriction/non-restriction form a duality. Meaning, they are constantly held at arms length from the other by their nature. That is not implying it is impossible, just incredibly difficult. The problem is, has been, and will always be the restrictive borders of a belief attempting to constrain faith within its borders, but faith is unrestricted and cannot be held within borders. Hence, the difficulty of having restrictive beliefs form an unrestricted faith, and an unrestricted faith is what Jesus was constantly pointing at in all his teachings. Consequently, have practicing Christians been missing the point of their religion by focusing upon restrictive beliefs and rituals and not focusing upon developing a true unrestricted and experiential faith that is both belief and border free. Does that misalignment result in merely paying lip service to their born-into or adopted religion, potentially obscuring the real meaning and experiential depth of Christianity within their lives? Or, has early childhood religious conditioning, relying upon restrictive belief, instilled fear as a guide rather than experientially discovering an unrestricted faith that unveils compassionate insight and equanimity as a guide?
The forgoing unveils the dilemma of practicing Christians, even if it is not recognized as a dilemma, how to use restrictive beliefs to develop unrestricted faith without resorting to fear as a teaching tool. If one reads the teachings of Jesus, nowhere does he use fear to teach, but employs short stories and parables, allowing the listener, (now reader), to experience the meaning in relation to their lives. Those teaching stories and parables are designed to inspire compassionate insight, revealing the true nature of our existence, exposing how to positively and directionally interrelate with others and the source of creation. Meaning, you must experience those teaching stories and parables and not just know about them. By experiencing them, you are developing experiential knowledge, which is the cornerstone of an unrestricted faith, free of belief borders. Then there is nothing to believe as the experience forms what and who you are, revealing and inspiring compassionate insight and equanimity without trying to do so. With that experiential knowledge, you become compassionate insight, which is unrestricted faith in action and the foundation of the Christian religion. It also releases a surety that is fearless, as now you experientially know, free of restrictive beliefs and constructs, and nothing can ever alter or unsettle that surety. In short, belief requires effort. Faith is effortless.
As faith is difficult to teach, simply because it is unrestricted, belief processes have been established as a tool to develop faith. Problems within that development arise as belief processes, although easy to implement, normally rely upon restrictive fear as a prodding tool to maintain restrictive beliefs. However, the life, parables, and teaching stories of Jesus that the Christian religion is built upon contain no element of fear. In fact, they were presented to eliminate fear, which is one aspect of the Good News. The intent of the original compilers of the Christian religion was honorable. However, that intent has been transformed by the restrictive belief borders morphing into being more important than understanding how and why the belief was created and what it was created upon. The transformation may have arisen as enforcing restrictive beliefs allow a few to control large populations, which arguably had value in the early days of our evolutionary civilization. At one time in our developmental history, control by fear may have been relevant, but today that relevance is gone, which is possibly one aspect of why the populations of some denominations are thinning. One of the major reasons for this desertion is that practicing Christians are not actively encouraged, or given the opportunity, to explore the experiential core of their religion. They are required to adhere strictly to the restrictive borders of their belief, without questioning how and why that belief exists, which strangely enough is moving contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Those teachings are founded upon experiential knowledge, and restricting that adventure restricts his teaching, preventing the development of a true faith as faith is unrestricted and requires experiential knowledge to confirm it as actual and not just accepted and presented as a required posture.
Belief, although directional and supportive, is restrictive or confined within the created borders of the belief, making belief an accepted direction. On the other hand, faith is unrestricted and free of any form of borders, making faith experiential. This is entering the great learning duality of restriction/non-restriction, bringing experiential knowledge into the world of Christianity, which to date has a tendency to mistrust, question and sometimes repudiate such personal approaches to understand that religion. However, if the gospels of Jesus are read with openness, experiencing his statements and parables are the core of his teachings. Meaning, they are intended to be experienced, making the living heart of Christianity experiential, using his teachings as empirical guidelines and direction. When the gospels of Jesus are experienced, a pure unrestricted faith arises of its own accord, bypassing belief that may have taken the experiencer up to the threshold of that experience, but not beyond it. It is right here where theology can become a barrier to what the theology is professing to accomplish. This is not suggesting belief inspired theology is incorrect or wrong, just potentially limiting, as most theology rests upon restrictive belief. However, the teachings of Jesus rest upon unrestricted faith that is internally released by experiencing the instruction within his directional parables. The discovery and/or release of an empirical faith can be referred to as true surrender, which is experientially knowing the inner truth and wisdom of those parables. When that discovery is a personal living reality, one has entered into the purity of a perfect, honest, and boundless faith, which is the true intent of the teachings of Jesus.
The daily adventure of exploring the experiential depth of Jesus unrestricted parables gives practicing Christians something to intellectually work with within their daily lives, and not just accept and live by the theology built upon those parables. The effort provides the means for each to confirm their beliefs by experiential knowledge, revealing the effortlessness of being living faith, actualized by living within, and as, compassionate insight and equanimity. That one action manifests the directional Spirit-Energy of the universe within physical manifestation, which is personally touching what cannot be physically touched. That demonstrable actualization, unconditioned by any form of belief, unveils the true directional and connective power of a living faith, unveiling the universality of Jesus teachings that have systematically been restricted, preventing that universality from becoming actualized. With pure faith guiding your life, free of encumbering beliefs, you will discover there is nothing to teach, or your life is the teaching.
Ocean View Publications
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