What Jesus didn’t say

Darla.Alone

15 things Jesus Didn’t Say:

“For God was so disgusted with the world and you that he gave his one and only Son.”

“I have come to bring you a new religion.”

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct theology.”

“If anyone would come after me, let him disparage all other religions and their followers.”

“If you love me, you will regularly attend a church of your choice… within reason.”

“Blessed are the tithers for they shall be called the children of God.”

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Heaven after the earth goes up in flames and is destroyed.”

“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor,’ which means the people with whom you attend church and relate to in your Christian sub-culture.”

“In my Father’s house there are a limited number of rooms. But no worries, there is plenty of room in Hell.”

“The kingdom of God has come!… Well, not exactly. I mean, not completely. Let’s face it, the really-real kingdom comes after we die. Hang in there. It won’t be long.”

“And you will know the truth and the truth will make you superior to all the other simpletons who never learned Greek or Hebrew.”

“You are the light of the world… well… in a sinful-filthy-scum kind of way.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you a checklist of things to do and not do in order to remain in God’s favor.”

“For God so loved the world… you know like theoretically… as in, God loves the big ‘W’-world. But when it come to you specifically, there are quite a few things that would need to change for God to actually and specifically love… or even like… YOU.”

“He appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days and spoke about how to incorporate his life and teaching as a 501(c)3, and go into all the earth to build mega-churches in his name.”

- Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge 

(Photo by Darla Winn)

5 things not to feel guilty about on your spiritual journey

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As people shed religion and walk in freedom, they can feel guilt about the changes they are going through. Thinking about this I identified 5 things not to feel guilty about on your spiritual journey.

5 things that may happen on your spiritual journey that you don’t need to feel guilty about:

1. You may discontinue your active involvement in a church or religious organization. This doesn’t necessarily have to be some sort of judgment orcondemnation against the church or organization you were part of, but a choice you make because your involvement no longer relates to or supports where you are on the journey, or may be an obstacle and hindrance to it.

2. You may grow weary of incessant God talk. It’s possible there will be times when you grow sick of the constant theological discussion and debate, and the never-ending wheel of new and improved concepts, beliefs, understandings, teachings, etc. At some point it all might sound like, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…” You might fall dead to the need to be constantly figuring out things with your mind or in your head. One day you might wake up and say, “Okay, I’m done!” Don’t feel bad about this. It actually may be a very important milestone in your spiritual journey. In my view, theology is not even the best way by which God and spiritual truth is known. It may be that subject of “God” as a whole feels a bit overdone and boring, but this is only because you were taught to equate God with all that blah blah blah stuff.

3. You may find that the very people your religion judged and condemned are the people you find the most interesting and enjoyable. Once you come out from under the judgmental labels, views and stereotypes you learned through religion, you start realizing how much you truly like and enjoy the people you were taught to hate. This is a good and liberating aspect of shedding religion. For too long you were shut yourself off from a lot of beautiful and extraordinary people in this world to enjoy and learn from.

4. You may find and express a rebellious or defiant part of you that has been dormant. Don’t feel bad about this. Too often religion turns people into nice, complaint, repressed, timid, inhibited, mannerly, obedient, fearful, amiable, submissive people. By the way, I would not use any of these words to describe Jesus. Here’s the deal, you can be a loving, compassionate, respectful and kind person AND be a rebellious, defiant, passionate, disobedient, subversive, nonconformist, mischievous, self-willed, fully expressed, freethinker, heretic, and free spirit human being.

5. You may find less fulfillment in religious things, and more satisfaction in human things. It’s okay and good to be human, and to enjoy each moment of your human journey. Religion caused many people to create a false division between “sacred” things and “secular” things. There is no such line. All of life is sacred, spiritual, and divine. There’s no need to defend, theologize, or spiritualize your human experience. Just live it! That is enough. Life is made complete by you living each moment. There’s no need to maintain a running commentary about how God is part of it. God IS part of it. Life and God are inseparable. End of story. It’s okay to enjoy life, experience delight and pleasure, do the things you enjoy doing, and that breathe life into you, whatever those things may be.

(Photo by Darla Winn)

The salvation of the world is birthed out of us

Darla.Hands

So many people are waiting on the future and the fulfillment of “the return of Christ,” not realizing that this “return” – this breakthrough of the life-giving Spirit into our world – is a reality that is birthed out of us.

Why isn’t Jesus saving us?

If Jesus is the savior, where is he? Why is he not saving us or our world? Where is he??? Something is seriously wrong somewhere. Our mission shouldn’t be to escape the threat of hell in the after life when we are already in it! Consider the possibility that we’ve missed something. Maybe start questioning what you’ve always been told, especially if it doesn’t line up with the reality of the situation. Jesus is never going to save us or our world in the way we have been told. Acknowledging this is the first step. What Jesus taught, demonstrated, and lived has the power to save this world, but NOT in the way we have been told through religion.

The authority of Jesus was the truth itself

DarkMan

“In many religions, authority is based in a sacred book or Scripture, and often, by extension, to those who are deemed most knowledgeable or equipped to interpret and understand them. Jesus’s religious tradition, Judaism, was very much a religion anchored in a sacred text, the Torah and the rabbinic commentaries.

But Jesus was a sage and story-teller, and typically did not take his point of departure from texts of Scripture. In his core sayings and parables, the Scriptures are conspicuously missing.

The province where Jesus spent most of his public life and drew most of his support was in Galilee. This was a region noted for its more cavalier or indifferent attitude toward the religious traditions of Judaism. The crowd who followed Jesus, for instance, was declared to be under a curse because they were ignorant of the Torah or Holy Scripture. Yet there is no evidence that Jesus took on the role of a Bible teacher to remedy their Scriptural deficiency. In fact, the only people he chided for their ignorance and misuse of Scripture were the orthodox elite.

Neither did Jesus write anything, or instruct his apostles to record what he said or did. It was not Jesus who commissioned the writing of the New Testament. Instead, Jesus confronted the religious elite, finding them guilty of what amounted to Bibliolatry – the glorification of a scared writing. Jesus said to these religious leaders, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

Jesus was continually challenged, “By what authority do you say this or do that.” He never answered by appealing to the authority of the Bible. He laid no claim to a vision from any kind of special revelation. In fact, what makes Jesus immeasurably greater than any religious guru is precisely the fact that he spoke and acted without authority and that he regarded “the exercise of authority” as a pagan characteristic.

Jesus’s perception and teaching of the truth was direct and unmediated. He did not even lay claim to the authority of a prophet. Unlike the prophets he did not appeal to a special prophetic calling or to a vision in order to legitimize his words. Jesus never used the classical prophetic introduction, ‘God says…’ What gave weight to the words of Jesus were the words themselves. Jesus was unique among the men of his time in his ability to overcome all forms of authority-thinking. The only authority which Jesus might be said to have appealed to was the authority of the Truth itself.

It’s curious to me that we don’t think of “being like Jesus” as including listening to and following the spirit of truth inside of us. Instead we externalize this authority to someone or something outside ourselves. I think we do this because we assume that what’s supposed to be happening is that we somehow should be coming up with a correct set of absolute beliefs or theology about God, and therefore, we figure we should refer to the “experts.” Being led by the spirit of Truth that is inside you is not about constructing theology, but about living and being in a whole and complete relationship with yourself, God, others, and life. The spirit of Truth inside you is not there to lead you to correct concepts and ideas about God, but is there to guide you into the same truth that Jesus lived, expressed, and was.”

- Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge 

Nice is overrated

Darla.Walk

“People often envision Jesus as someone tiptoeing around in a flowing robe, speaking softly, and carrying a baby lamb in his arms. But the real Jesus of history was a lightning rod. He got angry. He was the greatest debunker of religious hierarchies and traditions, and the greatest desacralizer of holy places, times, people, rituals, priests and things, that this world has ever seen. The religious establishment hurriedly condemned him to death for blasphemy, while the secular powers executed him for sedition.

“Nice” is overrated. “Nice” is being “amiably pleasant, pleasing, and agreeable.” Not exactly the word I would use for Jesus when he was turning over tables in the temple. Jesus did not do this nicely. Jesus was a person of deep love and compassion, but the word “nice” doesn’t fit him. “Defiant” and “subversive” fit much better.

You’re too nice.

Religion taught you that you should be nice, considerate, polite, amiable, and selfless. An antonym for “nice” is “improper.” “Improper” is defined as: “not being in accord with acceptable behavior and procedures; not in keeping with conventional mores.” Yep, that was Jesus!

The road to Truth has improper written all over it. People traveling this road are a threat to all the nice people. Don’t expect them to be nice anymore, at least to you. Your world works because it hinges on you being nice. There will not be a crowd cheering you on. Knowing Truth is not a popularity contest, and the road to your freedom and end of suffering will be lined with people expressing disapproval.

Every step on the path of Truth is an act of non-conformity.

There will be resistance. There will be a lot of chances to turn back. Keep going! Be fearless!”

- Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge

(Photo by Darla Winn)

Jesus did not institute the Christian church

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“Jesus had very little to do with religion. He had no home in any particular religious sect. He did not identify himself with the Essenes, Pharisees, Zealots, Priests or Rabbis. He did not subscribe to any school of thought, whether it was the school of the great Rabbi Hillel, Philo the philosopher, or the school of the Cynics, all of which had a strong following in his day.

Jesus identified with the whole of humankind irrespective of race, religion, or gender. His vision transcended any sect. He was not a member of any exclusive group. Jesus recognized that no group had a monopoly on the Truth or God. Some of Jesus’s earliest followers wrongly assumed that only their small group could claim to be his true disciples. But Jesus taught that any person who listened to the Spirit of God inside them and loved their neighbor were themselves a Jesus in their own right.

Jesus was not part of any kind of Establishment. Not an old one or a new one. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not replace Judaism with Christianity. At a later point, others organized an establishment called Christianity, but the itinerant Jesus had nothing to do with that. The very nature of an establishment was contrary to his free spirit.

Jesus was always picking a fight with religion. Religion was supposed to help people know God, but Jesus exposed the ways it was the obstacle hindering it. Jesus spoke of being divine AND human. He wanted humankind to know that, contrary to the view of religion, the two were not in opposition to each other. Jesus handpicked the most notorious “sinners” of his day as his close friends, and in so doing, confronted the false notion that some people did not qualify for God’s love and acceptance. Jesus didn’t allow the adulterous woman to be stoned to death as the religious law required. He stood in opposition to the performance-based mentality of relating to God.

Jesus honored the spirit of God wherever it was manifested, but he did not align himself with the religious mentality that sought to formulate and legislate God.

Often to their dismay, Jesus’s close friends found that he would not stay in one place long enough for them to consolidate interests and central beliefs or take steps to organize a movement. Jesus always moved on. In fact, one time his three closest friends had a revelation on a mountainside, and wanted to build some kind of structure or monument to capture and display the glory of Jesus. But Jesus, the incurable itinerant, would have none of it.

Jesus freely taught those whose hearts were open. Some of them followed Jesus and took up the truth he taught, and lived it for themselves. But it’s doubtful that Jesus ever took any steps to organize the church by ordaining twelve apostles, which is more closely aligned with the Old Testament tradition of the twelve tribes. Jesus was not involved in organizing the Christian church as the “new Israel,” an idea the Christian establishment fashioned after Jesus’s death. The whole notion of Jesus beginning a new hierarchy ruled by the chair of Saint Peter is a grave distortion of the whole character, life, and teaching of Jesus. Jesus’s central message was about the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of men.”

- Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge

Monday morning thoughts (salvation comes from within)

Turn within to the eternal life-giving spirit. Pay attention to what bubbles up in your deep feelings. Look and see what you are shown there. A new world will open up if we will speak from these deep feelings to each other. They don’t have to be profound, spiritual or sophisticated words, they only need to be your words.

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The salvation of this world is not going to come as a slight alteration or improvement of what we are already doing. This is why Jesus emphasized “repentance,” which has nothing to do with feeling regret or grief over one’s sinful behavior, but means to move to a higher dimension for understanding and living. Jesus said, “I am in this world but not of this world.” This is also true of you. That other world is within us. Find that world. Listen to that world. Follow that world. Express that world. It’s a very different world than this one, and it will open up a whole new reality if we will trust it.

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It’s unfortunate that religion made Jesus an uninteresting and irrelevant figure to many people. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus was not a religious person or founder of Christendom. In my view, Jesus is the most misunderstood person because of what religion did to him, and because people try to understand him through religion.
 
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This morning I checked the news headlines on my phone app. and was reminded of the turmoil of this world. The whole mental/religious construct that God is up above, in control, and overseeing the affairs of our world does not match the reality of the situation. In some ways we have never progressed past the most primitive notions of Sky-God. Jesus cast aside this view by emphatically teaching that he and God were one, and that all of us share in that same spiritual reality and dimension. God is not a mythological-type superhero riding the sky, but an eternal life-giving spirit that flows within us. Nothing in this world is going to change until we stop looking into the sky for answers and start looking inside ourselves.

I preached a powerless gospel (my personal regret)

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I regret that I did not do my due diligence sooner. That I blindly accepted and believed what I was taught about God, Jesus, myself, the Bible, people, the world, and life.

I regret that I did not exercise my own free and independent thinking earlier.

I regret that I taught people views about God and themselves that were damaging, and prevented their liberation. I am partly responsible for the condition of this world, and the fact that we have not yet tasted the kind of salvation and liberation Jesus spoke of.

I was the seminary graduate with a Master of Divinity degree. I was the Senior Pastor of a successful church that people turned to for the truth. I was the religious leader and Bible scholar that people trusted. But instead, I preached a powerless gospel. I just parroted what I was taught and never questioned. I believed and taught it sincerely but it was still based in ignorance.

This is an appeal to others out there like me. We messed this thing up, and we have been doing so for centuries! We are the “priesthood” that dropped the ball and led people astray. We can’t change the past but we can courageously stand for a different future. We are the ones who now have to make things right! We have to remove the religious stumbling blocks people are tripping over every day! We are the “lost sheep of Israel” today, and we have to get our act together!

Human beings are not inherently bad! Humankind is not separated from God! The truth of Jesus is God and humankind as one! The life-giving Spirit runs through us all, and we must encourage people to turn within and follow that Spirit, and to speak to one another from those deep feelings!

We have to set aside the building of all our little separate and individual kingdoms, and bring people together as one for the salvation and liberation of all humankind! If we will turn people toward the Spirit within them this will happen, but we will continue to wander around in circles if we insist upon making people into our own disciples! The Spirit says, “Let my people go!” We screwed up! We should be on the front-lines, making things right! Forget your reputation and good-standing, and stand for a new possibility and a new future and a new opening of the Spirit in our day right now!

Wake up!

The whole creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. We are here to birth and manifest the messiah out of ourselves and into this world! We cannot stand in the way any longer. We must be out in front, telling people to come together and birth that messiah out of ourselves and the Eternal Spirit that is within us.

Reading another book or following another guru isn’t going to help

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This is bigger than “self-improvement,” and whatever you’re going to find in the “self-help” aisle. We are going to have to get past me-myself-and-I, and the idea that this is all about individual enhancement. The transformation we want is more than tidying up a messed up world. For the Spirit to work we have to be talking to one another. What is there to say? Turn within to the spirit of the depths. What is opening up through your deep feelings? What is that intuitive knowing and tacit understandings revealing to you? We have to talk to one another from that place! We must express it as naturally as we can in our own words. You have to become a little child to really do it – it’s as simple as that, and as difficult as that.

Is this the same as reading another book about God and spirituality? No.
Is this the same as following our favorite spiritual teacher? No.
Is this the same as attending another conference or workshop? No.
Is this the same as embracing more progressive beliefs in your mind? No.
Is this the same as acquiring more knowledge? No.

It’s not necessary to do any of the above in order to practice what I’m suggesting. And unless you practice what I’m suggesting, all of the above are meaningless.

Turn within to the spirit and source within you. We have to start talking to one another about what we experience there… not in a bunch of empty religious phraseology, but in our own words. Nothing is going to change unless we start doing this.

(Photo by Darla Winn)

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