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

manalone

“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)

You are not a sinner! (Start trusting what is inside you)

taponshoulder

God is spirit. That spirit is the source of life, freedom, harmony, power, and well-being. That spirit and source is within you. It’s not located outside of you somewhere out there; it is inside you. Yes, INSIDE you. Yes, inside YOU. But you have a hard time accepting this because you were given false information about yourself. You were told that you are fundamentally a sinner, and that what’s inside you is corrupt and bad. This is a lie. Jesus never taught this. Your fundamental nature and essence is that spirit and source. That is your true Self. “Sin” is an orientation toward illusion and falsity. In other words, when you are believing the lie that you are bad and corrupt, that is the illusion and falsity!

Who you are deep down is good, beautiful, and powerful. That spirit.. that Self can be trusted… must be trusted. We are not going to get anywhere until you/we start trusting what is within us. You are afraid or doubt what lies deep within you… but what lies deep within you is your salvation and the salvation of the world.

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Thursday Morning Rant (STOP doing what doesn’t work!)

Begin rant… 

There’s that definition of insanity that says it’s doing the same thing over and over and over again, and expecting a different result. I had this feeling today that this is what the majority of people are doing. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, if what you’re doing isn’t capable of producing the result. Stop! Look around! Is all this stuff we’re doing transforming the reality of our world and our lives??? If not, stop! Stop doing what’s not working! There is a proverb that says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” There is a worldly mindset and a religious mindset, which are different variations of the same theme… and they won’t work! No matter how hard we try, they will not work ever! It was this worldly mindset and religious mindset that joined forces to have Jesus killed. When push comes to shove, these two forces join together because they share the same fundamental ego-interests. What I am proposing is that we start doing something different. And the different thing I am suggesting is that each of us turn inward and access the life-giving Spirit/dimension within us. Okay, that sounds too religious. How about this. Stop pushing away what is real that bubbles up inside you through your deep feelings. Trust what is there! You already know what’s real and the truth deep inside you. No one needs to tell you. The source of life is within you. It opens up inside you and shows you things, but you question them, doubt them, don’t know what to do with them, and explain them away. You almost feel silly or foolish to express what you feel there. It seems childish. That’s what it’s supposed to feel like, which is why Jesus said we cannot access the “Heavenly” dimension unless we become like little children. Start speaking to others from your deep feelings are what they are telling you and showing you. Speak it naturally in your own words. It doesn’t matter how silly or “juvenile” it might seem. Expressing what’s real and true from the depths is always gonna make you sound a little… or a lot… crazy. But I’m convinced we have to start doing this, however crazy it might seem. Let your next FB post be you speaking in your own words what you have felt deep inside… in that inner-knowing place, that deep feeling place, that intuitive, tacit understanding place – that place where you know something, but you don’t know how or why you know it, but you know it as more certain than anything in all this world. Stop quoting everyone else, and start speaking your truth in your own words! 

Rant has ended.

My final book

JimPalmerNashville

I never set out to be an author. Years ago I was contacted by a major publisher, requesting that I write about my journey out of religion. Over a string of years since then I have written four books:

Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you)

Wide Open Spaces: Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity

Being Jesus in Nashville: Finding the Courage to Life Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are)

Notes from (Over) the Edge: Unmasking the Truth to End Your Suffering 

This week I am embarking upon writing my fifth and last non-fiction book. It makes sense for my journey of non-fiction writing to end here because I am putting all my cards on the table and asking people everywhere to join together in birthing a new reality in our world out of the life-giving Spirit within us. 

The biggest blunder of religion was convincing people to mistrust what is inside them, and to become dependent on the religious mindset and system to work out their relationship with God. Unless people have the confidence to turn within themselves to access the life-giving Spirit and source of all, then we’re going to be wandering around in circles forever, and getting nowhere. There’s nothing else for me to say or write; the crux of the matter comes down to this.

I’ve never been interested in making a name for myself as an author or spiritual teacher/leader. I already had superstar status in my previous religious life, and it wasn’t so great. The teacher you most need is the one inside yourself, and anything anyone else says, including me, is no substitute for what lies within you. I have my reasons for believing that everything about our reality is about to dramatically open up and change in ways this world has yet to experience, and that the only thing needed to tip it over is you trusting yourself.

So, I’m not sure what these next 4-6 months of writing this book are going to look like but you’re welcome to walk down this path with me. I decided to self-publish this book with the support of my reading audience and social media friends. This feels much more organic to me, and I find the process much more enjoyable, creative, constructive, and worthwhile. If you are interested in supporting the effort financially you can make a contribution to the:

Friends of Jim Palmer PayPal Account
or
Friends of Jim Palmer GoFundMe Page

Thanks!

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