I just finished watching an absolutely wonderful movie called “Come Sunday“, which is a movie about internationally-renowned pastor Carlton Pearson, who has a crisis of faith when he receives guidance from God that contradicts scripture and puts him at odds with his church and his future as a minister.
I don’t intend on giving away spoilers of the movie, I am more interested in taking a closer look at the phenomena which is portrayed in the movie, that so many people around the world experience as a result of their own spiritual development and evolution.
As I have presented in previous articles, Christianity is not a static religion even though it seems portrayed that way in mainstream media and is practiced that way by countless congregations the world over. This reflects the people more then it reflects the religion itself, and the story of Bishop Pearson perfectly depicts how true this is.
How many of you have had an experience that directly contradicted what you believed? I am sure it happens more often then we would like to admit, and can lead us into a spiral; spinning with confusion as our lost footing in our understanding of the world sends us for a loop.
However, this can be a powerful moment in our lives. A moment which leads to a more complete picture of life, reality, and in this case, the nature of God.
The Fallibility of Scripture
Let’s get this out of the way right now.
From a post-modern/Meta-modern altitude, the Bible is not the Holy Writ of God. Sure, its inspired by the Spirit of the Father, but it was written a long time ago in a world much different than the one we live in today.
Our minds are evolving and expanding to allow a larger, more inclusive, idea of God.
As I understand it, the Bible is a collection of stories, poetry, and in some ways, historical accounts of a specific people during a very influential time of that people’s history. Some amazing thing happened. Some not so amazing things happened. Some people decided it was important to record, and so they did, and it has survived the several millennia to be shared with people of the present.
It has had a lot of different meanings throughout the ages, but as we enter into a new age of humanity, one that is beginning to embrace a higher altitude of consciousness, the meaning of this collection of writings is shifting again. And it is shifting precisely because our minds are evolving and expanding to allow a larger, more inclusive, idea of God.
When I say that Scripture is fallible, what I mean is that scripture, while being a source of inspiration and in many ways an account of the Spirit of God alive in the world, it cannot ever take precedence over the imminent revelation of God’s Love that is being revealed in our lives, Now.
And that is what I feel Bishop Pearson experienced. The logic was simple. If I can imagine offering forgiveness to others, and accept that everyone is worthy of God’s Love and mercy, then how much more can God love and offer mercy?
I understand that may be a big pill for some people to swallow, and that’s fine. Your beliefs are just that; yours. God loves us all FULLY and COMPLETELY, without reservation, regardless of what we choose to believe. At least, that’s what I believe. 😉
The Emergence of God
I want to tie all of this in with Emergent Christianity.
Making a transition from a traditional position to a post-traditional or post-modern position within the context of Christianity is no small thing, as can be seen in the events which unfold in the movie.
One is catapulted into unknown territory, where faith, surety, and belief are suspended in limbo, so to speak, and where a person can experience tremendous doubt and fear. Your entire foundation for life is put into question, and ironically, it is a time where real faith in the goodness and surety of our Father must be kept, to weather this passing storm.
Living, sincerely, within a contemplative religious tradition such as Christianity, the transformation of the mind and heart are natural consequences. We are forever pulled back to Him, who are entire being rests. And as we allow this process to unfold in our lives, more of Him is revealed to us.
Again, I resonate with the idea that as we will experience the peace, love, and grace of God to the degree to which we accept it in our lives. We will never be forced, but the choice or decision for real peace is always there. As our minds and hearts open to Him, He will reveal and emerge more and more into our lives.
Traditionalism and the Group Mentality
A key characteristic of the traditional altitude is the governing, group mentality which holds sway in all of the prescribed members. A congregation comes together with shared beliefs, and if those beliefs are questioned or challenged by anyone in the group, then instead of the group investigating the new idea, the individual is shunned and ostracized.
Again, a theme in the movie was the struggle that Bishop Pearson faced when it came to the group he was identified with for so long. A majority of his closest friends and colleagues rejected him and his ideas, most likely out of a sense of fear of the unknown [some even admitted to this].
I bring this up because if there are any traditional, mainstream Christians who read my blog, and who have been having experiences that run counter to what you have been taught, know that you are safe and that not everyone is in a state of readiness for new ideas or revelations.
I know that when I made the transition from a non-spiritual to a spiritual lifestyle, which is to say, a life that is spirit-centered and spirit led, I experienced a great shift in my social circles and it was difficult. We want to remain in the place where things are familiar, comfortable, and safe. That’s just not how it works, though, and we need to be brave enough to face the unknown with arms wide open.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” –
In this world of relative truth, form, error [sin], and illusion, perfection seems to only be an idealistic fantasy. Our Father, who is perfect in Heaven, instructs us to be just as perfect here on earth. What do you think that could mean?
I think it means that not only do we have the capacity for perfection but that it is our very function to live our lives as if it were an imminent truth of our existence. Therefore, let us spend time each day and rest in the perfection of God. Do this through prayer and contemplation; allowing the perfection of the moment arise. Hold it. Cherish it. And be grateful for it.