One of the main focuses of my blog centers in on Emergent Christianity, a field of study and practice that I particularly resonate with due to Christianity being such a dominant element in the culture I was raised in. Furthermore, I believe that Christianity is one of the traditions which will be deeply effected, molded, and transformed by Emergent humans in the coming decades. I would even go as far as saying that Christianity is one of the great experiments of the Emergent Field, insofar as we are able to see its trans-formative potential re-design, from the bottom up, the foundational beliefs and worldviews which Christianity as a tradition has dictated over the last 2000 years.
One of the key ingredients to being an Emergent Human, I would say, is redefining our relationship with the reality of the human experience. For a long time, through the Christian lens, the narrative of the human experience has been bleak; dominated by a paradigm of sin, brokenness, guilt, and what Fr. Richard Rohr calls Transactional religion. In essence, if you identified as a Christian, you believed that Jesus died for the sins of humanity and that we owe him our very existence as well as being indebted to him for the potential to re-enter the good graces of God through accepting him as our Lord and Savior.
So many different [and broken] beliefs have come from this transactional way of viewing the story of Jesus and the narrative of Christianity. And its no wonder that, during the 20th century, there came a response to this brokenness in the form of secularism and materialist sciences. Without a meaningful story to guide the modern human being, different avenues of exploration and study had to be born to satiate our curiosity and to combat the lack of meaning that mainstream, transactional Christianity was offering. And while materialist sciences have given us godlike advances in technology, the natural sciences, space exploration, and a clearer understanding of how the physical world operates, we still have gone without a meaningful story that sheds light on the interior landscape of the human condition.
With the advent of Emergence and more people moving into higher altitudes of consciousness [Teal, 2nd Tier, Integral, Emergent, etc..], a completely new conversation (and form of communicating and dialogue) is arising within society to discover how best to move the meta-narrative forward and begin tackling the persistent problems and crises that have plagued humanity for generations. When Einstein said that we could not solve a problem at the level of the problem, this is what he meant. We are finally crowning, collectively, into a level of consciousness that permits us the capacity, vision, and inner stability to finally direct this ship towards a brighter [and more hopeful] future.
An emergent faith
The Emergent human is not predisposed to being religious [or even spiritual] in the classical sense of the word. Moving into more coherent states of being [which is to say, becoming fully aligned inside and out] provides the fertile soil for mystical experiences or high state noumena that will naturally spark a curiosity in the Divine. Having peak experiences or entering mystical states enhances our vision or our capacity to perceive the subtle and even quantum dimensions of existence, which are not explained or understood by science. This alone propels us into the direction of religion and spirituality, but not in a regressive fashion. And this is one of the more interesting phenomena of Emergent Christianity.
Being someone who never formally practiced or identified as a Christian growing up, my experience of the tradition as an outsider was both partial and intellectually biased. I formally identified as an Occultist for many years, as someone who regarded the spiritual and mystical as real but as superior to its religious opponent. This prevented me from seeing beyond the veil of preference and bias which kept the rich and potent mystical teachings of Christianity a mystery to me. As time moved forward and I began studying eastern traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism [along side western psychology and philosophy], my own growth began to dissolve that bias and the veil was pulled back enough for me to perceive the profound light that emanates from the life and teachings of Jesus The Christ.
So on the one hand we have the experience of an “outsider” of the faith, who through their own growth and development can return to this tradition and discover the meaningful [truthful] teachings of Christianity. And on the other hand, we have those who have been deeply involved in the tradition and through their own process of Emergence have discovered a path out of the limited, transactional belief systems which the exoteric teachings of the tradition espouse and into a more inclusive, mystical tradition that has really been at the core of the faith the entire time. This is being taught now by many leading edge thinkers and teachers, one of which is Fr. Richard Rohr. [For a real indepth look into what Emergent Christianity is can be, read The Universal Christ].
a christ soaked world
Emergent Christianity is reflective of the non-dual mystical traditions that are mirrored in many spiritual and religious teachings the world over. It’s not a theology which stands a part from others in every regard, but in its individuality, provides a language and a meaningful narrative that resonates with the western world more so then perhaps Buddhism and Hinduism would. Regardless, every single one of these religious traditions, at their core, are teaching the same thing and can assist us in reaching new and profound spiritual and developmental heights.
I’ve mentioned in earlier articles the importance of becoming conscious participants with our field of being. In addition to this way of living, I want to provide an idea that furthers this practice and has the potential of transforming the relationship we have with everything. It is the primary theme to Fr. Rohr’s book “The Universal Christ”, and has transformed in me my capacity to relate with the world in a deeply spiritual and loving way.
Not only is our interior and exterior world one continuous field of being, but is absolutely embued with Deity. That is to say, everything we perceive with our physical senses and everything we experience as interior phenomena is arising from and existing within God.
28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ – Acts 17:28
There is nothing that we have ever encountered that is not God. All of the good. All of the bad. Everything. When we step into conscious participation with life and in addition embrace that life as being holy, sacred, and Divine then everything about what life is and could mean transforms dramatically.
What was once just merely a chair has become God offering me a seat…
The potency of a contemplative, spiritual practice is found in the effects it has on our ability to engage meaningfully with our field of being. What once was obscured by our conceptual blind-spots is thrust into the light of our awareness which completely transforms the mode of our being in the world. Christianity is one of the various paths one can walk along to discover a deeper and more meaningful experience of life but its essential to not get caught up in the doctrines and symbolism to the point where we focus more on the pointer then what it is pointing to.
May you have a bright, loving, wonderful day.