On the fringe side of Emergent Christianity there are too many departures from the faith. There is this:
Jesus came as an evolutionary breakthrough in modeling, demonstrating, and seeing what human consciousness is capable of. It was missed in his own time; people flatlanded it. Only today, by God’s grace, are we getting to grasp today what Jesus is getting at in significant numbers.
Our seminaries, churches, and Sunday Schools are largely flatland, passing on a diminished vision.
A kindling is needed, another way of seeing whose roots are in spiritual practice. As we practice, we begin to see the world with Jesus’ eyes.
One of the unfortunate curveballs that Christian theology has given us is immense theological distance from Jesus – ‘Christology’ as it developed was bent no [to] proving how Jesus is different than everyone else, the only Son of God instead of Paul’s “Jesus is the firstborn of many sisters and brothers.” We couldn’t handle this invitational revelation; we needed to admire Jesus more than be Jesus. (Italics mine)
The author is Michael Morrell, and his post, “The Way of the Heart – Cynthia Bourgeault Part 2: See What Jesus Sees; Do What Jesus Does.” I blogged about something he wrote last year—“Heretical evangelicalism merges with progressive goddess worship.” In this particular posting, created in 2011, Morrell is writing from his notes after attending “Servant Leadership School in Greensboro, North Carolina.”
Morrell took notes during sessions with Cynthia Bourgeault who is considered a “wisdom teacher.” Morrell’s emphasis is on centering prayer and meditation. But via his teachers he takes the ideas into the new age realm:
It is unitive vision; uninterrupted sight; what the sages and mystics called union with God. It’s seeing from a whole different perspective. Our field of vision does not natively separate the playing field; our unconditioned eye sees from a kind of wholeness, a single grasp of the bigger picture. We call this nondual seeing. And yet we've devolved into separation-based seeing. Practices that invite nondual seeing represent an evolutionary advance in thinking and perception.
The problem with the information Morrell provides in nine posts-(they are found at the end of each posting) - is the total misunderstanding of who Jesus is and our relationship to him. Yes, we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus but by adoption; unlike Jesus we are not eternally begotten of the Father. And it isn’t a non-dualistic consciousness or unitive vision, which Jesus came to advance, but redemption and reconciliation with God.
We are at an “immense
theological distance” from
Jesus—but he bridged that distance by first taking on humanity, including
living among us, and then dying for us. In his resurrection he gave the gift of
eternal life. But there is something more and it is where this metaphysical religious
viewpoint of both Morrell and Bourgeault gets utterly confused.
In our redemption we are by the Holy Spirit united to the resurrected Jesus. We are not only nourished with the wine and bread of communion but are nourished daily by the Lord in his resurrected body. In fact, as John Calvin puts it, the elements of communion are a sign of his nourishment. Calvin states that the body of Christ, “invigorates and keep[s] alive the soul.” The blood of Christ is meant to “foster, refresh, strengthen, and exhilarate,” the soul of the believer.
Our union with Christ is given important focus by Calvin in his Institutes. Taking the same stance as Augustine’s in On The Incarnation, Calvin writes:
Having become with us the Son of Man, he has made us with himself sons of God. By his own descent to the earth, he has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, he has bestowed on us his immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, he has made us strong in his strength. Having submitted to our poverty, he has transferred to us his riches. Having taken upon himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, he has clothed us with his righteousness.
The difference between being another Jesus with his supposed non-dualistic consciousness and being united to the resurrected Christ is vast. It is the difference between works and grace. It is not a matter of contemplation, meditating or centering prayer, rather it is a gift. We do not strife to bear the righteousness of Christ. We are given the gift. We are given heaven, heavenly riches which have to do with righteousness and Christ himself. We are received by Christ; therefore we are received by the Father.
There is a mystery that has nothing to do with methodology in prayer, meditation or thinking, but rather with the love of Jesus. “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23) This is the knowledge and fellowship with God that all believers experience. John in his epistles warns about those who come teaching some strange doctrine insisting there is something more that the church has not yet grasped. “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9)
Picture by Melissa Tregilgas
ibid “On the Sacraments,” 9; Institutes,