HERMIT IN THE WOODS
This blog is dedicated to the American Spirit
How Christianity is Being Destroyed in America
Sometimes it seems that the evil and godless people in our society know more about Christianity than Christians themselves know. There is an old adage that in order to destroy your enemy, you must know your enemy; know: how they think, what they depend on, what is important to them, what they fear, what disturbs them, and what psychological values uphold their culture. In other words, an enemy of Christianity must know what makes a Christian tick. In America, the godless and those of the darkness have progressively undermined the foundation upon which Christianity has been built. They learned that if the underlying values which support a society were confused and diminished, the cultural foundation would be weakened and collapse. We Americans, unbeknownst to us, have been willing participants in the destruction of the values which are the underpinning of our Christian faith.
In our enthusiasm to develop the post-modern world following WWII, Americans embraced new technologies, materialism and the comfort of modern conveniences. For the most part, we became enamored with the rapid development, novelty and expansion of the external world, while at the same time, failing to recognize how drastically separated we were becoming from our internal spiritual roots. While Christians attended church across the country, in the cities and newly developing suburbs, external reality prevailed and the emphasis quietly shifted from being spiritually fed in church to a concern for which was the most prominent and socially popular church to attend. This trend has continued into the present with mega-churches competing with one another and church services looking more like musical festivals attempting to enthrall and entertain as a way to attract worshippers. External realities have thoroughly and completely prevailed over the internal reality, to the point that suspicions are aroused within modern Christendom at the mention of contemplation, introspection or meditation upon the Christian mysteries. There is more scorn and skepticism directed toward a spiritually oriented Christian than toward a sinner.
Is it any surprise that the offspring of these modern day church-goers have their heads and hearts buried deeply into the virtual world? The orientation of the young minds of America’s future citizens is totally lost and buried in the external world of technology, pop culture and social media; this orientation includes the following: continuous, non-stop communication with their peers in virtual reality; deep concerns regarding their celebrity-status popularity; a lack of sensitivity and respect for the living beings around them; an ongoing development of anxieties, insecurities, and unfounded fears; an erosion or absence of personal values and moral principles; a lack of any kind of internal conviction; and a desensitized, relativistic and confused decision-making process.
This presently accepted life-style of our young people contains absolutely NO internal cognitive reality: no understanding of introspection or self-reflection, no realization of the importance of a value-based character, no recognition of personal responsibility, no realization of a spiritual self or soul, no sense of duty or honor to God and country, and no internal respect for the sacredness of life. Without a doubt, this is the most ego-driven, self-absorbed and clueless generation with regard to life ever to emerge onto American soil. The valueless culture and society in this country, which many Americans are so accepting of, is what is destroying Christianity. This way of life we are allowing in our country is undermining and destroying the value system and the principles upon which this nation and Christianity were founded. Our enemy is very satisfied!
Christians in America, like a reflection of society, are weak, naïve, lukewarm, self-indulgent, pampered and easily manipulated because they have never had to stand up against anything threatening! No one in this country has been persecuted or murdered for their religious beliefs, yet; no one in the country has been threatened with incarceration for being a Christian; and no Christian in America has been thrown in the lion’s den or been chased down in an Inquisition. No Christian in America has had to stand up for their Christian beliefs, and as a result, today’s Christians have a hard time articulating what it is they really stand for as a person of faith; this does not mean simply spouting off a list of beliefs. Unfortunately and ironically, it is the peace, prosperity, comfort and ease of living in this country which encourages personal weakness through the self-indulgent tendencies we humans are prone to. If we Christians do not wake up, stand up and take action beginning with ourselves and our families, we are going to lose our country, families, children, way of life, and our faith. Our enemy knows more about destroying our way of life than we know about protecting and maintaining it.
Some of the enemies we are fighting are Americans who have a godless and leftist ideology; and their plan of attack on our culture, country, political system and religion is simple – undermine the importance of values and morals through relativism in the media and pop culture so young people no longer know the difference between right and wrong; eliminate family traditions by alienating and separating the family unit through individually-operated technological devices; subvert and divert the political systems of the Republic through lies, misinformation and tyranny so the next generation no longer understands or values the Constitution. This is not to mention the physical reality or real world threats from enemies who are evil, violent and heartless like, Islamic jihadists, drug cartels, gangs, criminals, thugs and the insane, folks who would slit our throats in a heartbeat if we give them the chance!
Christian, conservative, American patriots have found themselves at a disadvantage as a result of the surprise attack coming from leftists, progressives and anarchists, and we are on the defensive. The enemy is proving to be more effective in their attack than we are in maintaining and preserving our way of life and our Constitutional
Republic. In battle terminology, we have been routed and scattered. Fortunately, there are many people who have awakened and are preparing for difficult times ahead. Many people are advocating for a spiritual awakening among Christians, one which calls for discovering our common ground rather than focusing on petty divisions and sectarianism. By remaining divided, Christendom faces the threat of failure; but united in the holy order of Jesus Christ we will surely prevail.
Dogma, Doctrine, & Denominations Keep Christians Divided
As we all know, there are many different levels of understanding and forms of worship within Christianity, such as: the homespun fundamentalists who believe in a literal interpretation of the bible, the orthodox churches, the mega “open to all” gatherings, the small and intimate home-study groups, and the spiritual Christians whose experience with Christ comes from within. This diversity is evident when it is recognized that the tens of thousands of individual churches in our country each have their own unique approach to understanding the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Like people, all churches are different because of the unique makeup of their congregations; their explanations of the biblical teachings are different in an attempt to serve the needs of their local parishioners. The preachers, pastors and ministers are able to utilize and teach the life of Jesus Christ as a remedy for what ails and what uplifts their particular congregations.
The reason there are so many different Christian churches in America, each with their own denomination, dogma, doctrine and local culture, is because there are so many diverse and unique individuals. The reality is that each one of us is uniquely different, with varying: experiences, temperaments, sensitivities, intellect, motivation, problems, and insights. When all of these unique characteristics in people are considered in the context of religion, it is unimaginable to think that we could have any kind of common understanding regarding the teachings of Christ. It is absolutely miraculous that there is as much common understanding, good will and shared faith among folks as there is. The only reason we are able to find common ground is because of the selfless love and multi-faceted life of Jesus Christ, a life which was expressed on many different levels: as a friend and brother, as a savior, as a healer, as a teacher, and as a spiritual being who manifested the fullness of the divine-human nature. He established a Way of Life and a body of teachings grounded in selfless love which were intended to guide us toward personal transformation, spiritual liberation and the regeneration of our souls.
However, a deeply-embedded critical issue hinders the fulfillment of Christianity as envisioned by Christ, that is, the continued division of Christians from multiple, incomplete and divergent systems of belief. This division is not unlike the division between Sunni and Shia in Islam, except we don’t kill each other as they do because Christ showed us a better way to live and a better way to be. In the last century, post-modern America built a technologically advanced materialistic society and built churches which completely oriented and embedded the Christian religion into external reality. Different denominational belief systems were established and taught based on the life story of the historical Jesus. Each church, through their dogma and doctrines established a structure of beliefs which church members were expected to follow; all of these structures of belief were exoteric in nature, that is, they were explained in terms of the objective reality regarding the life of Jesus rather than in terms of the subjective truth contained in the teachings of Christ. It was from these denominational beliefs that individual members formulated their own beliefs. In other words, these belief systems used the story of Jesus as an example for people to follow which inspired them to forgive their past sins, modify their present behaviors and to improve their lives in expectation of a future salvation. Without a doubt, these are the beneficial results from attending church and taking responsibility for one’s life.
The critical issue within Christianity today comes from the fact that these structures of belief are fixed, finite, incomplete and in many cases, they function like a glass ceiling. Many people these days want to go beyond behavior modification and connect with the divine light and love within. Jesus Christ gave us numerous examples that we too had a divine-human nature and unlimited potential; He said, “Love ye one another AS I have loved you; these things I do so shall you do; and be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Many Christians today want to experience the internal oneness and unity with Christ which He has revealed to us and He desires for us to experience. Unfortunately, Christendom often appears to be a legalistic system based on church attendance, the historical Jesus, fixed beliefs and future salvation rather than present moment spiritual experience. Consequently, most of today’s Christian institutions shun and reject any internal, esoteric or spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ primarily because their ministers have no knowledge or experience regarding mysticism or meditation. Spiritual knowledge and meditation experience have been cast aside in favor of socially acceptable behavior.
Sadly, what is “socially” accepted within Christendom, USA is a diverse variety of exoteric dogmatic beliefs within the differing denominations, which in many cases, degrade, diminish, and/or miss the mark of Christ’s teachings; however, these beliefs “about” Christianity are often staunchly held and stubbornly espoused by these believers. Although these folks have a strong faith and good intentions, nevertheless, these rigidly held beliefs are at times hard to understand because of their extreme divergence from the central theme of selfless love embodied in Jesus Christ: some are fire and brimstone condemnation leaving no room for the spirit of truth and love; some are unwelcome and assertive evangelism; some are distorted with cultural norms and social justice jargon; some are radical, militant and unforgiving in their proclamation of the “truth.” Worst of all, many are very defensive if their beliefs are criticized or questioned, as if God’s truth is being questioned; but beliefs are not truth, they are simply a person’s opinion or conviction about something without any proof or positive knowledge that these beliefs are true.
This is not the fulfillment of Christianity as envisioned by Jesus Christ! Neither is this discussion intended to be an indictment or judgment of the varying beliefs which good and faithful people hold. Beliefs are important and act as stepping stones to greater understanding. What this discussion dramatizes and is attempting to elucidate is that Christianity today, if it is NOT flourishing, it is because many Christians, for the most part, are at the least, self-absorbed and at the worst, completely misdirected. In other words, when some churches replace spiritual instruction with too much emphasis on external social issues rather than on spiritual awakening, worrying more about the sexual and social orientation of the church than its spiritual orientation, the result is the diminishment of Christ’s message before the forces of popular culture.
This has the direct consequence of ensuring that many followers will attend church based on its social status in a community while others will attend because they are bored, lost, need friendship or want to be entertained. The social messaging coming out of this kind of environment diminishes the spirit of the church and the real rigors of spiritual life. Thus, it gets little respect from non-Christians. Christianity is being attacked because it appears divided, weak, self-absorbed and/or naïve. As a result of legalism, habitual and ceremonial ritualism, mediocre and repetitive sermons, today’s Christianity seems to have lost some of its light and inspiration. This is welcome news to the enemies of Christianity; we are making their job easy! Sadly, it will be a simple matter going forward – if today’s Christians continue to remain stuck and divided in this lukewarm universe, we are going to lose.
Even in the darkest of times there is always a ray of light to guide us on our way. God does not always shield us from difficult times, but He never abandons us in our painful struggles or personal challenges. He does push and nudge us at times toward greater awareness, understanding, and personal strength in hopes that we will continue to grow and expand our knowledge of Life, Light, and Truth. At this time in the world, we Christians are like the butterfly in the cocoon struggling to break out and discover a new spiritual freedom and a higher reality.
This can be accomplished by making an effort to understand and clarify exactly why you are a Christian: by honestly determining if you are following the Way of Life as prescribed by Jesus Christ; by recognizing whether you are approaching God on your terms or moving toward God on His terms; by learning to definitively articulate (to yourself) your beliefs about God and about who you are so you will know where you stand as a Christian, as an American, and as a person. Beliefs are important; they lead us to higher knowledge. Beliefs are mental concepts which through examination, thought, study and contemplation can be transformed into internal knowing. The same holds true when feeling renewed through the forgiveness of one’s sins; this is an experience which is internal knowing. Feeling the presence of God within you is internal knowing. Feeling joy in your heart for life is internal knowing. Understanding who you are and what you stand for is internal knowing. Internal knowing is something no one can ever take away from you. There is a whole universe of internal knowledge that is within each one of us regarding the teachings and reality of Jesus Christ and it can be known.
The Living Symbol
In poems words have been changed to protect the innocent,
Or sometimes make a harsh parable seem a bit decent.
But the message beneath the soft, sweet petals of the rose,
Is that life has a sticky side, so watch out where you go.
Two Perspectives – One Reality
God is perfect – Creation is imperfect. God is Eternal – Creation is temporary. God is timeless – Creation is in time. God is Spirit – Creation is elemental matter. God is infinite, boundless Potential – Creation is third dimensional time/space reality. God is subjective reality – Creation is imperfect objective imagery of reality. The Creator created humankind in the divine image and likeness so in our spirits we are perfect, but in our bodies, we are as yet imperfect. The unseen is perfect; the seen is imperfect. All things that are substantial are mutable; all things that are insubstantial are immutable. All things in the Creation are imperfect, but the unseen matrixes from which they emerge are perfect. The subjective reality of God, Love, Light, and Spirit are perfect – all existing knowledge, including philosophies, books, writings, and religions are imperfect. As a human being, Jesus was imperfect until he became one with the Christ Light and the Holy Spirit; he was then transformed and raised up into perfection. His imperfect human body was made perfect. Jesus Christ demonstrated that the human body has the potential for perfection. The human body was configured to be transformed; it was configured to be changed into perfection. From imperfection to perfection is the story of Jesus Christ. He was born into imperfection and raised into perfection through Christ. This story of imperfection to perfection is our story also.
As explained in the preceding paper, the Christian religion has been instrumental in the spiritual inspiration and psychological development of civilized man through the utilization of structured systems of belief surrounding the life of Jesus Christ. Christian religions have guided humanity in purifying and spiritualizing the human nature of their members as well as encouraging the development of their civic and familial responsibilities. The church has been the center of the community and the meeting place for the faithful and for their shared activities. Members have supported their churches and the churches have fed, guided, counseled, and inspired those who come to worship. The church and its community members have always had a mutually beneficial relationship; worshippers are loyal because without those members the church would not be able to sustain its existence. For those religious Christians who are satisfied with community fellowship and service, and who enjoy the church as their center of worship, this is a wonderful relationship. For the spiritual Christian who seeks internal knowledge, spiritual instruction, and personal transformation, such wisdom will not be found in these houses of worship. Worship is the external and passive (singing, prayer, listening to sermons) offering of reverence, respect, and admiration to God; it is exoteric in nature. Whereas, seeking internal wisdom is esoteric in nature, in other words, it is an active, disciplined, and at times, uncomfortable struggle to experience higher knowledge, insight and divine presence within.
Many Christian religions believe that faith alone in Jesus of Nazareth determines one’s salvation and the reward for this unwavering faith comes after death by being accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Essentially, their belief in salvation depends upon the complete acceptance and faith in this fixed belief or objective perspective of the life of Jesus as presented by the bible. For these Christians, the bible is the undisputed Word of God without deviation and story of Jesus is reality without question. The assumption that the bible is without error and the story it presents is 100% true is the basis of their salvation; for them, no further confirmation is required.
Spiritual Christians pursue the subjective meaning in the life experiences of Jesus Christ because collectively, these represent the Way of Life He tells us to follow. Spiritual Christians know Jesus’ transformations throughout His ministry represent spiritual transformations we can also experience; and we know His character, selfless love, honor, devotion and divinity can be emulated when He tells us, “These things I do so shall you do also.” These spiritual transformations and qualities of being can be experienced in present time reality, just as heaven can be experienced within, here and now. These do not require belief to experience. Beliefs, like religion, are limited in their reach. Beliefs are like the scaffolding around a building which is under construction. Scaffolding is vitally important to the construction process, but it is NOT the building. This is the common misconception among Christians; that is, mistakenly accepting the beliefs as reality rather than recognizing the reality to which these beliefs point. Beliefs are meant to be the stepping stones to internal knowing. Religion and beliefs are explanations presented in terms of objective reality, whereas, internal knowing of truth is subjective reality; human objective reality is imperfect; subjective knowing of reality is reality.
Although the bible is the greatest and most influential book in recorded history, the actual formulation of the bible is very interesting and somewhat curious. For those who may not know, the history of the bible was extremely complex with perspectives regarding the teachings and life of Christ constantly changing each time a new manuscript was discovered. In an attempt to put an end to the confusion of terminology and to establish consensus and uniformity, in 325 A.D. the Emperor Constantine gathered a council of Christian bishops to settle these differences and compile the version of the bible used today. This council of bishops decided on what manuscripts to include in the bible and which to exclude. They edited various texts for the purpose of uniformity; they altered culturally divisive content regarding women as well as ignoring the spiritual equality of women; they eliminated the teachings that a soul lives many lives; and these men, since they were not always in agreement, voted on a variety of issues, such as, what was the relationship of the Son to the Father, was he “begotten” or created like other creatures? These Christian bishops also had an ulterior motive in their editing process and that was to make the bible appealing to the Emperor Constantine who had recently converted to Christianity from paganism. Needless to say, at this point in time with all the original manuscripts lost, it is impossible to say whether the bible contains the whole literal truth regarding the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. For the spiritual Christian, what is presented in the bible is sufficient because through meditation, the teachings of Christ and elements of the story expand through insight and intuition to reveal new knowledge which has a present-time experiential context.
Consider this – the bible is, at the least, somewhat incomplete in its formulation because it was not known whether all the manuscripts were present at the council, nor do we know the effectiveness or impartiality of the editing process, and it was compiled by imperfect human beings (albeit with God’s guidance). From this incomplete and perhaps limited perspective of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, religions formulated the dogma and doctrine which comprise the various denominations of Christianity we know today. In another “step down,” from these tenets and belief systems, lay people established their own personal beliefs which determine their unique perspective of Jesus Christ. With this awareness of biblical history and the selective formulation of religious doctrine as well as the different levels of interest individuals have, it leaves some doubts as to the accuracy of what is being received regarding the teachings of Christ. This discussion is not a criticism of the bible, beliefs, or religion; a sound and sturdy building can be constructed even with design flaws or architectural inaccuracies. This discussion is a reminder that we must always remain aware that we are dealing with incomplete and at times, inaccurate information when examining objective reality. If the truth is to be known regarding the teachings of Jesus Christ, knowledge must be considered deeply and accepted from a variety of sources including subjective insight and revelation from within.
It has never been the intention of this author to disparage religion, beliefs or the bible. However, it has been necessary to address these subjects only because so many people consider these sources to be the highest form of knowledge available and the final word on the matter, but they are not. There is no religion higher than truth and it has been made clear that each of us has the ability to ascertain the truth within. Religion is as deeply an established institution as the United States Government; in its own realm, religion is the ultimate legalistic authority, but the final word rests with the Holy Trinity. To present an alternate, but parallel perspective to the teachings of Christ, as this paper and website intends to do, requires clearly distinguishing these esoteric teachings from the tenets of traditional religion. This is in no way a rejection of traditional religion for it has served as a stepping stone for millions, but it has not provided all the answers to some very important questions. Christ revealed that heaven is within and that is exactly the destination revealed in these esoteric teachings. Heaven, here and now, is the destination the spiritual Christian aspires to through purification, transformation and meditation.
As explained in this and the preceding paper, the majority of Christians embrace the exoteric perspective regarding the life of Jesus Christ. This is very beneficial to those who need a role model and the helping hand of a personal savior to comfort and guide them. Enough cannot be said about the amazing grace of the Holy Trinity that is available to all who simply ask, for they shall receive. This amazing grace also extends to those who seek the higher truth within, for we are told that if we knock (for higher knowledge) it shall be opened. What is so amazing is how many different levels of understanding and how many different kinds of people from different cultures around the world can relate to and be transformed by the selfless love of Jesus Christ. Love is truly the universal language.
For those of us who seek the spiritual knowledge of Christ’s teachings, we too cherish the love of Jesus, but we actively seek the fount of that divine Light and Love. To seek and approach the Godhead requires personal transformation. Although most people turn to the story of Jesus, the spiritual Christian recognizes the life of Christ as a series of internal transformational processes. The key events in the life of Jesus Christ were either about transfiguration or transformation – from His transformation at the baptism to His final transformation at the ascension. These miraculous events represent the spiritual path; Jesus Christ was the first begotten of humankind and He demonstrated the path of spiritual transformation for all to follow, the steps on the path are: the transformation and purification of the physical body, the regeneration of the soul, and the ascension of the resurrected consciousness into the divine Light within.
Most Christian religions celebrate the events in the life of Jesus Christ outwardly, through their various ceremonies and services, such as the forgiveness of sin, receiving the Holy Spirit through the baptism, receiving the body and blood of Christ through the Eucharist, the birth of Christ, and the resurrection on Easter. The celebration of these miraculous events in the life of Jesus Christ makes a positive impression on the church members which inspires them to live a better life. This open representation of Christ’s life is displayed in objective reality for the congregation to experience. In a parallel experience, the spiritual Christian sits alone and quietly contemplates the miraculous events in the life of Christ in an effort to discern the significance and subjectivity of this reality and to feel the divine presence connected to it. In this meditative state, often times, insight expands the perception surrounding the occasion and opens one’s understanding to greater knowing and opens one’s heart to divine Love. The most important feature regarding the life of Jesus Christ is that both the religious and the spiritual Christian are pursuing the same goal of Divine Love and Truth, only they are using different methods. It is important to remember that regardless of how a person chooses to approach God, we are all one in Christ.