For anyone who cares to learn about it, there is a very clear history to Christianity. What it is today has little resemblance to what it started out as. You might call the things that have been added over the centuries as baggage, but for the purposes of this post I will call them spin.
I kinda like a tornado analogy for this. The center of a tornado is a calm and peaceful place. That is where the true measure of Jesus’ words are. But the center is a relatively small part of the overall tornado. Outside that center is total confusion, reckless damage, and travesty.
What brought these thoughts up is the current belief that is popular among many of the 40,000 versions of Christianity around today that man is a wicked and sinful being and there is nothing he can do by himself to change that. If you look at the very core of Christianity, that is Jesus’ words, you will find it overwhelming centered around two themes. Love God and love each other. Jesus made this abundantly clear for anyone who wants to discover that for themselves. So, what happened to Christianity to make it what is it today?
In my mind spin started almost immediately with the letters of Paul. It seems pretty obvious to anyone who objectively cares to read Paul’s words, that he knew little about what Jesus was all about. He spent a good part of his life trying to find Jesus and kill him. It was only on the road to Damascus that he had an epiphany of sorts. Yes, I do believe that Paul’s letters provide us with valuable insight into the beginning period of the split of this small Christian sect, but his words have grown in many religious institutions to be equal, or maybe even greater than the words of Jesus himself. If that is not spin, I don’t know what is.
There was a Celtic stream of Christianity that dates back to the 4th century in Ireland, before the Roman Empire and church dominated that country, and several centuries before Augustine and Calvin began teaching on the total depravity of the human soul took root. The Celtic stream believed that since we are made in the image of God, what is deepest in us is sacred and holy, not ugly and depraved.
I am joyful that there are Christian authors and theologians around today who want us to know that God is about love and not depravity or vengeance. Some of those authors are Philip Gulley, Harvey Cox, and Gregory Boyd. If you want to know more about them, click on their names in the topic’s area to the right of each post here. The most profound book that changed my view of Christianity was “If God Is Love” by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. I have written extensively about this book. See what I have said about that by clicking here.
2 thoughts on “Spin, Spin, Spin…”
Am with you on Paul – why did he become quite so central to the New Testament? Much prefer letters by James, Peter and John – they knew and walked with Jesus during his earthly ministry whereas Paul emphatically did not. And this absolutely hits the nail on the head for me: ‘ since we are made in the image of God, what is deepest in us is sacred and holy, not ugly and depraved.’ This is one of the reasons I have left evangelicalism and to hear someone else espouse this belief gives me such joy. Thank you!
Thanks for your thoughts, franceslouise. I, too, left organized religion almost 10 years ago now, but I am beginning to think about returning. No, it won’t be the God of wrath version, but instead the God of Love. There are plenty of people like us out there. All we gotta do is find them. Since Philip Gulley’s Quaker church is in my area, I may just get up the guts to visit him soon.