When did Christianity become the property of self-deceiving men and women, again? It's always had promise, much like a mountain stream. But dams and damning again threaten to pollute and make stagnant what, of itself, would flow lively through our midst.
Flowing water, like vibrant spirit, originates, incarnates, and activates human beings on the earth in the world in ways spontaneous and consistent with inner call of what is taking place for relational, integral, and isomorphic being and act in particular manifestations of presence.
Convergence and correspondence are practice and fruit of originating being-in-the-world.
His mind is free from all thoughts.
His demeanor is still and silent.
His forehead beams with simplicity.
He is cold as autumn,
and warm as spring,
for his joy and anger
occur as naturally
as the four seasons.
- Chuang Tzu
Self-emptying is the benchmark of Christianity.
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(--Philippians 2: 5-11)
God-nature is become human-nature free, clear, and empty of separating, grasping, and restricting self. What we call 'God' is less a 'being' elsewhere, and more Being Here. Humankind longs for this God the way earth longs for the universe. Universe is not other than earth. Earth is universe in this place. So too, God is now not other than humankind. Humankind is God in this place.
If not this, then Christianity is not Christianity. This place, this person, this event, this need, this response, this act, this thought, this inspiration, this (yes) doubt, and this awareness -- all this is the emergence of God (some say 'Christ-reality') in and through present circumstance and circumstances.
Jose Ortega y Gasset captures this:
Philosophically Ortega moved from neo-Kantianism to a form of existentialism that he expounded unsystematically in a pungent, popular style. Ortega's metaphysics began with a critique of both realism and idealism. Neither view is acceptable, prior them is the category of life: "I am not my life. This, which is reality, is made up of me and of things. Things are not me and I am not things: we are mutually transcendent, but both are immanent in that absolute coexistence which is life." (from Unas lecciones de metafisica, 1966) Ortega identified reality with "my life", which is "myself" and "my circumstances" (yo soy yo y mi circumstancia - I am I and my circumstances).
(--from Books and Writers, José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1956) http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/grasset.htm)
Perhaps the reason why 'this' is always so difficult for many of us is because 'this' is the doorway through the realization and manifestation of the absolute nearside we have long called 'God.' Until now we have been content to say 'God is near.' Now a different articulation longs to be voiced, heard, and incarnated -- namely, 'God is the absolute nearside beyond which is nothing other than this.'
It is understandable we fear this articulation and formulation. There is an intimacy and essence completely encompassing both unity and difference. One might say: everything is included, nothing left out; or -- nothing is included, everything is as it is. Here, in such consideration, the mind just stares, frozen in the realization that to say anything, to make any move, to begin to make any distinction or explanation with regard to the matter presented to it at hand, is to risk utter annihilation of what once was identified as 'self' and fall into the beautiful terror of a new viewing of 'What-Is Being-With...Us.'
Jesus said, ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’
(--Matthew 7:15 - 20)
The fruits of realizing our true name is action without fear, action filled with compassion, wisdom, and lovingkindness. We will do no harm. We will find humility a refreshing flowing stream of awareness.
We will speak to one another in ways undreamed of.
"Conversation is the socializing instrument par excellence, and in its style one can see reflected the capacities of a race." (--Ortega y Gasset, from Invertebrate Spain, 1922)
Will we be willing to learn this?
"Jesus warns of the spiritual dangers of wealth, and tells others to sell all they have to the poor, but he enjoyed it when rich people had him for dinner. We debated whether his warnings and advice were dependent on the situation. These questions raise doubts about what you should do if you have money, and what you have to do to make it. Can you `serve God and mammon at the same time?'"
"When people come to Jesus he tells them a story - what he's doing is pushing them to broaden their horizons, think from the perspectives of others. There's a parable about a dishonest steward who cheats his employer and yet is praised by Jesus. I called this `The Story of the Crooked CEO." He's feathering his own nest, yet Jesus commends him, and students asked why. They wanted me to give an answer, but I wanted them to wrestle with it. Jesus doesn't give unambiguous signals - he has confidence that by pushing the imagination, enriching its power through stories, you enrich the context of the decision. You see that you are making decisions in a network of other people who will also be affected. The moral life is not a solo flight."
No Ivory Tower professor, Cox has always linked his work to current events, going to Latin America to write about the Liberation Theology movement, traveling around the world to research the growth of Pentecostalism, interviewing Buddhists and Hindus to study the appeal of those religions for Westerners "in Turning East." In the '60s he went south to support the civil rights movement, going on Freedom Rides, later taking part in protests against the Vietnam War and working for nuclear disarmament.
"The worrisome thing today," Cox said, "is the cynicism and resignation of students - but what can be done when our leaders are self-serving and corrupt? Students now are not like they were in the `60s. Sometimes I get angry. I tell them it's unacceptable to say you can't do anything to help the poor and oppressed - it's like turning things over to the serpent."
"The students today are good kids, they're not the curled-lip kind of cynics, but the fire in the belly is missing. The new spirituality doesn't do a good a job of linking the spirit to action, it doesn't produce activists. There's no one now like the Christian activists of the '60s - Daniel Berrigan, William Sloane Coffin, Martin Luther King. There was a tone in religion then, an idealism in Christianity that linked Jesus' concerns for the poor and the outcasts of society to social action. Today Christianity has been taken over by the right wing. No wonder kids aren't interested in mining the Christian tradition."
(--from Spiritually Incorrect, by Dan Wakefield, writing about book Jesus at Harvard, by Harvey Cox, the theologian who once said, "God is dead" chronicling years of wrestling with Jesus' teachings at the university. Copyright 2008 Beliefnet, Inc. http://www.beliefnet.com/story/159/story_15977_1.html)
The Christian tradition is not mine. It is us.
It is this mind.