The New Christianity

For the sake of the question I am about to ask you, I am going to use the word "Christianity" as a catch-all term referring to every modern religion that has spawned from the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The question is this:
"Does Christianity today mirror the essence of the actual life and teachings of Jesus Christ?"

This is a very broad question which will come with a plethora of different answers. For myself and many others, I think when we look at the actual words Jesus spoke and the actual way he lived his life, our answer to that question is "No". Christianity has become a collection of organizations that have unintentionally traveled far from the the original intent and message of the Christ.

Jesus Christ was clearly inclusive and accepting of everyone, nonjudgmental, and he taught a message of love, of the Christ within each of us, of a heaven on earth to be experienced in this lifetime and of a God who was accessible to all, in all, and through all. Is that my opinion? Yes, of course. But my opinion is formulated from actually reading and studying the words of Jesus as he said them, and not as others have told me he said them.

So if we follow this logic, we might then ask, how has Christianity gotten so far off the mark with a doctrine of fear, exclusion, judgment and the fantastical idea of the devil and an afterlife heaven and hell?

I propose that this is because much of modern Christianity is based on two things that led it astray from its origin. First, many of the core beliefs come from the books of the Old Testament, during which Jesus Christ is not in existence. Second, too much emphasis is given to the words of the New Testament writers, especially the letters of Paul the Apostle, who never actually met Jesus Christ.

I respect that it is probably in large part due to Paul's letters and tireless efforts that Christianity survived past Jesus' death. But I think we should be realistic and recognize that even though Paul the Apostle had a Christ awakening, he never actually physically met Jesus Christ himself. Paul never walked beside him, broke bread with him, he never got to ask him questions, he never saw Jesus' way with people, his compassion, his love and, most importantly, Paul never got to experience Jesus' intention behind the words. Paul was inspired by the Christ and studied the words of Jesus, but quite possibly missed the most important and fundamental part of the teaching, which is the intention.

Paul, like many other Bible writers, had no ill intent in the direction his writing took. He was doing the best he could to understand and rationalize the new teachings of Jesus Christ against the Old Testament teachings of Judaism with which he had been raised. So what he wrote became a mixture of his Jewish upbringing, his own understanding, and the inspiration he received from the Christ message. But Paul's message is clearly not the same as Jesus Christ's message. Paul's message more closely resembles the message we see taught in Christian churches all across the world today. Paul excluded women, glorified Jesus the man over the actual message, and held on to an outdated idea about "sin," suffering, fear of God and the way to "salvation."

So where does that leave us? Modern Christianity has gotten off track and in many ways appears to be broken, but that should not take away from the power of the Christ message. In order to get Christianity back on track, I propose we need a new Christianity. A Christianity that is based on the actual words and intention of Jesus Christ, not the intentions of those after him. Does that mean we throw out Paul's writings and the Old Testament? No. The original intent of the Christ message can be found in much of Paul's writings and in much of the Old Testament writings. But those writings should be weighed first and foremost against the original intent of the Christ message, as set forth by Jesus Christ.

Here is the catch. Every religion today that has spawned from the teachings of Jesus Christ thinks it has the "one true way to heaven" or teach the "actual teachings of Jesus". The reality is that statements like those in and of themselves show that they are missing the point. Jesus was inclusive!!!  The Christ message is inclusive!!!  So if I were to sit here and say what they teach is wrong, then I am also missing the point.

I simply propose that The New Christianity be one that resembles Christ's obvious intent of love, non- judgment, inclusion, acceptance, God and heaven in the here and now. A Christianity that heals the conflict on the planet instead of creating more conflict. One that brings religions and cultures together instead of tearing them apart. One that actually does what Jesus Christ did... instead of just asking "What would Jesus do?"

-Rev. Shad
Living the New Christianity

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