I usually stick to secular posts, more often than not critical of the Human Condition that we have allowed to develop. The unsustainable approach to the Environment and more so the unacceptable approach that Society seems to foster in its approach to those seen and labelled as the less worthy.
For many Christians around the Globe this is the season to be jolly, to celebrate the birth of a Jewish child in unusual circumstances that had a major impact on the World and continues to do so. I am not going to debate the theological history or its veracity. Those are matters of ‘faith’, thus truly beyond debate. There was no jolly fat man presenting presents and good cheer. That was an adaption of other traditions and systems of faith. There was though a ‘New Covenant’ with what many of us regard as the Divine, God, the Creator. A new light, awakening came into the World. Early Church Fathers took the name Christos (Christ) to mean the anointed one. Earlier traditions state “Erythrean Sybil. [IESOUS CHREISTOS THEOU HUIOS SOTER STAUROS].
The prophecy relates to the coming down upon the Earth of the Spirit of Truth (Christos), after which advent will begin the Golden Age; the verse refers to the necessity before reaching that blessed condition of inner (or subjective) theophany and theopneusty, to pass through the crucifixion of flesh or matter. (NB: This IMO refers to ASCETICISM)
The simple message that comes out of the New Testament is a belief that Christ’s message to the World was a call for change. An awakening of the ‘Spirit’ to see that which was written and said in a new light. A World where all are treated well , where unconditional love and a universal fellowship transcends the barriers created by ‘Men’ to keep people apart. Those terrible barriers of racism, hatred of women or all those adverse judgement of another for being seen as different. The building of a super structure of religious dogma that ends up hiding the very message of unconditional love, sharing and caring by deeming people unworthy because they are not our sort of ‘Christian’. I suggest you do some serious research into the number of groups that claim adherence to the word of Christ and for public purposes proclaim themselves to be speaking on behalf of everyone else. More often than not there are those that quote parts of the Old Testament as a way of expressing their own personal pet hates.
This is 2016, and for those who have found themselves to be part of the Christian Faith, there have been over 2000 years of interpretation and political manipulation of the very message that was to awaken the World to a new consciousness.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, in my view, it is a matter of urgency to go back to the basic message of inclusive love for all. To focus on building Communities and Families that is inclusive of all people and respectful of the environment. Religions and Churches have often sought to control the behaviour of people and even today some are not slow in coming forward in condemning others for many reasons. In an age when everything is thankfully open to questions and people are entitled to answers, Churches must re-access their own approach to the crisis of Homelessness, Domestic Violence, Refugees and the continuing non acceptance of those members of our Communities that are part of the LGBT debate. Its seriously a non-debate issue, the message of Christ is one of ‘Love’.
Let us think about one another with kindness in our hearts, accept the differences and if we profess to be ‘Christian’ make an effort to behave like one. Go and read the Bible for yourself and find those words that inspire you to be a better person in your dealings with others.
There is no more room for hatred and judgement, there has been enough. History is full of incidents of the most brutal and savage kind that then seeks justification by using the name of God or claiming that this ‘Crime’ is done, was done in the name of Christ. The very Jesus Christ that is acknowledged as ‘our’ Saviour by having brought a new message ‘Light’ into the World.
I am proud to have friends and family of all Creeds and Colours because I believe that we are one. I am proud of my friends that have made a stand for those members of our Communities that where once demonized for being ‘Gay’ or ‘Queer’ and not acceptable.
If you claim yourself to be a Christian then take today to get rid of that build up ignorance and self-serving arrogance. Have a social conscience and stand with those that are being denied dignity and respect. Stand with them because it is the right thing to do. Church attendances are falling because for many matters of faith have become irrelevant. Royal Commissions in Australia have exposed the very dangers that religious institutions and organizations fall prey to when appearances and money become more important than the very simple message of ‘unconditional love’.
We live in a Secular State founded on, in part, Judeo Christian principles. This is not an excuse for certain ‘faith’ based groups to push their own private and personal agenda. For the love of Christ, let’s get over the squabble for numbers and the endless theological debates. There will be time for those once matters of Social Justice, Human Rights have been addressed. If you are inspired by the message of the Christ then reach out to all in need. It’s not your role to be the judge and executioner and much less the controller of others.
Wake up to the possibilities of a better world where a simple message of love makes all the difference. There has been too much hatred, too many deaths and too much abuse.
This is 2016; wake up to the possibility that we are truly one family. In all families there will be differences of opinion, in most some of these opinions will be held onto firmly. Learn to be kind and gentle, see the Birth of the Infant Jesus as the birth of an ‘Idea’ that does have some practical applications for those who feel that call. It’s a very simple call. It can be best summed up by saying “Love one another as I have loved you “. So in 2017 let’s make a serious effort to love and care for one another as human beings. The New Testament (Covenant) offers us a chance to think about our own behaviour that we allow ourselves when dealing with one another.
A little context :- The words meaning literally “Iesus, Christos, God, Son, Savior, Cross,”are most excellent handles to hang a Christian prophecy on, but they are pagan, not Christian.” Philo Judaeus speaks of theochrestos “God-declared,”or one who is declared by god, and of logia theochresta “sayings delivered by God” –which proves that he wrote at a time when neither Christians nor Chrestians were yet known under these names, but still called themselves the Nazarenes.”
“Early Christianity is often divided into three different branches that differ in theology and traditions, which all appeared in the 1st century AD. They include Jewish Christianity, Pauline Christianity and Gnostic Christianity. All modern Christian denominations are said to have descended from these three branches. There are also other theories on the origin of Christianity.”
DIFFERENCES IN BELIEF
The sources suggest Christian denominations can be divided into “6 major ecclesiastico-cultural mega-blocs”: Independents, Protestants, “Marginals”, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
Wikipedia lists about 40 major divisions, each of whom might have some variation in belief.
World Christian Encyclopedia (David A. Barrett; Oxford University Press, 1982) apparently estimated almost 21,000 denominations, and the updated World Christian Encyclopedia (Barrett, Kurian, Johnson; Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001) estimated at least 33,000. “Denomination” is defined as “an organised christian group within a country”.
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimated 34,000 denominations in 2000, rising to an estimated 43,000 in 2012. These numbers have exploded from 1,600 in the year 1900. https://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/…/how-many-christi…/
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all my friends and family. Let us continue our friendships and understanding with mutual respect, walk into the New Year knowing that we are building a better World for those that will follow us.
I extend the best wishes of this Season to my Muslim, Hindu and Jewish friends, and all those of many faiths that too see the Divine in their own way. Let us join hands in this common journey and treat one another as one family!
Peace be with you as it is with me . May you find yourself in the company of those that love you and for whom you feel love . Find room in your life to share a meal with a stranger and reach out to one another. May the Sun find you well! AK