Christian fundamentalism emphasizes the literal interpretation of the Bible and became a significant phenomenon in 20th century America
By Eileen Fleming
Christian Fundamentalism began in the late 19th century in reaction to new developments in the natural and social sciences, especially the theory of Evolution.
Despite the fact that the Bible is a collection of stories written down by ancients, fundamentalist Christians believe the Bible is historically accurate and that the physical Second Coming of Jesus is imminent.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
His teachings are grounded in Franciscan alternative orthodoxy practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.
On Palm Sunday he emailed:
Liberation theology focuses on freeing people from religious, political, social, and economic oppression (i.e., what Pope John Paul II called ‘structural sin’ and ‘institutional evil’).
It goes beyond just trying to free individuals from their own particular ‘naughty behaviors,’ which is what sin now seems to mean to most people in our individualistic culture.
Structural sin is accepted as good and necessary on the corporate or national level.
Large organizations–including the Church–and governments get away with and are even applauded for killing (war), greed, vanity, pride, and ambition.
Yet individuals are condemned for committing these same sins. Such a convenient split will never create great people, nations, or religions.
Liberation theology, instead of legitimating the self-serving status quo, tries to read reality, history, and the Bible not from the side of the powerful, but from the side of the pain.
Its beginning point is not sin management, but ‘Where is the suffering?’
Our starting point makes all the difference in how we read the Bible. Jesus spends little time trying to ferret out sinners or impose purity codes in any form. He just goes where the pain is.
Also in the in the 20th century, Paramahansa Yogananda, taught about universal Christ Consciousness and founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 to bring the true teachings of yoga to the West and underscore the truth underlying all true religions.
In titling The Second Coming of Christ, Paramahansa Yogananda explained:
I am not referring to a literal return of Jesus to earth. He came two thousand years ago and, after imparting a universal path to God’s kingdom, was crucified and resurrected; his reappearance to the masses now is not necessary for the fulfillment of his teachings.
What is necessary is for the cosmic wisdom and divine perception of Jesus to speak again through each one’s own experience and understanding of the infinite Christ Consciousness that was incarnate in Jesus. That will be his true Second Coming.
Many are the churches and temples founded in his name, often prosperous and powerful, but where is the communion that he stressed—actual contact with God?
Jesus wants temples to be established in human souls, first and foremost; then established outwardly in physical places of worship.
Instead, there are countless huge edifices with vast congregations being indoctrinated in churchianity, but few souls who are really in touch with Christ through deep prayer and meditation.
A thousand Christs sent to earth would not redeem its people unless they themselves become Christlike by purifying and expanding their individual consciousness to receive therein the second coming of the Christ Consciousness, as was manifested in Jesus.
Contact with this Consciousness, experienced in the ever new joy of meditation, will be the real second coming of Christ—and it will take place right in the devotee’s own consciousness.
In his chapter on The Beatitudes [Sermon on the Mount] from The Yoga of Jesus, Yoganananda writes:
Peace is the first manifestation of God’s response in meditation. Those who know God as Peace in the inner temple of silence, and who worship that peace-God therein, are by this relationship of divine communion His true children…
Anyone who brings peace to an inharmonious family has established God there. Anyone who removes the misunderstanding between souls has united them in God’s peace. Anyone who, forsaking national greed and selfishness, works to create amidst warring nations is establishing God in the heart of those nations…
No matter what one’s nationality or the color of his body, all of God’s children are souls. The Father recognizes no manmade designations; He loves all and His children must learn to live in that same consciousness….
So we, being made in his image, must also behave like gods and conquer hearts with the power of love, or humanity, as we know it will surely perish. Man’s power to make war is increasing; so must his ability to make peace…
Anyone who stirs up strife among brother nations under the guise of patriotism is a traitor to his divine family-a faithless child of God….
The true Christ-method of living can banish human conflicts and the horror of war and bring about peace and understanding on earth; all prejudices and enmities must fall away. That is the challenge placed before those who would be peacemakers of God…
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who listened to Bob Dylan LP’s in his hermitage in Kentucky during the ’60′s and became the first religious voice to speak out against the Vietnam War.
The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [children of God] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced.
In that spirit this lover and follower of Jesus the radically NONVIOLENT Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who challenged the job security of the Temple priests and the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces, offers my Spin on Jesus’s Sermon on The Mount excerpted from my 7th book:
About 2,000 years ago, when Jesus was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and ‘sins’ honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.
How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven’t got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.
God’s name in ancient Aramaic is Abba means Daddy as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, “My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours.” -Isaiah 55:8
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what “God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord.”-Micah 6:8
“Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.”
In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your ‘enemy.’ “For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you” Christ warns his disciples as he explains the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.”
In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Beyond The Universe and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.
“Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God.”
And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace within first and then pursue justice!
JUSTICE is the quality of being just, righteous and equitable as manifested in conduct, dealing, or treatment of others… [end excerpt]
IMAGINE when all who claim to be Christian are justly so.
IMAGINE when every Church on Easter Sunday is filled with people who actually do:
What Jesus taught because Jesus lives in their hearts!
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