Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Part VI: Refuting old theology

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Refuting Old Theology
(Sixth installment of talk entitled, "How being yourself guarantees infinite supply." This section of the talk based on some prior blog entries.)

Self expression and divine will

At this point I'd like now to refute some "old theology," if you will. I edit a lot of books for an online self-publishing company. Because of my strong background in the Bible, I've been assigned many of the books by Christian writers.

Many of these authors put forth the concept that one needs to subsume one's own sense of selfhood in order to hear and obey the will of God. Only as we rid ourselves of self do we come close to what Jesus taught us to do.

I found myself at first objecting to this personally, perhaps because of the life coaching I'd been doing. In the coaching, I'm being encouraged to discover more about my authentic self and to listen to it—to get over my fears and limiting beliefs and fully self express.

But beyond that, I'm starting to believe strongly that we need to both discover what God is in His infinitude and greatness and also our own unique reflection of that greatness. We owe it to God, really, since to fully express Him in the way that He has appointed is to do His will.

To say we have no self, then, or that our self is worthless, is to truncate the path of full expression. If this is a systemic policy, where Christians in a particular sect or movement are being discouraged from self discovery, then a whole swath of God's greatness is not being magnified. This is the part I found disturbing. I began to recognize that to think that theories I might find harmless on an individual level—meaning, I'm sure that particular person will find their way eventually—are actually damaging to humanity's progress if imposed on a systemic level. This could even be affecting our GNP, because a whole lot of people are not fulfilling their potential. And this, of course, affects our collective expression of abundance.

Golly, I just want people to find the truth that works best for them, independent of institution or theory or opinion. I want truth to work on the individual consciousness unencumbered. I want self expression to be seen as expressing God, and for those witnessing that self expression to therefore rejoice.

Another piece of old theology I'd just like to blow out of the water is the belief that it's more virtuous to pursue the things that are harder for us than the things that come easily to us.

An example from my own life was the choice to be a stay-at-home-mother. This was over twenty years ago. It was absolutely harder for me to run a home myself than it would have been to have a job and a housekeeper—this is just my temperament. But I had accepted the idea that being a SAHM was better. Everyone and everything around me reinforced the idea that staying home with my baby was the best thing to do and that I would be a substandard mom if I didn't. My own mother loved staying at home and running a house, so maybe I thought that was the only way a mom should be.

But I tell ya, I went nuts. Within a few years, I simply self-destructed, blowing apart both my home and my marriage. Climbing out of that mess, I instead opted for a situation that included full-time work for me and a nanny for the kids. A SAHM friend of mine said at one point, "Maybe some people *should* keep working."

As hard as juggling a job and kids as a single parent might sound, it was easier for me than staying home. And, I think I'm turning out to be a pretty good mom—ask me again in twenty years.

I believe now that doing the thing we love, rather than the thing that's hard, is our mission. There are no extra brownie points waiting for us in heaven because we forced ourselves to do the hard thing. In fact, I think we can tell we're doing what's right for us by how easy it is, not by how hard.

If we bounce out of bed in the morning, energized and eager for the day ahead, chances are we've found the activity that fits us best. If we drag out of bed and find every task irritating, forcing ourselves to do the deed doesn't make us any more virtuous.

Of course, there are things we have a duty to do, but I guess what I'm really advocating today is not to create a life for yourself that is entirely duty or obligation, but is also filled with a good proportion of what you love, of what comes easily to you.

The thing that comes easily to you is most likely the very thing the Divine wants to express through you. Don’t truncate that expression with a false sense of obligation or a misguided attempt to be virtuous. The Divine needs you to do what you love.

Jesus was himself

We have a great example of this in Jesus. We tend to think about Jesus as being all brave and extraordinary, and he was. But what about from his perspective? What if he were just being himself? There was no other thing he could do. He knew it was most important to be true to himself.

Some months ago, in reading through the chapter "Atonement and Eucharist" in Science and Health, which of course is about Jesus the man and what he did for us, and, I brought my questions about self-discovery to the reading. That's when it occurred to me: Jesus was always himself.

Here are some of MBE's insights from the chapter [not all these were shared at the conference, but I've included them here]:

Jesus acted boldly, against the accredited evidence of the senses, against Pharisaical creeds and practices, and he refuted all opponents with his healing power. (p. 18)

The Master forbore not to speak the whole truth, declaring precisely what would destroy sickness, sin, and death, although his teaching set households at variance, and brought to material beliefs not peace, but a sword. (p. 19)

He rendered "unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." He at last paid no homage to forms of doctrine or to theories of man, but acted and spake as he was moved, not by spirits but by Spirit. (p. 20)

"Despised and rejected of men," returning blessing for cursing, he taught mortals the opposite of themselves, even the nature of God; and when error felt the power of Truth, the scourge and the cross awaited the great Teacher. Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness. (p. 20)

Neither the origin, the character, nor the work of Jesus was generally understood. Not a single component part of his nature did the material world measure aright. (p. 28)

Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man. (p. 26)

What I'm appreciating these days is that Jesus had a mission of his own to complete, and he did it. Unflinching, he faced what he needed to do. Because of what he did, I don't have to do it. I have a mission of my own that I need to complete as fully as he did.

This to me is becoming one way that I can emulate him. As a Christian, I'm committed to following Jesus and his teachings, to learning as much as I can about healing, to living the spiritual lessons he taught us. In addition to this, I can follow his example by discovering and then expressing the unique nature I've been given.

The Creator created only one Jesus. The Creator created only one me. Jesus did his job; I must also do mine.

TOMORROW: Part VII: Let It Flow

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or submit a question.
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At 11/04/2008 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...


At 11/04/2008 06:55:00 PM, Blogger Laura Matthews said...

I see you've been working on becoming more succinct.


At 11/05/2008 03:43:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

very cool

At 11/05/2008 03:55:00 PM, Blogger Laura Matthews said...

are you two taking the same writing class?


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