Today we start a new podcast series called “The Mythical Jesus: Taking the Christ of Faith Seriously”. This podcast will delve into Faith Development, Cognitive Development, and Biblical Scholarship using the Teachings and figure of Jesus from the New Testament as the framing for exploring these deep ideas. Today we start with the Earliest Gospel, that of Mark, and Explore Mark Chapter 1 vs 3 and 4. We will utilize the New Living Translation to take advantage of its contemporary language if for no other reason. The mission of this podcast is to help listeners explore the deep shift from Ego-Centricity to Cosmic-Centricity while also coming to a deeper appreciation of the Jesus of the New Testament as an incredible example of what that development looks like.
Future episodes will come out about once every 3 weeks and will release on Wednesdays.
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Sounds good, looking forward to it.
How should we define good religion? Bill promotes the idea that spiritual progress leverages the organized group to prepare to receive the Christ of faith. Maybe then, good religion frees us from defining ourselves as part of the organization and encourages the organization to be part of us. For example, Jesus said, I did not create man to serve the Sabbath, I created the Sabbath to serve man. Maybe the same could be said of religion. “I did not create man to serve religion, I created religion to serve man.” I remember when I was 17, (I came from an inactive family) I had this very unique thought regarding church; I clearly saw what I believed and felt about God and how I wanted to live my life and then I saw that there was this organization called the church and they were trying to support what I was doing. No longer was I serving the religion by trying to not mess up, but it was serving me and helping me to become. At times the organization would encroach on me and try to tell me what kind of relationship I should have with my Heavenly Father and exactly how that relationship should work, I already knew what that relationship was and what it was becoming. From that point forward in my life, the church became the backdrop for the relationship I was having with God and Christ in the foreground. Religion did not define the relationship, it was providing support to the relationship; sometimes sound support and sometimes misguided. As a Bishop I came to realize that the only two tools I had available to me to help others was to inspire and invite. Inspiring others comes through love without agenda, charity, kindness, encouragement and consistency. And the invitation, is not an invitation to embrace religion, but to discover the Christ of Faith, as Bill says it. In the end, some just wanted the organization in their life, others wanted the organization with a little Jesus included, while others wanted to discover Jesus and was willing to allow the organization to support them in their journey not dictate that journey. None of these orientations are wrong though some are more fulfilling than others. In the end, I think we will find that all the ceremony, all the ritual, all the imagery, all the formality of organized religion was meant to lead us and invite us to discover something more. The sad thing is though, the ceremony, the ritual, the imagery and the formality is often seen as the place of final arrival and we are distracted from the discovery of the Christ of Faith.
I love this concept! Too many, including myself for many decades, followed direction from the church even when it didn’t feel right and true to me and the way I saw and experienced my relationship with Christ. I believed the ‘right’ way was living by the checklist and pushed down/back any discomfort caused by living this way.
Now, in my 60s and after total devotion and dedication to decades in the church, I’ve found myself (shockingly) stepped back from the church and discovering a far richer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Perhaps if I’d seen things the way you do, I could’ve avoided some of the deep anguish and self-betrayal that came as a checklist ticker and contorting myself to stay lock-stepped.
Thank you for sharing your perspective.
I’m excited for this series Bill. This may be your greatest one yet!
This is a very important topic for me.
Thank you for the good you do! God bless you brother.