Monday, December 8, 2008

Third Jesus

Deepak Chopra had a brilliant idea when he wrote "The Third Jesus". He offered a simple way to think about Jesus. The first Jesus is a historical conundrum, variously thought of as religious teacher and social revolutionary. Ideas about the first Jesus are always changing, as textual scholarship and archeology bring to light new understandings.

The second Jesus is the Jesus of theology. Again, the second Jesus is a moving target. Theology about Jesus is usually coopted from the way different groups understand the first Jesus; eg liberation theology understands the first Jesus as a social revolutionary so they develop a theology to match. Those who believe in a sin/ atonement theology read back into the first Jesus a supernatural role as divine scapegoat.

The first and second Jesus are both important, inspiring and intriguing. But this is usually the place for division and religious rivalry. The third Jesus points to something universal that transcends and includes all specific "perspectives" on Jesus.

In my sermon yesterday, I spoke about these distinctions, focusing on the Christmas story, the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian and Mother Theresa. Here is an extract-

"Whatever you believe about the first and second Jesus, don’t let it distract you from your essential humanity and life purpose. Something magical is taking place in your life. Your inner star is guiding you to a new consciousness. It might look rough like an old farm shed, and it might not be very grand, but it is a miracle none the less. Wise ones will gather around. They might not bow down and worship you as the Messiah, but they will nurture the birth of this new consciousness that you are part of them and they are part of you. You will dream dreams and imagine peaceful worlds and your intentions and actions will be part of this peace. Your purpose is to birth your own Christ consciousness, and have your own direct and present experience of God."

to read more, watch or listen to the sermon go to

1 comment:

Jim Ramelis said...

I thought Deepak Chopra's "The Third Jesus' was an astounding work also. His book on Buddha was even better. Perhpas Deepak felt more comfortable with Buddha.

I am intrigued by the idea of a new more progressive Christianity and spiritual development or the elevation of consciousness must be a part of it.

So called main line denominations are dying becasue they are all intellect, all thinking, no emphasis on inner work.

The fundamentalists do have some success with their 'born again" experience, which I honestly believe some of them have a remarkable experience. It is just a first step though and usually involves more emotionalism than a true conversion experience. After their 'born again' experience, their churches then begin to turn them into Pharisees, obssessed with biblical literalism, dogmas and creeds, and losing whatever good spirit came out of their born again experience.

I see you do innrer work, as do I.Many progressive Christians are stuck in the heads, much the same as the mainline denominations. Whether or not progressive Christianity has universal appeal, as opposed to a small intellectual minority, will depend on its development of inner work to accompany it's academic message