This article appeared in the April 7, 2012 issue of the Austin American Statesman
In three years we will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing the 95 Theses on the door of The Castle Church in Wittenberg and the beginning of The Protestors Re-Formation of Christianity. There have been many 500-year cycles in History and we use the myth of The Phoenix to remind us of that. And each has ended and been replaced by the next 500 year cycle. But breaking up is so hard to do!
In my religious career, spanning the last forty-five years, the Protestant focus has been and still is…..the past. We tend to judge ourselves, especially our clergy, on how well they profess to believe what used to be true. But that’s History and that was then and this is now. Even so, for many, the past is still more alluring than what is happening right before our very eyes. By that I mean: we are squarely in the middle of the greatest trans-formation of our understanding of our place in the Universe in known History.
Religions seem to change more slowly than anything else we experience. In fact, where religion is concerned, change happens one funeral at a time! Yet, we are all experiencing time speeding up more and more every day. We no longer have the luxury of going slowly with anything, including our historical religions.
One of the great issues during the early part of the Re-Formation was that of Science. The Holy Roman Catholic Church simply refused to allow new science any room in its’ pulpits or its’ pews. But science persisted despite the fact that as recently as last week some of our fellow Christians thought that science was against our spirituality and run by atheists. But the New Science is not against discovering how spiritual truths and scientific realities are completely harmonious with, and a part of, a much larger whole.
Today, as Einstein predicted, science and religion are approaching the top of the mountain where they will shake hands and congratulate each other for having reached the summit, by two separate paths. And strangely enough, the scientists are beginning to discover that Consciousness is the big picture that encompasses objective reality and the world of Spirit. Some religious people are discovering that the restrictive World View of the Re-Formation simply no longer works. The Re-Formation, as important as it was, took place in a world that was flat, where atoms were solid and Earth was the center around which the sun journeyed every day. Five hundred years later, we see ourselves out here on a small planet, in a small solar system on the outskirts of a small galaxy amid billions of other galaxies. Our Hubble telescope allows us to see far, far across this Universe.
I have joined Pierre de Chardin, the brilliant Catholic theologian and Tom Campbell, the brilliant NASA Physicist, and many others who have experienced our ability to live our lives as eternal spirits having a brief human experience. And herein lies the future.
Our new Re-Formation / Trans-Formation is taking us to heights we could scarce believe even as the last century ended and we were propelled, ready or not, into this 21st century. With the publication of our Astronauts’ pictures of Earthrise from the Moon, we clearly left behind the notion of national boundaries, separation by skin color, language and gender and, yes, even religion. Today, we can no longer pretend each of us is an island in the Sun……we are all ONE…….and lo and behold…..we are ONE with the entire Universe. The past, which saw so much separation, is now rapidly being replaced by a global Trans-Formation that sees and celebrates our connectedness to the very end of the Universe. From the circulation of the stars within the largest galaxy to the spinning of the smallest atomic particles in our bodies, it is all one. And one Historical insight is even truer: God is Omnipresent. Welcome Home!
So, for me, right now, this year’s Lenten season is a celebration of our complete unity with God and all of his Creation. There is only one God, to whom we have assigned many different names in many different religions, just as there is only one Humanity, one Universe and one time……NOW! This year I have chosen to sacrifice the past and embrace the future…..and God is as surely in the center of this Trans-Formation into the future as he appeared hidden in the separations of the past.
As a result of working with religions from all over the world at The United Nations, there is one thing I know for sure: we are all longing to discover that God is bigger than any of our false separations or antique beliefs. All 7 billion of us are about to discover that we are spiritual beings traveling all over the Universe free to create and learn the lessons God wants us to experience. And once you discover how easy it is to travel across that Universe and between dimensions, as String Theory begins to explain, you will discover God has not only created you his Child, he has given you an inheritance that bestows upon you the very power of the Universe itself….and you have had that for all eternity.
So this year, I am choosing to give up the Re-Formation, the past and our littleness, in exchange for experiencing the Power and the Glory that God has freely given each of us as his Child.
Chuck’s Photo: David Saenz