Tuesday, 18 November 2014
The Gospel of Love.
"'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.'" Luke 11:9 (NRSV)
In 1979 I set out to find out what was wrong with the world.
It seemed to me that the world's religions were well established - Christianity had been around for nearly 2000 years - democracy was the government of the land, and peace and love were the songs of the popular culture.
But something was wrong.
No one was happy.
And nothing seemed to work.
After studying Egyptian and Greek mythology (the former to discover why they were always smiling) I returned to the Bible and Christianity.
This was the 1990s when the New Reformation of Christianity was beginning.
It began with the Bible and how we interpret it.
It went on to seek the historical Jesus and arrived at the Gospel of Love that Jesus taught.
I discovered that the problem with the Orthodox Christianity I had been taught as a youngster was that the message of unconditional love and forgiveness from God had been modified by the bishops to suit the needs of the rich and powerful.
Therefore, instead of the Gospel of Love, we had the religion of rewards and punishments based upon moral rules and imperatives.
This suited the powers because it kept the masses under control and substituted worldly authority for divine authority. Obedience to God had become obedience to worldly authorities.
This situation exacerbated what was wrong with the world - i.e. that there was not enough love - fear had replaced love at the heart of the religions of the world.
As for the popular culture - that's another story.
[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Compfight cc