What if we are (almost) missing the point completely? Is it possible that an entire religion can jump the rails by forgetting something foundational?
About a week ago I got an email from my friend Jason. We’ve been buddies for many years, although now that he lives in western Canada I never see him. But, thanks to the interwebs, his physical location hasn’t stopped us from continuing conversations about our shared interests, namely philosophy and theology.
He has always sort of vacillated back and forth between Christianity and eastern religions, and I value his opinions, one reason being because I feel he is one of my few close friends who can accurately clue me in to what people outside the church think about things.
Which is why I was kind of surprised when he emailed me this:
…it seems that there is so much focus on Jesus, that the one major aspect to the Trinity that is supposed to help us live our daily lives gets ignored: the Holy Spirit. We live in a society obsessed with the rational mind, one that forgets about listening to emotion, experience, mystery…Isn’t this where the Holy Spirit is supposed to enter our lives?
I think Christians are losing sight of how to live as Christians by focusing too much on the Bible and Jesus as the only means to do that. There is also the human experience, the current moment as I am living it, and Jesus is not here anymore, nor is the Bible telling me personally exactly what I should do or not do in this moment. But the Holy Spirit does.
Or something like that.
Imagine that – a Buddhist reminding me of the Holy Spirit’s importance (he doesn’t claim to be a Buddhist – I think he’s actually a Christian living in denial).
He’s right, of course. We’ve turned Christianity into a scientific experiment, drawing our lines in the sand between Creation and Evolution, Young-Earth and Old-Earth.
We misinterpret the Bible to say, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…and voting a particular party.” The litmus test of Christians is no longer love, but having the correct stance on a variety of political issues.
We’ve created elaborate, stone structures, and if anyone tries to change them we freak out, probably because we know just how fragile they really are (churches call them Articles of Faith).
What do you think? Is Jason right – have we neglected the Holy Spirit to our detriment? Or is this rational modern mind the right way forward? Can we learn Truth from a source other than the Bible?
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26