I was referred lately to Frank Schaeffer’s vision of a revised Christianity based on his own perspecitve that Christianity is failing.   I may offend many here writing in Holy Week, on the eve of the Easter “mysteries.”  I hope it will not bring out the guillotine.

Schaeffer’s critique continues with the question that begs us, “With what will modern failing  bankrupt Christianity be replaced?”

We seek the ‘new alternative.’  Bring the keys of the past to unlock the doors to the future.  We evolve as we enable AND transcend ourselves.  Lamentation and mourning over the lost and corrupt is the necessary therapeutic step of acknowledging past ‘sins’, of all sorts.  The important next step of healing is to offer something in place of the ‘whited sepulchre,’ as Jesus once did.  Or in other language, “turn and face your fears.”

In the heart of mystical truths of all genres, or in more common familiar religious language, the only “true religious practice” is the one held in the moment, the present, between ourselves and the Holy Spirit.  But because mythology too evolves even the NT idea of the Holy Spirit, its  very ‘identity,’ needs updating in the post-modern world.  (And it has been in the works of Ken Wilber, in a seminal broad, and comprehensive ‘mapping’ , worldview which I recommend.)

One might read the NT to say this empowering ‘force’ was the only real legacy Jesus intended for us, the one that empowers all acts of ‘salvation,’ whether political, social or personal mercy and justice.   We are the SaviorS as daily we chose how we may love our neighbor as our selves.

Open Heart Spirituality {OHS} is the new alternative.  Its meaning is both to be practiced and explored for its ever-renewing and guiding ways and its durable lasting wisdom/Sophia.  In traditional language true practice is the one led in the moment by the Holy Spirit.  Integral vocabulary might call it the open heart/mind of Kosmos.

“Church-i-anity” is political mythological interpretation of a few witnesse’s stories of His words and deeds born on the waves of the constantly shifting sands of human consciousness, (studied best rationally in philosophy, for philosophy underlies the numerous transient shifts of religion in all cultures, even while it changes seeking Universality and the One – that One, “Father,” Jesus knew, lived and died for.)

Could it ever have been otherwise? Simply, NO.  We are political beings too; it was two kinds of politics that hung him on the cross after all.    The machine killed Jesus because his message and work was inimical to it. But that’s how he transcended it  then and how we may do so now.  He/It was all about open hearts/minds/ends-to-be-discovered.

But his identity more than his message was immediately boxed just as his own people had once boxed Jehovah.  His own universality defies this “exclusivizing” ownership, the corrupt and ever-present corrupting shadow in our nature that operates so often in xenophobias of all kinds or our triggered impulse to feel good by dissing others – blame, shame and judgment first.  To our detriment we do this even before seeking the creative more constructive way of compassion and care for ourselves.

Rather we live best first by acknowledging our selves as embodied souls created by Kosmos, called to be creators, not condemners.  Through soul’s inner voice to the marvels of all our rational humanities and sciences is the post-modern synthesis of ‘salvation’ to be articulated and built.   Salvation of what, for what and by and with whom are the questions that our evolution, our ongoing transitory natures, our continous ‘becoming’ begs of us.

Its answers are in, again I say, in cooperation with Evolving Spirit as it leads us to recognize our need to evolve, to shift, to include and transcend.  Salvation now is emerging by world-centric thinking {eg. Think Global, Act Local}, global mindfulness is our calling to practice now.  That’s what I think.

Our brains are so fine but they need higher consciousness too, more encounter with the non-dual. We save very little if we ourselves are not first transformed in our interiors, a collaboration with Spirit in experience not in doctrines and in institutions and systems only by its members prior transformation.

This is how and where Eros meets Agape.  It is a sensual mind/body experience played out. Spirit is insatiably touching embracing expressing hungering for Love/Kosmos’ energy, the very drive to connect with itself and with us, our drive to happiness. Thus is the circle drawn, does the energy of Spirit move through us to create, to stuff us spiritually via the mind body, not only with ideas alone and experience but with community in new shapes and sizes, new forms and functions.

Repression of Spirit has taken its many forms through the centuries, by Church and other systems, even as people like Francis lived and called us to higher consciousness one-on-one, one by one.  Repression is a fatal thing the Church drove into us, conditioned us to.  It social-political battles today not only distract us from the key in our evolving relationship with Spirit, a hard lust instead of a soft embrace as it were, they undermine us our embrace of Spirit.

Each person’s unique Eros/Agape ‘path to salvation’ is stimulated by others and the collective.  By birth we are explorers in this space/time environment, as fish in the sea, as saints in grace. We are meant to see so much irony in this embrace of Spirit,ourselves, our neighbor. Beauty, Goodness, Truth are the three elements of the Eros/Love – Agape/Compassion dynamic.  This is not new paradigm.  It was Jesus’s that begs in history for ongoing adaptation.

Converse to the political separation of church and state, spiritual Christianity {OHS} is no longer about a ‘religious marriage’ between a savior and the ‘saved’.  Now it is about the stuff of the mind/body/sprit experiencing more and more of Spirit, non-dual universal energy that moves us to smarter and more caring, world-centric, as in “Think Global, Act Local.”

Not marriage with the Anthropos but Partnership with Spirit, the intention of OHS is to see evolution occur in our species along our lineages of both self-imaging, morality, science and politics.  We are the species that can let go the dross of the past, carry forward its gold, and expect Spirit/higher consciousness to see to it that we transcend our former corruptions and deviations.

We are to become simply co-conspirators in the same with Spirit, mindful in all our lifestyles of our own drive always  to merge, adapt, yoga/union with IT in the future.  Each of us chooses our purpose and vehicle in the struggle and yearning for Spirit as Partner.  Thats’ what Jesus did do, and would do, now as then.

C.F.Benz Durham, NC