Salvation as At-One-Ment
Thursday, July 27, 2017
If we would imitate Jesus in very practical ways, the Christian religion would be made-to-order to grease the wheels of human consciousness toward love, nonviolence, justice, inclusivity, and care for creation. Mature religion serves as a conveyor belt for the evolution of human consciousness. Immature religion actually stalls people at very early stages of magical, mythic, and tribal consciousness, while they are convinced they are enlightened or “saved.” Then we are more a part of the problem than offering any kind of solution. Only the nondual and mystical mind gets us all the way through, and that happens only by continual enlargement of the True Self and continual loss of the small ego self.
Unfortunately, Christianity became another moralistic religion. It was overwhelmingly aligned with a very limited period of history (empire building through war) and a small piece of the planet (Europe), not the whole earth or any glorious destiny (Romans 8:18) for us all. Not surprisingly, many Christians ended up tragically fighting evolution—along with most early human and civil rights struggles—because we had not been taught any evolutionary notion of Christ who was forever “groaning in one great act of giving birth” (Romans 8:22). Until the reforms of the 1960s and the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholicism was overwhelmingly tribal. Protestantism wasted too much time reacting against that tribalism—which made it tribal too. We become another version of anything we dislike or react against too strongly.
Authentic mystical experience connects us and keeps connecting us at ever-newer levels, breadths, and depths, “until God is all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). “The world, life and death, the present and the future are all your servants, for you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). Full salvation is finally universal belonging and universal connecting. Our word for that is “heaven.”
God is forever evolving human consciousness, making us ever more ready for God. The Jewish prophets, Jesus himself (Mark 2:19-20), and many Hindu, Catholic, and Sufi mystics used words like wedding, espousal, marriage, or bride and groom to describe this phenomenon. That’s what the prophet Isaiah (61:10, 62:5), many of the Psalms, the school of Paul (Ephesians 5:25-32), and the Book of Revelation (19:7-8, 21:2) mean by “preparing a bride to be ready for her husband.” The human soul is being gradually readied so that intimacy and partnership with the Divine are the final result. Note that such salvation is a social and cosmic concept, and not just about isolated individuals “going to heaven.” The Church was meant to bring this corporate salvation to conscious and visible possibility, but it was itself too tribal to accomplish much in this regard. It was not catholic (universal or “according to the whole”), a word we began using to describe ourselves as early as the year 108 AD. In some ways we’ve gone backwards.
Gateway to Silence:
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 218, 222-223, 226;
Hell, No! (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2014), CD, MP3 download; and
Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 212.