Yesterday, and May 19th and 26th, it is my honor to preach at our Methodist Church while our pastor is away on a renewal couple of months. My general theme is reframing of Christianity, updating of the theology.
Recent studies show 62.5% decrease in Protestants since 1980, and in fact decreases in all kinds of Christianity. The only increase is in the group that answers "none" to the question as to what is their religion.
Obviously, something is going on, something that brings sorrow and pain to my heart. God touched me, came vividly into my life very early on. Masses of people run from church now, for they do not find it a place of Love, of meaning for their lives, of food for their souls and are not led to know The Presence.
I call for us to go back to the life and teaching of Jesus. In the 2,000 years from him to now, men, mostly men, have come up with some pretty convoluted ideas that we are supposed to go along with. People have been burned at the stake, beheaded, tortured, shunned for having other points of view than those of the men in power.
In a vision, I saw barnacles attached to the original life and teachings of Jesus, obscuring clear sight, with a tiny fraction available to see. These barnacles had names, their names were ignorance, false theology, fear, confusion, counterfeit ideas such as original sin, power, control, and all the ramifications of these poured upon us a certain darkness.
This chilling vision called me to do my part to quicken a reawakening of understanding of the life, the historical context, and the teachings of Jesus. It showed me walking The Way is key to survival of the inhabitants of this planet and maybe even the planet itself.
I urge you to get the free Message Bible app, a modern translation of the Bible, not a paraphrase. Read the New Testament several times. Imagine being out in the countryside, a peasant, a resident of the cruel Roman Empire, with no knowledge of science, highly likely to be illiterate, and let the Jesus ideas flow around and in you. Let go of what men have made up about it, find it yourself.