I’m talkin’ “my christ,” here. You can capitalize yours, if you want.
This section of the website is the most volatile and problematic for me, personally. (At least that was true, for months, when I wrote this, November 2007.) The poem that follows, “And Richard, What Cans’t Thou Say…,” was originally hidden away under a misleading title. I felt excited and compelled to include it on the website in the spring of 2007, but only now am I willing to have a table of contents entry with “christ” in it, so people might find it. The change has come after some pretty serious inner work this fall, which is partly represented in these posts:
On October 7, I was able to publish a good overview of the above five items, and to set them in context in my Summary, Mid July through September, `07.
And then came An Awakening Calm, which, as I write this in mid-November, continues to delight and reassure me, without offering many words or concepts with which to share it.
My sketchy guess about where I am now, mid-November, is that my understanding of “christ” is that “christ” is to the human something like “gaia” is to the planet, and also like the restorative wholeness I see in trees. (See “Lessons From Trees,”still coming.)
I believe I first encountered this idea of implicit, restorative wholeness in the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who speculated the universe was moving toward an “Omega Point” of numinous awareness.
I offer here my own speculation on the maximum possible human, written some years ago.
AND RICHARD, WHAT CANS’T THOU SAY, ON THE MATTER OF CHRIST AND CHRISTOCENTRISM IN QUAKERS?
D E A S U S T H
J E S U S
J O S H U A
I have been touched…
Using this name…
I have gone to places in myself
I never dreamed of.
I have been filled with Love.
Jesus is more than just a word to me.
It is a name of something.
But very personal,
So I know that in many ways My Jesus is unique to me.
Is that different from how I know anyone? My experience of any person is unique to me but shares characteristics with the experience that others have of them. No big deal.
The reason it is a big deal
when it comes to Jesus
is that there is such power.
– – –
In my language, “I know Jesus with the Christ that is in me.”
(In part. I know Jesus with the little boy in me too, and the little girl, and the angry parent, but it is because my Christ is touched, constellated, that there is such power.)
Christ was within God at the beginning, is inherent in all of creation.
I say that in the same way that there is a certain pattern that draws certain minerals together into becoming quartz crystals, Christ is built-in, drawing us to beautiful, shining forms of ourselves, different in many attributes and colors, but with certain consistent qualities.
I approach Christ as a natural law, powerful regardless of what we might name it, and occurring in every human culture, whether named as such
or not recognized in any form similar to that seen by Christians.
The Word, the Christ, was in Buddha.
And in him and through him that Word,
that divine human call or tendency, has been heard by many millions.
Women and men who re-formed themselves in response to the Buddha’s words.
Some of them are shining examples of what humans can be.
Hindus also have an incarnated prince to guide them,
and they also have sacred words, the Bhagavad-Gita and many other sacred texts which, like the Talmud, bear fruit constantly for those who know how to address them.
The words, the stories, touch underlying patterns, drawing us toward lives which shine with the Divine.
In my words, “this is the work of the Christ which is in all creation.”
It is clear to me that the Christ is also vivid in the warrior-ideal that guides many traditional peoples.
I feel a power there.
I am lifted, in ways beyond conscious understanding,
toward a selfhood greater, more beautiful, more consistent with the Divine
than I otherwise experience.
Repeatedly, predictably, I take a step…”ahead,” as a result of devoting my attention to these stories of selflessness, these patterns of human experience.
Truly, “warrior” is a Way, a path, toward expressing the Divine.
In Zen, the ideal appears to be a merging with a completely impersonal reality. To “become” the rain,
to accept unqualifiedly one’s pain.
One might think, “surely here there is no ‘Christ by another name’ to follow.”
Not to “follow,” that is correct.
What is counseled is a certain kind of turning away from any outer models.
Zen is clear this is also a turning toward. A turning which can lead one toward a state, a process, which is essentially within us and which is also a great accomplishment.
My Christ is here, I have no question.
Zen masters are clearly “Christed” beings, full of compassion, unconcerned with worldly standards of ‘great’ and ‘small’, acting paradoxically and often successfully in situations where only fools and angels dare to tread.
Thus, in Zen and elsewhere, my Christ need not be presented
to be present
and active in the lives of humans.
Of course we don’t have to call this Way –this process– “Christ,” if that confuses the issue.
Whatever it is called, I assert that something is going on. In humans.
It is a process, a developmental path with enormous individual and cultural variations, and also a deep consistency which transcends the variations.
It is the path toward God-as-expressed-by-humans1.
1God-as-expressed-by-horses or quartzes is equally divine;
we are one form among a multitude.
Our in-spiriting occurs through what may be called ‘Christ.’