The meaning of 'Christianity Evolved'
The sign on the front lawn of Unity Spiritual Center displayed just two words: Christianity Evolved. Those two words sparked a lot of curiosity, started new conversations, and in general stretched people's cerebellum into new pathways. What exactly did the sign mean?
These two words lead us to the works of Ken Wilber. If you've never heard of Ken Wilber, author of the "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution" and "Integral Psychology," he's worth knowing. He uses a quadrant to suggest the breadth of all human knowledge and experiences. His quadrant explains a comprehensive metatheory proposing that all forms of knowledge and disciplines are coherent. It's heady stuff that requires more research if you choose, but within the quadrant the interior and the exterior of the individual and the collective are the focus.
What would it be like if we could personally experience the Divine, as our Divine? Wilber likes the idea of integrating the contents of his four-part grid together. Ken, along with Fr. Thomas Keating, are working together to move Christianity beyond the myth where it has been stuck for 2,000 years. The face and the feel of Christianity have changed greatly over these many years.
Paul Smith's book, "Integral Christianity" explains the path and progression of Christianity from Palestine where it began as an experience. It moved to Greece in the form of a philosophy, then to Italy as an institution, next Europe where it became a culture, and landed in the USA in the form of a business. We left "the experience" behind long ago.
Reverend Joanne Rowden of Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake sees Unity as a bridge between traditional Christianity based in myth, and evolved Christianity based on the experience of living the way of Jesus versus making Jesus the way. She defines "Christianity Evolved" as moving away from the idea of Jesus as an exception, to that of example. It evolves the idea that we were born in original sin to that of knowing, and believing we are born in original blessing. It develops and deepens us from the belief that Jesus was special, and we are not.
It quickens us to look at Jesus's life, and be open and willing to say: I can live like Jesus, prioritizing kindness and truth in my interactions. It asks, how can I live the mystery of my Oneness with God in each moment? How can I stop worrying, and create heaven on earth today, and the next? May we each ponder the charges of Christianity Evolved in the spirit of self-love, truth, and honoring the gift of life as you.
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