Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

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joe
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Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:13 am

Does anyone have any idea why Christian sermons are so dependent upon narrative and personification? Why there are so many references to figures, like Him and Jesus and why is everything spiritual attributed to these personifications? How do we square such language with basic spiritual principles?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by kiki » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:04 am

Most religions are founded on dualistic principles, therefore you have good/bad, right/wrong, heaven/hell, God/ satan. Therefore, narrative is necessary to explain everything.
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joe
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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:56 am

I'll provide a specific example. The other day at a sermon the pastor was talking about the difference between joy and happiness. In his description, I realized he was talking about being connected to the ground of being (joy) vs. being carried away by thought forms (happiness). Then he said the source of joy was knowing Christ and what he's done for us. Why can't he just say the ground of being, or being present to reality? Why is everything centered on a personification (Christ) in this case?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Onceler » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:54 pm

In my view, it’s yet another way of seeking salvation from our life......from our fear. It’s highly complex and evolved over time so that it appears rational in its many permeatations, but it’s salvation seeking pure and simple. The salvation comes from outside of us in Christianity and most religions. Something “other” saves us.

These themes can be perpetuated in any system including non-dual and neo-advaita systems. We often look to a teacher or guru to save us or to hold the key to our salvation from fear and misery. It’s maybe more subtle and, we believe, more sophisticated, but it’s often simple salvation seeking via external sources.

Of course no one can save us but ourselves and a deeply inward look to the center of our being. This has to be self-initiated and is the simplest/hardest thing ever.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:51 pm

joe wrote:I'll provide a specific example. The other day at a sermon the pastor was talking about the difference between joy and happiness. In his description, I realized he was talking about being connected to the ground of being (joy) vs. being carried away by thought forms (happiness). Then he said the source of joy was knowing Christ and what he's done for us. Why can't he just say the ground of being, or being present to reality? Why is everything centered on a personification (Christ) in this case?
Anyone purporting to teach about spiritual fundamentals does so from their own world view. Most pastors and the like have adopted belief systems that bring certain conclusions that they feel obligated to teach in their sermons.

Too often these sermons are tainted by a perceived need for power over whom they teach rather than a genuine clarity of the nature of consciousness and being. Being a spiritual guide can be a heady addiction. Even the most well intended are yet subject to human weaknesses. That is why it is incumbent on each of us to develop our own clarity of understanding and connection to our own inner being. There is no better guide.

I don't mean to be overly critical here as ministers of all sorts can indeed be of value to one trying to find their way in the many lines of thought available to a seeker in today's world. Those with the courage to grow in their own understanding will eventually move beyond the beliefs of others in favor of their own experience in awakening and insight.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:51 pm

I don't know about the power thing, though it is certainly an issue for some spiritual leaders.
I like what you point out regarding the notion of outside salvation. I guess what I'm struggling with, as I incorporate attending church into my spiritual journey (as it's the closest spiritual community I can take part in), is all this laying of spiritual truth on two individuals, God and Jesus. On the one hand, since I can recognize spiritual truth moving in my own life and I don't have the need to project outward onto a personification, I don't understand the total dependency of Christianity on such a view. Secondly, every time I hear "Him" or "Christ" mentioned, I have to do a mental translation, like in the example I gave earlier about joy vs. happiness. It feels awkward having to do that all the time. Why can't Christians just say that God is a concept that can have many other names and Jesus was an example of an awakened individual? The narratives are so heavy and dominating, especially when the Bible is quoted. Maybe it's just because of the form of Christian sermons. They can't really follow a freer sort of interpretation because Christianity is an institution. It does seem that there's nobody in history anywhere equal to Jesus in importance though, which means you can't just say he was another teacher. This is a whole other question though, I guess.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:48 am

joe wrote:Why can't Christians just say that God is a concept that can have many other names and Jesus was an example of an awakened individual? The narratives are so heavy and dominating, especially when the Bible is quoted. Maybe it's just because of the form of Christian sermons. They can't really follow a freer sort of interpretation because Christianity is an institution. It does seem that there's nobody in history anywhere equal to Jesus in importance though, which means you can't just say he was another teacher. This is a whole other question though, I guess.
True Christianity, like most other religions, was co-opted a long time ago. It's difficult to find a church today that teaches anything like Christianity's true essence. Religious Science (Science of Mind), Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy), and Unity are a few that still come close. Most of the rest are focused on Jesus the man rather than Christian teachings themselves. One could even legitimately ask 'was Jesus a real person?' There are other stories, much older, that are virtually identical to the Jesus story.

What is true is that the core principles of Christian teachings, even without Jesus, is demonstrably valuable in awakening to a greater perspective on life. So too it is with most religions when you can get past their dogma.

We'll probably never know the actual nature of the man Jesus himself. He's far too buried in historical distortion to get much clarity now. The 'only begotten' narrative so many denominations teach only serves to make Christianity exclusive of other religions rather than inclusive of all paths to awakened being. That's part of the power trip in keeping the flock close. The truth is we're all going Home eventually. What we have here in this human experience is a very unique adventure.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:53 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
joe wrote:Why can't Christians just say that God is a concept that can have many other names and Jesus was an example of an awakened individual? The narratives are so heavy and dominating, especially when the Bible is quoted. Maybe it's just because of the form of Christian sermons. They can't really follow a freer sort of interpretation because Christianity is an institution. It does seem that there's nobody in history anywhere equal to Jesus in importance though, which means you can't just say he was another teacher. This is a whole other question though, I guess.
True Christianity, like most other religions, was co-opted a long time ago. It's difficult to find a church today that teaches anything like Christianity's true essence. Religious Science (Science of Mind), Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy), and Unity are a few that still come close. Most of the rest are focused on Jesus the man rather than Christian teachings themselves. One could even legitimately ask 'was Jesus a real person?' There are other stories, much older, that are virtually identical to the Jesus story.

What is true is that the core principles of Christian teachings, even without Jesus, is demonstrably valuable in awakening to a greater perspective on life. So too it is with most religions when you can get past their dogma.

We'll probably never know the actual nature of the man Jesus himself. He's far too buried in historical distortion to get much clarity now. The 'only begotten' narrative so many denominations teach only serves to make Christianity exclusive of other religions rather than inclusive of all paths to awakened being. That's part of the power trip in keeping the flock close. The truth is we're all going Home eventually. What we have here in this human experience is a very unique adventure.

WW
I love your response! Yes, the man Jesus will always be a mystery. And understanding how history works I recognize that there is no way, through the countless distortions and misunderstandings that happen over time, that we can be certain of who Jesus was. And so he is a symbol, and in that sense, a "pointer" to universal truths. I don't think I would agree that there are certain churches that are closer to the essence of true Christianity, as that is another example of assuming what happened two thousand years ago. I think choosing a church, which I and my family are in the process of doing, requires considering many variables. I really like what you say about principles of Christianity vs. Jesus as a man. Maybe that will help clarify things for me a bit. It certainly clarifies the problem I'm having with personification. There is so much emphasis on this man and his deeds. If there was more emphasis on principles, then links to other religious beliefs and traditions could easily seep into Christian sermons. So perhaps you are on to something when you state that the focus on the man makes Christianity exclusive. That's a problem of Christianity as an institution, but it doesn't have to be a problem for the individual in church, as long as one focuses on the principles being described, which I can happily say, I recognize quite easily in every sermon I hear.

I am considering joining a Life Group at the church we are trying out. How would you advise I approach it? I imagine there will be a lot of focused study on specific passages in the Bible and a lot of prayer.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:50 pm

joe wrote:I am considering joining a Life Group at the church we are trying out. How would you advise I approach it? I imagine there will be a lot of focused study on specific passages in the Bible and a lot of prayer.
I suggest that you keep inviolate that there is no outside authority better able to discern truth than your own inner awareness and being. It may be a little dim from lack of use, but consistent renewed connection will open its brightness and clarity. No one else is accountable for what you choose to believe. The world is full of pointers, both historic and current, that can provide topics of consideration. Choose those that bring you the most peace and joy. Always leave room in your beliefs to move towards an ever greater understanding. 100% certainty about anything is the end of growth.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:19 pm

Very well stated. Any specific advice on how to navigate the life group?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:34 pm

Any specific advice on how to navigate the life group?
Be cognizant of those who quote outside their own understanding as if pointing to authority beyond those in the group. For example, if you have a heartfelt opinion and someone says you are wrong or mistaken, and points to a scripture as proof, they are not likely thinking for themselves but citing dogma. If a scripture is so valuable to them, speak to their understanding of that value. Doing so can lead to an interesting and exploratory discussion worth having.

Many, many, times people have come to my door on their religious outreach efforts and simply opened their Bible to show me a scripture as proof of some adopted belief they are attempting to convey. When challenged, they simple move to cite a different scripture in support of the first. This is simply programming or indoctrination, not insight or enlightenment.

Any teacher worth listening to should be speaking from their own understanding, regardless if it was born of scripture or not. Otherwise there is no real discussion to be had or discovery to be made. If someone wants to quote a scripture, that's fine. But tell me what it means to them. That has value. Do not just quote another passage as support.

Seek to look behind the curtain. Most scriptures are multilevel in their depth. Mark 4:9 Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." This points directly to those with a depth of understanding.

2 Corinthians 3: He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Always look to the spirit behind any discussion in search of clarity and understanding. How does it feel? Is it expansive? Is it restrictive? Does it limit? Does it inspire? This is the path to your own inner being and true perception. Cultivate it.

Scriptures and 'holy' books are just ink, paper and words. What they point to is what holds value. To the degree too many disciples don't understand what's pointed to, they cling to the words and book as authority, surrendering their own potential insight in the process. Anyway, this is from my personal guidebook when entering into group discussions about life's underlying principles. Make whatever use of it you will.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:15 pm

"There are other stories, much older, that are virtually identical to the Jesus story."
Can you give me examples?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:44 am

There are several in history. Some more vague than others. The most relevant is the similarities of Horus the off spring of Osiris and Isis. A virgin birth with a Deity father. I'm not trying to make too much of it, but it is interesting.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:05 pm

How do you just quote part of someone's post here?

I wanted to address what you were stating regarding the importance of speaking from one's experience rather than quoting scripture.

There are many Christians who will say they have experienced Christ in their lives. They won't necessarily refer to the Bible. Based on what you are proposing, one should hold what they are saying as true because they have said they experienced it directly. Of course what they describe is understood by them through the filter of Christian doctrine, so then what?

There are also those who gain followers by claiming they are hearing God directly and transcribing His words for themselves and others, or who are acting on the direction of God, and what they teach or claim often corresponds to Christian doctrine.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:20 pm

joe wrote:How do you just quote part of someone's post here?
Click on the 'postreply' button at the bottom of the thread. A reply window will open. Then scroll below the reply window and highlight the text out of the post you wish to quote with a left hold on the mouse. At the upper right corner of the text window you are quoting out of, click the 'quote' button. It should now be in your reply window.

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