31 Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching.32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
[Image: “Creative Commons Wholly Devoted” by samstratton is licensed under CC BY 2.0]
Reflections on Religious / Faithful Commitment
Last Sunday in church we were challenged to be committed to Christ. That language, which seems anachronistic, creates a dissonance in me. It seems quite different from following in the Way of Yeshua. Actually both terms were used, as if they were interchangeable. I beg to differ with that conclusion.
To commit to Christ is to claim obedience to the church’s myth of the divine savior that blankets the myth that seems more original with Yeshua himself — that is the very human Yeshua who serves as a catalyst for re-locating accessibility for divinity, salvation, eternal life, resurrection within each person. The effect of Yeshua’s claiming the title “the Human Being” (the son of the man), was to locate messianism within the individual psyche, as opposed to a Messiah which is located outside of individuals. Commitment to Christ (Messiah) means that I expect the work of salvation to be done for me by the Messiah; messianism, on the other hand, means that we are called to “work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work within you.” (Philippians 2:12-13, NRSV).
I wonder if some of the lethargy in the church — diminishing numbers, diminishing mission engagement, diminishing pursuit of social justice — is a result of dislocating religious rootedness outside of the individual. The clamor for eternal life (understood as physical living in a heavenly realm after death) seems to trump the push for social justice. Group think (a belief-based religion) wins out over the hard work of personal transformation (growing toward wholeness based on integrating one’s shadow and engaging the collective unconscious). Civil religion (integrating patriotism and violence with personal religious sentiments) seems to outmaneuver mystical engagement with one’s deep inner core of divinity.
So, will I commit to Christ? No, instead I will commit to following in the Way of Yeshua. Many of my cohorts at church will think I am just ‘splitting hairs’ and playing with words. In truth, I am making what I think is the more radical choice. This choice leaves me with full responsibility for my actions, my salvation, and for God’s active presence in the world. Unless I act (unless you act; unless we act) God remains inactive in the world. Committing to follow in the Way of Yeshua is committing to be immersed in God (mystery, divinity, spirit) and taking responsibility for being one who acts in the world in the name God, that is as God’s hands and feet.