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Many will ask, 'What is the New Age'? And to tell you the truth, at age 67 I am still not sure what the so called 'New Age' really means. Then people will ask, "Is the 'New Age' a religion or is it some kind of movement?" In general terms the 'New Age' is not one religion but respects the beliefs and faiths of all religions and actually seeks to understand each. It does this not in any attempt to eradicate or supercede any one religion, but rather to make comparisons, thereby increasing our understanding of the world and of each other. We could say, that those interested in the 'New Age' are on a peace finding mission. We seek peace not only in our own lives but in the world at large. If that is a movement, I have not seen it yet! For the most part though, those interested in the 'New Age' are seekers of truth; and that is a most individual endeavor. So that, at least for me, to be part of a 'New Age Thought' system, means simply to be on a soul searching quest. Mostly that quest is a search for God but what it really ends up being is a search for self identity. To know who and what we are and what we will become; not only in this life, but in the next to come, And so, we begin our quest by asking questions.
As we begin to question those in power, we begin to ask: Is there truth in numbers, or, can one person have the truth regardless of what others say or do or believe? By asking this question I was eventually led to the biblical passage that reads: "Where two or three agree, there shall I be." I was intrigued with this saying because it seemed to hold some hidden metaphysical value for me. Better known as the 'The Church Order Discourse', it can be related to the power of spirit and what can be achieved by a congregation of believers; but in Jesus' day, the two and three was a direct reference to the laws of Moses and to the number of witnesses needed to convict a man of a crime.
The man being accused went before a judge and was separated by a thin veil representing the 'Holy Scheckinah' (Holy Spirit)---but in those days, 'he' was 'she'. But in our modern day spiritual community it becomes the ever popular notion that we are a combination of body, mind and soul. Metaphysically speaking, 'Mind' being the 'Holy Spirit' and 'Soul' being the 'Holy Ghost' both aspects of one and the same God. The Holy Spirit is the masculine aspect of deity while the Holy Ghost is the feminine aspect of deity. Or we can say, Father-Mother-God. Mind and Heart must be in balance!---They must agree! Simply put, the two and the three can be contained inside of one person and not just the many. Therefore I say, "If the two (mind and heart) agree; or if the three (body-mind-soul) agree, there shall you find God in the midst of them is a truism of the highest order---and for one person. We form our own trinity; gain our power and control back! We are empowered by way of the light!
Throughout my life, I was being led in two directions: the one leaning toward religion (i.e. Christianity); and the other toward the metaphysical (i.e. the spiritual). Seeking balance, I became convinced that one need not give up one in favor of the other, but that we could actually meld the two into one harmonious whole. I became convinced that the two and the three can be contained inside of one person. In giving testimony, for example, the Holy Spirit (i.e. Holy Ghost) becomes our witness... and acts as our one and only proof needed.
As Christians, for example, we are taught that our prayers are answered, and that miracles and healings occur but only through the presence of Jesus Christ and our acceptance of him as our lord and savior---because we are told, he is the truth, the light, and the way; and that no one goes to the father except by way of him.
But what if we do not believe in church doctrine? What if we believe in 'Truth' and in 'Light' but do not accept Jesus as lord and savior? What if we are a Jew, for example, or a Muslim or a Buddhist? Does this mean that we cannot come by the 'Truth', or that we can not perform miracles, or that we cannot agree? You see---a truth to a Christian only holds sway to the Christian; but a metaphysical 'Truth' must have a universal quality to it. It must be true not only for today or tomorrow but must hold true for all peoples and all time. It must be true when the universe came into existence at the Big Bang, and it must be true when the universe fades away; if such a thing is possible.
And so, we come to one basic denominator... one basic 'Truth'. Namely, that light exists! That is not just a Christian truth but it is a metaphysical 'Truth'.
Whether or not we are functioning from a religious perspective or from a metaphysical one, this kind of thinking may eventually lead us into affirming, that yes, God does indeed exist, but it cannot lead us to the conclusion that Jesus is that God. Why? Because that is a truth belonging to a Christian only and to no other denomination. To think otherwise is to invite division, conflict, and war with other world religions---as indeed history can attest. In our modern era, western nations can clearly see the danger possed by extreme Islamic fundamentalists as they proclaim Allah the only God. The USS Cole was attacked and 911 happened because some radical Al Queda groups are actively seeking a global Jehad against the infidels (i.e. Christians and Jews). If we can see the error of this, then by extention, were we to reject this as an untruth, then as Christians we cannot, ought not, declare Jesus to be that God as Muslims must not and should not proclaim Mohammad to be theirs; for this is a very dangerous world in which we live. What we can do is to see them as divine messengers, teachers and caregivers. We can even see them as our own personal saviors. In this manner we can begin to emulate... to see them as our beacon of light... a way to God!
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Nay, what we should be asking ourself is, did a Mohammad or a Jesus ever walk the face of this planet? If we answer, yes, they did, then we are totally in our rights to seek out the 'historical truth' whether we are addressing a Mohammad or a Jesus. And so we ask, what really happened during the Palestinian era? What was Jesus' mission and what was his message? We may be seeking the truth, but this kind of truth seeking does not rise to the metaphysical level. Being grounded in this reality and having to do with this world only, what we are really seeking are facts regarding actual events that either did or did not happen. In this sense then, we are investigators in search of a great mystery regarding the life and times of the man we call Jesus. We are in search of 'historical Jesus' the term here having a specific technical reference. It is not rooted in the metaphysical although we may certainly be led in that direction, if we so choose. We can even say, and rightly so, that a search for 'historical Jesus' is also rooted in religion by theologians and scholars alike. But theologians are led in a specific direction, fundamentalism and orthrodoxy taking precedence; whereas scholars and historians can deviate into other areas of expertise. They can go outside of biblical canon, for example, and search out the many scrolls and codexes unearthed by archaeologist and then carbon dated by our scientists. They can even go beyond faith, not in any upward divinely inspired spiral; but in a smooth curving, well grounded arc, rather like a rainbow, one end facing east and the other west, the two ends held fast to the earth.
Now, when it comes to laity, (those like me and you, for example), and our attempt to gain a better understanding of Christianity and the 'life of Jesus' we can and should use the tools in front of us. One of those tools is still the Holy Bible. We can read the bible for faith or we can read the bible as an historical document, or, we can do both. The choice is ours. We can always debate whether or not the bible is the word of God or whether it was written by men who were inspired by God. Let us at least agree, that whether or not the bible is a religious document or an historical document, it does contain information that is useful to us and can also be a source of inspiration. Let us also agree, that as laity, we really have more freedom than either theologian, or scholar, or historian, or archaelogist, in that we can access every segment of acedemia and combine, absorb, and yes interpret as we will; not only because of the modern era of book publishing and the internet, but merely by virtue of the fact that we have free will. And so, the old adage still holds true: 'For those that can see, seeing let them see; and for those that can hear, hearing let them hear'... what we will!
In this manner, the great mystery, that story without an ending becomes our story; and it is up to each and every one of us to find its ending. In a way, we could say that each and every one of us is in the process of writing that story with each and every breath that we take. To me, that's why it's so important for us to seek out our own answers and to interpret as we will rather than to rely upon others to do it for us. You see---In our search we are really searching for our 'truth'... our way... because truth be told---God has many faces. God has many names!