Why Jesus Lightworker? : and on biblical inspiration, Christianity, and Religion
The term lightworker is inspired by the Gospel of John. Jesus is the true light (John 1:4). Similarly, we who follow Jesus honor and cultivate this light, the light of truth, joy, love, freedom, peace, and kindred qualities.
(For more on lightworkers, see: Lightworker/Historical Jesus).
The Bible is inspired just as the spirit of God is lodged within numerous vessels: works of art, athletic achievements, stunning gardens, breakthroughs in science. In a different way, the spirit lies within heartbreak, tragedies, and shortcomings–if in a dormant state. If we grant that Jesus Christ is the Word of God, in accord with the New Testament and for most Christians, then it is Jesus Christ who is the true light of the divine. Thus, the human words of scripture all refer to God, and to Jesus Christ, but they are not equivalent with the divine Word. The words of scripture are not, themselves, without certain contradictions (factual and moral) since they are the words of human beings, if inspired ones. (For more on this, see: Word or words?: beyond biblical literalism; Note on biblical inerrancy ; Multiple Not Single). Nevertheless, the Bible may be taken seriously as a container for the sacred and a revelation of God.
Divine inspiration, in a word, is not confined to the pages of a single book.
Not every inspired feat or experience shares the gravitas, prestige, and authoritative ballast of the Bible. We may give priority to the Bible inasmuch as we are disciples of Jesus Christ and insofar as we are curious about God, as revealed through the Bible. The Bible, specifically, is a collection of materials (of diverse genres), all of it rotating around the question: Who is God? Since the book developed and took shape, through layers of composition over a vast period of time, the identity of this biblical God is shaped by the evolution of human consciousness, from an early point (millennia ago), in the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and the “fertile crescent,” to the period of the Roman empire, about two thousand years ago, when Jesus Christ and the Jesus movement was born.
The Bible portrays a figure — God — whom we can relate to and come to know, despite rough edges and baffling discrepancies. The portrait of this God is filtered through the historically evolving perceptions of the biblical authors. This God intervenes, speaks, and interacts with the planet and people throughout history. Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament, is a revelation of this same God. The lively presence of God may reach us through the Bible in various ways.
A vision from the Bible (e.g. the Genesis Creation; or the New Jerusalem) sets hearts aflame to envision ideals and possibilities: e.g., “the lion lies down with the lamb”. A metaphor or parable, which communicates about the kingdom of God or a message about forgiveness or grace, invigorates the spirit in times of despair. A teaching — whether it be a sermon, prophetic speech, saying or riddle – illuminates the mind, so that we may reason with ethical acumen about the mysteries of life and death.
Prayers, psalms, and poetry give voice to assorted devotions.
Jesus Christ / Christianity
Within Christianity, Jesus Lightworker walks a middle way between (so-called) evangelical and mainline (liberal) denominations. Evangelicals preach the living presence of God, which converts and calls us into personal relationship with our Creator.
Liberal Christians (including Catholics) critique the Bible, church history, and the Euro-centric legacy of creeds and dogmas. Liberals generally face squarely the fact that the Bible has been used to legitimate social ills, such as slavery, ecological blight, and all varieties of bigotry.
Like evangelicals, Jesus Lightworker accents the living presence of Christ, who is beyond and prior to the religion of Christianity. This God loves and summons us to freedom. In biblical theology, we do not endorse the doctrine of inerrancy, however–nor do we insist, as many evangelicals do, that a meeting with the living Christ must be prepared for – and celebrated — within standard confessional formulae, viz. “Jesus died for my sins” or “I accept Jesus as my personal savior”.
Like liberal Christians, Jesus Lightworker encourages our evolutionary growth and responsibility. We are responsible for critiquing our religious inheritance, where it is riddled by power politics, exclusionary ideologies, and death-dealing dogmas. Each new generation recovers and rediscovers the light of Christ anew.
Liberal Christians articulate a progressive political agenda, sometimes, which aligns with a (somewhat idealized) version of the Jesus movement. Jesus stands by the poor and oppressed, after all, and so should Christians by advancing the social gospel. We are in solidarity with social goals, while resisting the collapse of spirituality into activism alone. Our souls have another home besides this world. Thus, social improvement is not our only spiritual goal.
Jesus Lightworker, in favoring the mystical Christ, has one foot on the ground and one foot in the beyond. We are mediators between the heavenly and earthly domains.
Radically for some of us, Jesus Lightworker embraces not just polarized standpoints within Christianity, but also divergent beliefs. “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile” (Gal 3:28) can sometimes mean for today: “There is neither Christian nor non-Christian.” For the tag “in Christ,” we may substitute, “in the Spirit” or “in the divine light”.
To be a disciple of Jesus may be compatible with diverse philosophies and even religions, nor are such affiliations absolutely required. (This matter is debatable, since multiple commitments can sometimes clash with allegiance to Jesus Christ). Theology is contextual, situational, not standardized, uniform, or reductionist.
Creative Freedom Not Doctrinal Conformity
Institutional bureaucracies structure much of our lives. We tailor our talents to the strictures of corporate job-descriptions and regulate our conduct by social protocol. Jesus Lightworker bids for an alternative. Doctrinal conformity is a paltry — and eviscerating – substitute for the reality of the Spirit, which moves and evolves dynamically. A cookie-cutter Christianity is flat. Instead of mandates, requiring that we state our faith in unison by prefabricated creeds, we make allowances for individuality.
The Spirit abounds within each of us in surprising and wise ways. Let’s be ourselves, shining the light of who we are.
Whoever loves walks in the light. Let’s radiate the love and light of who we are.