Mixing and matching spiritual doctrines and does it really serve us in the end?

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This was my coffee area.  I went through a period of being really, really into Manifesting.  I watched hours of Esther’s teachings of Abraham, studied The Law of Attraction, watched The Secret over and over.  I collected magazines and created dream boards and decorated a box and filled it with wishes and wants, calling it my dream box.

Did I get any of my wishes and wants?  Some, yes, however, not necessarily how or what I wanted in the exact form of my long list of desires.

For example; I really wanted a home for my family and I made a very long list for this home.  Oh, it was filled with perfection and swelling with all we could ever want.  Fabulous town and neighborhood, big home with huge yard, and on and on.  What we did get was a small 1940’s home with a nice yard that needs work and a quiet neighborhood with a questionable home down the street.  Our home to be (still in the purchasing and inspection phase) is a charmer in need of some major cosmetic improvements, new plumbing, insulation, and probably lead paint removal.  I had dreamt of paying with cash.  That did not happen.  But it was extremely inexpensive and that was a huge gift and blessing in today’s market.

I ask for big success with my books.  What I got was a sale of 5 to 16 books a day at .99 cents, meaning I get .35 cents royalties.  I have a nice salary to purchase coffee and ebook covers from a cover designer (from his discount and premade cover collection).  I’m thinking that within a year I might have enough for a new washing machine.

I ask for great health and happiness for my family and for my husband’s business to do well.  That is all happening and all because of hard work, improvements in diet and life quality and research on both accounts.

There are other things I ask for that didn’t happen…or haven’t happened yet. Then there were healings and reunions I hadn’t ask for or expected that did happen.  Mini miracles have occurred.  So, is this me and my ability to co-create with God or just plain old manifesting with positive thinking?  Did I draw this into my life or was God blessing me?

The more I try to manifest my dreams, the more I come back to that old saying, “there is your plan and then there is God’s plan.”

How much control do we really have?  There is so much New Thought out there.  New spiritual practices and “assemble your very own Jesus” type action going on.  It seems that you can just mix and match whatever works for you.  A little Buddhism mixed with parts of Christianity, mixed with Manifesting, a kind Jesus that accepts everything you do.  But is this really working?  Is this the Truth we are seeking?

Since then I have been led to further Christian studies.  I have been a seeker of Truth and explorer of religious and spiritual doctrines for over a decade and I always come back to that Bible and trying to get through it and understand it.

God is all things, that I believe.  Look at this amazing world.  I can’t buy into the Big Bang theory.  Look how complex it all is!  More and more scientist are turning to God as they delve deeper into science.  Why?  Because the more you go into science the more it’s realized just how incredible this Universe and all its beginnings are.  They can’t explain it besides Intelligent Design.  The whole Darwin theory and all the 4 models for evolution were debunked ages ago.

Right now I’m reading The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel.  If you are struggling with your faith I would seriously read his work.  He calls in some of the most brilliant and well-respected scholars, scientist, and professors to really get to the bottom of Christianity, the Bible, and who Jesus really was and is.  I have to say that I’m more convinced with each book.  I’ll remind you that Lee Strobel was a hardcore atheist when he began his research.  By the time he was 2 years in he was changed by the evidence.  He went into the work to unravel this whole idea and came out a Christian.

I just read The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel also.  I like his research so much that I have a stack of his other books next to me waiting to be devoured.  Today I was reading a chapter in the exploration of this New Age of mixing and matching beliefs, religious and spiritual doctrines and, basically, people’s love of making up their own ideas of Jesus and Gods world.   I have been one of those people for years.

I have the Bible on my bookshelf, a big gold Buddha on my shelf, a Virgin Mary candle in the kitchen, a Hindu Goddess picture on the wall, prayer beads and a rosary hanging from my rearview mirror.  I have studied Taoism somewhat, sort of looked into Buddhism, took a peek at other ideas and religions.  But the one idea that I always come back to and really explore is Christianity.  Why am I attracted to it?  I have attended the Center for Spiritual Living and loved it.  I tried CrossRoads Christian, loved it, Calvary Church, liked it but found it depressing.  Christian Churches can be depressing, the Old Testament can be brutal.  So, I, like many others, created my on mix and match doctrines.  I chose what was fun and colorful and what I wanted to believe.  I chose sparkle and rainbows.

But this can get confusing and lonely.  It also doesn’t always work for our best interest and those around us.  It can be a very creative way of becoming self-centered and selfish, of making up ways to excuse poor behavior and bad habits.  These New Age ways of being aren’t always so caring and community oriented.

I found it perfectly said in The Case for the Real Jesus as said by Paul Copan, PH.D.;

“Given a choice, we tend to select beliefs that elevate who we are, that diminishes personal responsibly, that give us greater freedom to call ‘good’ what the scriptures call ‘sin’, and that put ourselves in charge of our own destiny, rather than saying God, as the psalmist did, ‘My times are in your hands.’ We want to create our own guidelines that don’t put any demands on us.”

And, “We all know deep down that we’re flawed and imperfect.  What kind of god would that make us? We flatter ourselves when we try to put ourselves in the place of God rather than acknowledge that we are God’s creation and that we need to give God his rightful place. We don’t need to be more self-centered than we are;  we need to be more God-centered. We can’t find the real Jesus by thinking that we’re his equal.”

I remember living in Marin county for years and being so amazed at all the Spiritual movements taking place.  People followed whatever was trendy for the time.  They would throw themselves into it, watch Oprah and spout words of ‘being our authentic selves’ and ‘having our pictures’, ‘rebirthing’, ‘taking care of me’…and on and on.  Whatever was the ‘in thing’.  Basically, it always seemed to come down to a sort of selfish and pleasure-focused idea that made whatever it was the person wanted to do okay.  Smoking too much pot, having sexual experiences with strangers, not helping the old lady down the street…it was all either a spiritual experience or about taking care of ‘self’.  It was about someone else’s karma or agreements so it made it easier for us to turn our head and look the other way.  Why help?  It’s that person’s karma or agreements they need to work through right?

I have used it myself.  If I don’t want to get involved or distance myself by saying, “well, they must need to learn this in this lifetime.”

Christianity can be distorted as well.  In the end, we are human, weak, and flawed.  We are just trying to find peace and our way back home.  I don’t know how I feel about the other religions.  I do love the pure parts of Christianity; help and serve your fellow brothers and sisters, do unto your neighbor as you would have done onto you…

I like that Christian churches set up missions to feed and care for the poor and less fortunate.  In parts of India, many of the poor go uncared for because there is a strong belief in karma and that if you help these starving and poor people you may damage your own karma.  I can’t back something like that.  I can get behind a belief that we should feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the orphans and widows.

What I love about Christianity in its most loving form is this;  one time I was staying with a friend who’s family belonged to a Crossroads Christian Church.  There was a fellow member on hard times.  He had to move out of his house that day and it was a mess.  We had gone over there to help but it was so overwhelming.  Just as it seemed like more than we could do, a few cars drove up filled with men from the church.  They had all shown up on a Saturday to help get this guy packed up.  It didn’t matter if this man wasn’t very frequent in his church appearances or that he may have gotten himself into this situation due to not so smart choices.  A person needed help and there was a community that showed up.

The Amish are like this, so are the Jehovah’s and Mormons.  No matter how we feel about these groups and their practices of worship, they have community and they take very good care of their people and they reach out to others in hopes of helping them too.  I don’t see this with all practices.  I see and hear a lot of ‘me’ and ‘I’ and ‘self’.  What a lonely world it is and that makes it all the lonelier.

I truly believe that Jesus wasn’t making a list of rules.  He was showing us the way to the Light.  That if we follow the Truth we are led into the Life and Light.  A moral gauge is in all our hearts and we all know what is wrong and what is right.

So, what is my message or what am I trying to say this morning?  I don’t know, I’ve got so many thoughts I’m overwhelmed.  I’m just thinking about all this New Age and New Thought stuff as it pertains to Christ and God.  I’m thinking about what makes a good life for us individually and us as a collective.  Many spiritual practices do have wonderful ideas and rituals.  I embrace all kinds of ideas.  But there is a point where you have to ask yourself, “how much of this is really working for me and joins me to my community?”

I am believing more and more each day that all the answers are right there in the Bible.  Will we understand all of it?  Never.  Will we ever figure out where the dinosaurs came in? No.  Can you be a scientist and a Christian?  Absolutely.  Will we figure out all of life after we read the Bible and bring Jesus into our hearts? No, never.  All this was a brilliant design created by Divine Intelligence.  We will never be that smart.

However, the Way to the Light and true Life is right there in the New Testament.  It’s solid and has worked for thousands of years.  It also was created by the same Divine Intelligence that created this vast and miraculous world, our conscience, and the Universe.  We may want to try it.

 

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