10 May Where is the “Kingdom?”
Buddhism looks to be a vehicle. Christianity is an argument. I don’t find the argument of Christianity very helpful. I find the vehicle of Buddhism and psychology much more helpful. Yet I am still drawn at times to the religion of my childhood. I have more and more in recent months allowed their to be a God in my life. Not sure who that is intellectually but I do have a sense of he/she in my internal experience.
I find Christian writing and Christian theology to be stale. The message that Jesus brought to earth, if true, is amazing and could never be stale, but Christians over the centuries have made it stale. Buddhism seems to be able to transform into contemporaneity more easily. The Buddha basically said, “don’t follow anyone, see reality for yourself.” There is an aspect of Buddhism that I love and that is its more organic and pure look at the human experience. Christianity on the other hand has become so focused on theology and right belief that its relevance is lost on our everyday lives.
I find myself drawn to more existential and mystical Christianity, but even sometimes that can be about right belief. I don’t find that Christians who help to make the Gospel relevant do a good job. I find that it is always an old package being re-gifted. Wouldn’t the power of Jesus message be able to stay fresh? And why did Jesus come to earth anyway? To tell us what to believe or to tell us how to live? I’m not sure. Maybe he addressed both.
But it is our everyday lives that matter to an authentic spiritual life. We weren’t made to just go to heaven. If that was the case, we would be there and not here. There is a pragmatic element also missing from some Christian theology and this is why it is easy to leave Church on Sunday and forget the sermon until next week. Christian interpretation of the Bible can often be stuck in the same pat answers to life’s problems: “give it up to God.” That sort of works, but at the same time, God created us with brains and a sense of responsibility.
Buddhism and other viewpoints such as existentialism do a better job of trying to break down the human experience in the now. Always focusing on heaven is a form of spiritual bypassing that some Christians miss. Where is the Kingdom of God? Is it in a metaphysical heaven, or is it already a possibility on earth? What was Jesus really coming to say? What did he really come to do? Sometimes I wonder if the Buddha understood Jesus’ message more than anyone else.