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WHY ARE WE HERE? "And You're Asking Me Because...?"

June 21, 2017

 WHY ARE WE HERE? Matt Lacker, Jim Gleeson's Ex CIA Director trying to make sense of his life and the packet of notes given to him by a dying, but smiling man, in Azerbaijan two years before, meets a Pastor quoted in the old man's notes. The pastor had left the Christian mega-church he founded when his beliefs grew beyond religion:  

 

     “And you are asking me because…?” 

      “Because, I believe, something caused you to turn away from what you had spent your life building. You voluntarily walked away from the church you pastored…didn’t you?”

     “Well, yes. Like you, I suppose, I became aware that my beliefs were incompatible with the organization I led. Unlike you, I did not realize I had been part of something corrupt—I just realized I was being drawn beyond the teachings of the church—the religion.” I couldn’t in good faith continue to accept Jesus as a kind of material god who was only available to those who prayed to him. There’s more to his teaching than that. Does that make any sense to you, Mr. Lacker?”

      “Maybe. Keep going.”

      “Well, what I mean is…Jesus represented and came to demonstrate the truth of who we are and what God is—the universal truth. He didn’t come to establish a religion for some. I believe what He demonstrated is the truth and it’s available to anyone who believes what He taught. It’s exclusive only in the sense that Jesus taught the only truth that exists—it’s not a religion—it’s the truth. Are you a Christian, Mr. Lacker?”

       Lacker had been listening intently while looking down the river. He turned back to the man standing next to him. “Pastor Mason—“ “Kevin.” “Kevin, I’m not sure what I am. But from the little I know of Christianity this does sound like heresy. I mean that I understand why many Christians would consider it heresy. From what I have learned over the last three years I know this: I am beginning to see that there is truth in this world and it wants to be found…and it does seem to be available to anyone who seeks it.” Pastor Mason responded. “John 8:32—Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” “Kevin, what did you find out that changed things for you?”

      “Mr. Lacker—“

      “Matt—“

      “Matt, my faith in Christ grew and still grows, deeper, but it left behind the limited religious belief that the man, Jesus—the worldly manifestation of the Christ—somehow came to establish the Christian religion. Christ presented himself to the physical world as the man, Jesus, to demonstrate the reality that we are in truth, spirit. Sin is the mistaken belief that we are separate from God. The church has grown over the millennia to view the man Jesus as God to be worshiped from a material perspective. I don’t believe that is what Jesus and scripture originally taught. Genesis chapter one says that we were created in God’s image. What does that really mean? It means we are not material beings at all. John 4:24—God is spirit. Those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Matthew 10:28—Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul…”

      “Exactly! Hokob said almost the same thing. He was not afraid of dying and he didn’t blame those that beat him to death.”

      “John 6:35—It is spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. See? We have to ask as we read the Bible, ‘what does that really mean?’ We can’t just gloss over it and accept it only as religious jargon. It is the truth. The spirit is the truth; the flesh is not. This changes everything. My congregation began to regard me as some kind of heretic, ‘assigning meanings which aren’t there.’ I had to leave, but I am at total peace with what I now understand.”

      “But, Kevin, what does it mean…the flesh is not the truth? Our eyes, our ears, our memories—do they lie?”

      “It’s hard for us to believe or understand. There is a true, documented event that took place at Oxford over a hundred years ago. A group of researchers was given permission to perform an experiment on a felon who had been sentenced to death. They told him they were his executioners. They bound him, blindfolded him and convinced him they had inserted a large needle in a vein in his arm. They hadn’t but they attached a tube with a continuous dripping liquid into a pan at his feet. Forty-five minutes later he died.”

      “I don’t understand-- from what?” “The man died of the belief that he was dying. He hadn’t been physically hurt in any way. Matt, we both know the world runs on lies. I know you know it—I read your book. From a Christian point of view, it means that sin is not ‘being naughty’—sin is any attachment to the material world. Accepting the material world as even real is sin. The word ‘sin’ from the original Greek meant ‘to miss the mark.’ The church has changed what it originally meant-- ‘to lose track of our spiritual reality’ into just ‘behaving badly.’ This ‘church’ –- the institutional church—not Christ’s ‘church of believers’--- also changed the meaning of what the Christ and the disciples called ‘repentance.’ They changed the original word in the Greek—‘metanoia,’ which means to ‘change the mind’ to a word from which we get repentance or to ‘feel sorry for our sins,’ totally changing the good news of the gospel into…bad news.”

      “But, Kevin, what are we supposed to do with that? How is it going to change our behavior and our experience in life? In your words—‘what does it really mean?’”

      “It means Christ’s message was really that God’s Kingdom is still all around us—we just have to shift our minds away from our false material senses to the awareness of the truth of our spiritual being. Many call it ‘slaying the old man.’ “Matt, you know why they burnt people at the stake for being witches? They did it because they were afraid of people who seemed to understand something they couldn’t. If you or I went back in time to the sixteen hundreds or earlier and started trying to tell them about the future we know, they would burn us at the stake, right? Jesus told people that they couldn’t believe what their eyes and ears were telling them; they didn’t have to be sick; they didn’t have to die. If we are spirit, we are eternal. What we are experiencing is temporary amnesia. If we know that, then we can’t die. We just lose the body—the consciousness of the body. This is salvation.

      Christ demonstrated spiritual truth thousands of times; healing the sick, bringing the dead back to life, producing infinite supply-- every day for three years. They crucified him for it just as he said they would— he rose from the dead, proving the ultimate truth. You can’t tell people about it. You can only live it. The Bible says: ‘You shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But he that endureth until the end shall be saved,’ You can live in the Spirit, and when you do, ‘all things are possible;’ ‘take no thought for your (physical) life, what you shall eat, what you shall drink, nor yet for your body.’ Do you see? The truth is right there in the Bible, but our religion keeps us tied to a physical separation from who we really are. We have to learn to rise above that belief.

      “The modern Christian church has limited itself and its teachings to a materialistic faith. In my opinion the religiosity, the history of hypocrisy of the church and the lack of spiritual demonstration, are all keeping millions from even considering belief in God.”                             

      Lacker picked up the recorder and pressed stop. “Thank you, Kevin. You have been a great help. I am trying to understand something that never entered my mind for the first forty-three years of my existence.”

      “I’d love a copy of your recording, if you don’t mind.”

      “Surely, I’ll email you the file when I can.”

      “It is an interesting time to be alive, isn’t it,” offered the pastor. “There are people all over the globe beginning to do what you and I have done—walk away from our deeply ingrained lives because the truth was pulling at us. Thank you for calling me. Good luck in your search, Matt. Oh, and let me know if you find the origin of that quote.”

      “Hang in there, Kevin. It was a brave thing to follow the truth away from the life you had built. Perhaps the truth will set us free—both of us—all of us.”

       Lacker stood and took another long look to the south, down the valley below Fort Ticonderoga. “I think I’ll walk around the ramparts on the way back to the car. Care to join me?”

    

        Edited from pages 146-153, THE MATTER of LIFE -- Second in Jim Gleeson Matt Lacker trilogy   

                                                    available at Amazon and on Kindle

   

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