01 Nov Spirituality That Counts
It is hard to see when you are in the middle of it, but I am convinced that we are experiencing a profound shift in human consciousness. We are changing and our world is changing whether we want it to or not. Our cultural divides have never been greater within our lifetimes, and the growing tensions among us portends a breakthrough into something very different. A way of being human is ending and a new way is emerging. Our culture wars are simply a battle for position and power in the emerging reality. This is to be expected no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.
This global pandemic is moving people to re-evaluate their lives and how we do them. Of course, the job market has been impacted, and people disagree about how a new economic system should look. It is not surprising that as we all intuit the coming changes and see the signs of their arrival, that people would become ever more defensive of their perspective and less tolerant of others. When we can breathe and become curious about our circumstances, then we can begin to see that collectively we are about to crash. After the crash and after attempts to heal and repair the collective damage take place, then the new reality will begin to solidify.
Superficially, churches have been changed by virtual platforms for worship and meetings. More profoundly, churches, like every other human institution will have to adapt to the new and to reinvent itself. Profound change has been going on for some time. Church leadership began to become available to women only sixty years or so ago. Whenever significant change occurs, at first, people try to fit the change into the existing structures and mindsets. Eventually, the structures and mindsets—and heart-sets—begin to change to fit the new reality. The feminine will no longer be defined by the prevailing masculine. Ideally, the feminine and masculine will seek a balance defined by respect and appreciation. It takes some time for this to happen.
It has been said that the most segregated hour of the week in American culture was Sunday morning. Unfortunately, this may still be true. Change, however, in our collective consciousness about race is afoot. America is having a hard time looking at and dealing with its painful racial history, but there is no way to true racial reconciliation without such a collective and soulful grappling. Repentance is central to our Christian tradition. Engaging in repentance, which accepts responsibility for what we have been and moves toward a new mind and a new way, is not a sign of unfaithfulness, but of profound faithfulness to our Christian faith. As Jesus made clear, only those who think that they have no need to repent are the ones who cannot move more fully into God’s kingdom.
My final thought for this article is that for the new reality to arrive in and among us, a new consciousness must emerge. John Philip Newell says that the human ego is necessary for consciousness. At birth, before ego development, “everything is experienced as a sea of undifferentiated oneness.” With the ego, we become aware of differentiations. But we have become stuck. There is the possibility of perception of unity beyond our differentiations. This is the next step in our evolution, the move from undifferentiated oneness, to ego which perceives differentiation, to a consciousness which perceives differentiation and the oneness from which it proceeds and to which it flows.
I believe that the calling of the church is to assist people in this fundamental shift in consciousness which is necessary for the new which is wanting to be born among us. This is slow and demanding work and churches which have the courage to take it on will be of inestimable worth to the planet. See you in church!