Christ's "Religion" - The Spiritual Practice of Jesus

Inner Guide, Personal Revelation, a Growing Feeling of Self as Inclusive of Far More Than Body and Ego

Primal Spirituality: The Inner Authority deals with major trends in reverence exactly counter to evangelical Christianity. While all the press focuses on the fundamentalist, evangelical movement in America, a worldwide movement -- in many ways exactly the opposite of the fundamentalist movement -- continues to gather strength quietly.  Strangely it entails the kind of spirituality that Christ Himself practiced -  an Inner Guide, private revelation and a tacit sense of an expanding identity inclusive of far more than body and ego. People say they are spiritual, not religious, and have little to do with external authorities whether written, dogmatic, or ritualistic/ priestly/ church-related.
 
There's no telling how large this movement is because it is all about a personal connection with the Divine and with an Inner Guide as the Highest Authority.  These of course do not lend themselves to observation:  There are no churches -- everything happens inside the private experiences of individuals; there are no holy books, no Bibles lying around -- the Divine is thought of as equivalent to soul or that there is a spark of the Divine within us all and based on this, people look to that direct link with a personal Higher Power and Guide rather than seeking it in words written in books or spoken by others; and there are no rituals to be observed either -- since this reverence is unique to each individual; there can be no common practices.
 
While in Medieval Times such a reverence -- not controllable by outside authority of either Church or State -- would get you certainly sent up before the Inquisition, and most likely burned at the stake, times have changed. It is astonishing to recall that historically the beginnings of the legitimacy of this kind of spirituality in sociallly sanctioned religion began when Martin Luther proclaimed the idea of a personal relation with God in the famous tenets that he nailed to the church's door. This led to the Protestant Reformation, which allowed for individual interpretation of scripture to some extent, but in spawning a multitude of established structures -- religions, each modeling themselves somewhat along the lines of the structure they opposed -- the Catholic Church -- they all fell to the same tendency to dogma, to collective beliefs, to written orthodoxy and thus the possibility of blasphemy.
 
Though Christ had overthrown the Church of his day and proclaimed a personal relation with God; hundreds of years later, the best they could do was rebel against the all-encompassing authority of the Catholic Church with new, smaller orthodoxies, each also claiming all-encompassing authority, and never truly allowing the personal relation with the Divine that some espoused. In a sense they could not do this at that time because that would have meant, really, no need for a religion or a church. And in an age when the only people in that category were being called witches or heretics and being killed; in an age when people were mere pawns of their monarchs and their religions -- whose intentions were the same - that of power and wealth through the subjagation of peoples -- and not the spiritual welfare, let alone the physical, moral, or economic welfare, of their subjects, Christ's spirituality would have gotten Him killed all over again if He'd arrived on the scene.
 
But times have changed.  Now, with the freedom to not have any religion and the established churches experiencing a relentless dwindling of membership over the last half century with no evidence of that changing, the churches can be seen falling all over themselves for position relative to the new hotspots of spiritual activity -- 12-step programs, for example -- rather than condemning them.  Indeed, the 12-step programs -- Alcoholics Anonymous and all of its cousins -- are good examples of this phenomenon I'm calling primal spirituality.  Integral to their programs is the belief in a "Higher Power" -- to be defined in any way, check that - any way, that is meaningful to the person. That is virtually a definition of primal spirituality. The person becomes their own church council determining what will be included and what will not in their personal theology. The organized religions are happy to have a new pool of believers to seek to win over. It is astonishing to remember that not too long ago in history these same people would have been sought out for murder not membership by these same organized religions.
 
While some of those who practice "spirituality, not religion" do end up joining up with one of the organized faiths -- often for social or fellowship or family reasons -- there remains this invisible growing population who correctly see the concretization, regimentation, and indoctrination of belief as a snuffing out of actual spiritual experience rather than a facilitation of it, just like Jesus once did. Still, since they will not show up on any religious radar screens, one might question that these people and this phenomenon exists.  But all one has to do is look at any surveys or membership forms which have a slot for religion, and one will notice a new category in existence. It used to be the major religions, agnostic, atheistic, or Other.  Nowadays there is a category: "spiritual, not religious."  And the number of people who claim that as their stance is rising phenomenonally, though its not being noticed; and there are reasons for both those who practice it and for the media to stay mum about it.
 
This site, however, will speak to those people who espouse it and will deal with its main characteristics, including the extremely provocative aspects of it; and perhaps most important of all, we will look at what its increasing, silent spread will eventually mean for us all, for the world.