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Sunday, October 14, 2001

"Every act is either an expression of Love or a call for Love."

                   This week I received a flyer for a Christian ministry that contained this statement, "every human in the whole world has to suffer and die because Eve disbelieved God."  The leader of this ministry was Jewish until the "Lord supernaturally convinced me that I was a terrible sinner."  These are his words.  The remainder of the eight page flyer was filled with much of the same.  This man's ministry obviously has support because it takes money to have a web site and to print enough 8-page flyers to put on car windshields all over Beverly Hills and beyond.  His ministry is located in  Arkansas, but he is holding services in Southern California.

            I was not offended by his material as I have read many such pieces of literature before.  What is amazing to me is that his interpretations of Bible statements are no different than those of Elmer Gantry (starring Burt Lancaster, Jean Simmons, Dean Jagger, Shirley Jones, Arthur Kennedy and Patti Page) in the movie of the same name.  Sinclair Lewis' trenchant novel about religion and corruption was based on the religious evangelists and religious values of the 1920's.  The novel was quite extraordinary and truly became an expose of many in evangelism.  The novel and the movie both portrayed the predominant religious values of the era and the "fear based" theology of charlatans disguised as "preachers."

           A few weeks ago I went to the Arrowhead Pond Theatre in Anaheim and witnessed the work of another evangelist.  This one was much more professional and had a far better vocabulary than both Elmer Gantry and the man from Arkansas, but his theology was much too similar to be anything but disturbing.  My question is why have people supported these type of ministries, and still do, that teach a theology of fear and separation from God and each other, with a place called hell, a god called the Devil and the main character a sinner?

         I am certain that the people who follow the evangelists are looking for God. 
For every act is either an expression of Love (God) or a call for Love (God).  We are all looking for the Good that only God Is.  And I am certain that the evangelists are doing the best they are capable of doing.  "We are all doing what we do in the consciousness that we do it in," says Dr. O. C. Smith.  This is the truth.  There is no judgment in this statement, but an understanding that what is being taught by the evangelists is "man's religion" not spiritual understanding.  This is not the religion of Jesus but a man-made invention based on a judgment of rights and wrongs and a false belief in a sinner.

         In truth, there is no sinner, and man is never the sin, therefore man can never be condemned. 
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," spoke the Master Teacher Jesus from the cross.  A person with spiritual understanding never sees a sinner, only misunderstanding.  As we understand the two great commandments to "Love God and Love thy neighbor as thyself," we know that in Truth, to Love God is to Love our neighbor for our neighbor is God made visible.  Can any of us imagine that God could be a sinner?

As we free our neighbor from a judgment of sin, we free ourselves.  The man from Arkansas would have us believe that Eve brought suffering (sin) into the world.  But, what about Adam?  Didn't he also eat of the forbidden fruit?  When we gain spiritual understanding we realize that Adam and Eve are us, in our moments that we don't trust God to give us our highest and greatest Good, and we begin to look to something or someone other than God for our Good.

To support an Elmer Gantry (consciousness) with a message heavy with judgments of sin and a sinner is but another bite out of the forbidden fruit.  Let's understand that every act is either an expression of Love, or a call for Love and let's know that this Love is within each of us, waiting to be released.    


 And So It Is!             

Letting Love use me in Its own Good Way,
Henry Lee Bates