Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 NASB
In our practice of Contemplative Prayer and our pursuit of the Contemplative Life there are helpful things it is good to know and do. They are a great help. They bear further examination.
There are also things it is good to avoid. They are a hindrance. Let us look at some of these things. But before we do, let's look at Jesus.
Jesus, the Man and the Myth
The truth of the Man does not match the modern myth. Jesus did not proclaim a gospel of inclusivity. He tolerated no spiritual syncretism. He did not embrace the sensitivities of His time, or ours. He was one of the least politically correct leaders the world has ever seen! How so?
- He taught that He was the only way to God. He said that anyone who would come any other way was a thief and a robber.
- He condemned and excluded all other forms of spirituality, and did so in the strongest possible terms. He called them demonic.
- He tolerated no immorality of any kind. He did not turn a blind eye to sexual sin, or lack of ethics. He reaffirmed the moral laws in the Old Testament, closed any potential loopholes, and said that you needed to do more than avoid sinful acts. You had to keep sin out of your heart. Strong stuff!
Those who seek for a "Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild" who sat around with a beatific look on His face, talking about self-actualization and developing your spirituality and who accepted everyone all the time no matter what their lifestyle will search in vain. This was the Son of God who cursed barren trees. He made a whip and attacked those he found offensive, and kicked over the tables of the money changers. This was the man who cursed out religious leaders, not with foul language but with strong names that condemned them as snakes in the grass, and disgusting graves with rotting corpses.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. You serpents! You generation of vipers! How can you escape the judgment of hell? Matthew 23:27 - 28, 33
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, and freely give what He had received from His Father . . . yes. Put up with spiritual crap, ethical lapses, and immoral living? Not so much!
I have no choice but to share His perspective. His perspective was that living for God and doing the things that help you to do so will give you abundant life. He taught His disciples to pray, to know the Word of God, to love one another. He mentored them in their walk with God. His perspective was also is that any form of spirituality and any lifestyle outside of a Biblical walk with God are wrong, to be condemned, and to be avoided at all costs.
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild' is a snivelling modern invention, with no warrant in the gospels. ~ George Bernard Shaw