The Christ returns again in each generation. This is the meaning in Jesus' declaration, "This generation will not pass away (Before the Christ returns)." And this is what is wrong with theology in every form. It locks things down. It takes the metaphorical and the symbolic and turns them into facts. But they are not facts. Ask a believer why they believe what they believe is so, and they will say they take it on faith. But. They no sooner "take it on faith," than it becomes an absolutely rock-solid, indisputable and actual in every way FACT that everybody has to embrace or go to hell (Which is also a literal FACT that they take on faith). None of it is a fact. God is not a fact. But. God is an experience that cannot be denied. The experience is a fact. Not God. What is experienced is called "God," but it is only evidence of "More Than Meets The Eye." And more than that cannot be said. Don't try. Stop talking. Ditch theology. Open yourself to the experience of being alive. When you open yourself to the experience of being alive, you open yourself to yourself experiencing being alive. Being open to yourself experiencing is to experience yourself, perhaps for the first time. Experiencing yourself experiencing is the path to what has been called "enlightenment," "awakening," "realization..." Once we start seeing what we are looking at, everything is transformed, and "pickles are green." Wow. Once we start seeing what we are looking at, the way is clear for the Christ to return again in each generation. The Christ is the one who sees. The one who is come (Like the Buddha is "The One Thus Come"). The one who is simply who he, who she, is. The one who is sincerely, authentically, themselves. In each moment, moment-by-moment-by-moment. That transforms (you could say redeems) the world. Seeing the world transforms the world. Start seeing what you look at and you will see what I mean. But this is the end of theology and doctrine, catechisms and creeds, because being yourself, as "The One Thus Come," means being you responding to the moment in its unfolding-- not as you are "supposed" to, but as you are called to do by the moment. No one can tell us what to do beforehand. The moment calls us into being in that moment, and the next moment may call us to be the opposite in that moment. Our Being is a spontaneous, improvisational, impromptu, extemporaneous exhibition/incarnation/revelation of ourselves "thus come" in that moment. The freedom to live that way is complete freedom. Which is the meaning behind Jesus' word, "You shall know the truth (of who you are) and the truth shall set you free (to be who you are)." The end of theology is the beginning of life. But you have to know what I mean to understand what I'm talking about.
A life without character development is like a mayonnaise sandwich without the mayonnaise or the bread. Character development is the missing ingredient in life as we know it. Doctor Who lives 200,000 years with no character development. Sounds about right. The Honeymooners had no character development. Alice would still be getting hers one day if the show was still on. Archie Bunker? Same story. All of our stories are the same story. We don't want our characters changing. The Walton's? Still saying goodnight. Nobody grows up ever in our world. Star Wars? How many episodes until no one is killing anyone? Who ever grows up in Star Wars? Yoda? No growth whatsoever. That's because he's perfect, right? Perfect means nothing changes throughout time. Perfect means nothing changes. What is perfect about nothing changing? We live to get everything right and freeze it in place. Or just freeze it in place. So that one day is just like all the others. "There will be no growing up today!" Or ever. But growing up isn't something to achieve-- it is something to be doing forever! We are never Grown Up. We are (to be) always growing up. But Never mind. No one is ever growing up. I was a Presbyterian (USA) minister for 40 years and 6 months. I served 5 congregations. Each one paid me to talk to them about God. And none wanted me to tell them anything they hadn't already heard. You can't make any sense out of this. And you can do it for 40 years and 6 months only by refusing to take it seriously, and telling them something new about God every week. If anything needs changing it is theology! Alcoholics Anonymous is the church of the future, and the best thing it has going for it is No Theology. It's steps need revision, though, and a 13th step added: "After Sobriety What???" With everybody working on that individually for the rest of their life-- growing up some more again day-by-day. But this is for another time. Today's work is getting used to the idea of tomorrow being different from today, and doing what needs to be done today to make it possible for tomorrow to be different-- and not just "another day." Character Development has to be the goal of our life! The goal of our churches! The goal of AA! The goal of politics! The goal of culture and society! Can you imagine? Nothing would be more counter-cultural than growing up. Nothing would be worse for the economy. Nothing would be less likely to happen. Which means it is up to us to make it happen-- by refusing to make Arrested Development the life goal we are told it should be, and spend our life in the service of Character Development By living to see that it happens, determining to make it happen, with liege loyalty and filial devotion to the cause of growing up some more again every day-- and living the pledge into being one day at a time.
We think everyone has to be doing it right for anyone to be able to do it right. That everybody has to be on the same page, serving the same values, working for the same ends, or it's all a waste of time and effort. We waste a lot of time and effort-- our entire life-- trying to get all people to do it like we think it ought to be done. When not even we are doing it like we think it ought to be done. We get all depressed and mournful, woebegone and undone because They aren't doing it right, and we let that keep us from doing it right. We play the "Woe is me! Ain't it awful! Everything is hopeless, useless, pointless, worthless, futile, empty, hollow, senseless and absurd! So, so what? Who cares? Why try? What good would it do? What difference will it make? Why go on with it? I'm just going to lie down and die!" game without end. Which lets us nicely off the hook, and keeps us from having to do anything we don't feel like doing, and who could feel like doing anything in a world as sorry as this one is, with no one giving a wet noodle about any of it? We talk ourselves into doing nothing beyond complaining about how foolish it would be to make an effort, given the nature of our circumstances and the quality of our situation. Let me explain: It is all useless, hopeless, pointless, futile and absurd-- and coming to a very bad end: We all die! And: How we live in the meantime makes all the difference! It is all there is! Ever has been! Ever will be! It matters how we live in each moment! If you are going to believe anything (And everyone is currently believing "Nothing matters so why do anything?"), believe it matters how we live in each moment-- all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding! And pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do what needs to be done right here, right now, moment-by-moment-by-moment, situation-by-situation, day-by-day throughout the time left for living! Everybody does not have to be on the same page. Everybody does not have to be doing it right before anybody can do it right. Do it right. Starting right here right now. If the dishes need washing, wash the dishes-- the way the dishes need to be washed. With the right attitude, in the right frame of mind. And so on to the next thing, all the way to bedtime. And do it again tomorrow. Get your feet under you and on the right track, and start walking. Don't wait for someone else to go first. Because how we live in the meantime makes all the difference! It only takes acting as if it is so to make it so.