When asked I don't say I am a Christian, because I have a certain idea in my head of what it means to be a Christian, and I don't even try to live by that ideal. I haven't sold my possessions, left my family and gone off to spread the word among the unbelievers. I haven't offered people who have tried to hurt me other ways of doing that, nor yet did I run after the people who stole my possessions from our car and offer them the things they missed. I don't spend my days in service to others.
I appreciate that we don't all have the same idea when you mention the word Christian. Some people see it as dependent on certain rituals, or attendance at particular churches, or a combination of ritual and attendance. Some would say that you can't be a Christian unless you have been born again and received a baptism.
The discussion about what it means to be Christian came to mind because I read a quote from James Beverley, Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale
Seminary in Toronto, who says that Eckhart Tolle's worldview "is at odds with
central Christian convictions" and that "Tolle denies the core of
Christianity by claiming there is no ultimate distinction between humans
and God and Jesus".
When I was a child I went to a Church of England Primary School and remember distinctly the irritation I felt when the Vicar or Curate would emphasise that Jesus was the son of God. I knew, always knew that we were all sons and daughters of God. I have come to know that we are all part of God, as God is part of us. And so I also do not see the division between Jesus, God, humans... it's all part of the oneness of All. And All are one. That division, is illusory, part of the confusion which arises from our place in the world of matter and of time.
We are facets of the same thing, part of God's attempt to know himself, and the clues are all there in the words which are reported from Jesus. He told us that when we did things for other people, we were doing them for him, or for God. He told us that the Kingdom of Heaven was within. He told us to love each other as we love ourselves.
The people who really deny the core of Christianity defend wars, starving children, placing a higher value on my life than the life of a child in Africa, or India. Spend money on bombs and armaments instead of food and drugs and safe water for our brothers and sisters in God. We live and let them die. The moment our governments and leaders stop denying the Christianity they purport to support, will be the end of War. The end of hunger. The end of treating people from other cultures or religions as though they matter less than we do.
We live in an abandant and beautiful world, with enough for everyone if we aren't greedy for more than our fair share, and yet there has never been time when things have worked that way. And we're the ones keeping it from working. If more of us were aware of the oneness of all - the essential lack of difference between me, you, that child dying from starvation and this fat capitalist... then maybe the world would begin to change. When we let go of our ambitions to be rich and famous, to shine beyond our small lives in ordinary towns... when we realise that it is those ambitions that keep others in slavery to produce the things we want... then we may gain the world.