Let's get a disclaimer out of the way: this piece is not going to feel pleasant for faux Christians who worship flags and Bibles instead of the principles and divinity they represent. This piece is for actual followers of Christ, who recognize in the Life of historical Jesus a potential Love that could save us all. This piece is for those who know a living Christ, within and throughout, and base their lives around coming into closer contact with this infinite grace.
I've been getting some heat for drawing a line between anti-racism and the radical Love of Christ, for pointing out how strongly inspired Jesus was by the plight of oppressed people. For many Christians in the United States, Black Lives Matter is anti-American, which is synonymously anti-Christian. Christianity and Patriotism have been forged into one egoic structure, where they are fixed representations of one's identity, rather than a living ideology which informs the expression of Love and Justice.
Most of us have seen for some time that "identity politics" is a problem. If we are invested in a political party the way we are invested in our own body, we are as terrified of political transformation as we are of our own spiritual awakening. Spirituality is some sense of dying to oneself, to see the inner and outer Life principle pulsating within and throughout the cosmos beyond one's illusion of control. The extent to which we know Life is the extent to which we know Love—the extent to which we know Christ.
Our inability to acknowledge the bodily and psychological oppression of another is the extent to which we ourselves are spiritually oppressed. Spiritual oppression here is the danger of living a spiritual life, for fear of losing safety and security. Going all the way back to Jesus's life, there is great trauma in spiritual persecution. Lord Jesus was publicly murdered by religious people and government officials. This is a trauma in every sense of the word, spiritually as well. Jesus's crucifixion sends the message to the psyche of Christians that in order to follow the life of Christ, one might not just need to die an egoic death, but one might need to physically die as well. In a literal sense, spiritual realization spells bodily persecution for the unexamined psyche. The internalized oppression of Christian people is an inability to pursue a conscious spiritual reality because of an unconscious fear of death.
The Christian-American spiritual complex, which marries spiritual awakening to bodily death, also marries white supremacy to religiosity. The white settlers who conquered these lands and kidnapped indigenous peoples to educate them and indoctrinate them into Christianity; the white slave masters who forced Christianity on their slaves; the white, male founders who spoke of freedom and justice and liberty and the pursuit of happiness while implicitly understanding that these virtues were only for white men—these are but a few examples of how Americanism and Christianity were inextricably tethered to white, patriarchal supremacy and spiritual persecution.
If we can see how Christian-identifying and white-identifying people have internalized spiritual oppression, we might be able to reach hearts and minds that have been so traumatized away from the natural expression of Christ-like Love in each of us. Christianity is not an identity. Christianity is a measurement of one's embodiment of Love. It is no surprise that psychotic patients across the United States are experiencing a simultaneous near-death experience and biblical revelation of Christ consciousness within. The terror faced upon the spiritual emergence of Christ-like Love is an intergenerational trauma response to spiritual realization, an expression of the great chasm of cognitive and spiritual dissonance between bodily safety and spiritual liberation.
Christianity's internalized oppression problem shows up in many ways, too many to list in a blog post. It's the mega church that is more interested in building a congregation than preaching the truth of Jesus. It's the belief that salvation is only available in death. It's the belief that Christ is to be worshiped rather than emulated. It's the inability to see that taking a knee in protest of injustice is to take a knee in honor of all that Christ lived and died for. It's taking on the Roman identity of the time of Jesus as the American identity of today. It's the love for country and family that trumps the confrontation of hate. It's the fixation on the Bible and total disregard for the New Commandment, which says to Love God, your neighbor, and yourself with your entire being of heart, soul, and mind.
In these times of fake news and alternative facts, never forget just how radical Jesus was. He was branded a heretic, a blasphemer, and a lunatic. He said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household."
Here, a sword is not about violence, but the sharp sword of prajna—clear-seeing, which can be greatly disturbing to the ego, disrupting the peace of ignorance. We know Love so clearly, that not even worldly allegiances (one's "household") could obstruct this divine comprehension. The sword of nonviolent discernment is the precision needed to dissect the body to recover original likeness, so only divinity remains. Only then could one pass through the infinite spaciousness of the eye of the needle. The eye becomes as vast and diverse as Life itself.
Christian Americans are like a mind and heart divorced from each other, with orphaned souls desperate for reconciliation. In the United States, we will be doomed to civil and spiritual unrest until so-called "Christians" realize Christ. There is simply too much systemic oppression to overcome without this radical Love. Self-understanding of the pain within one's psyche is where we need to begin. The reason we have such a hard time meeting the pain of another is because we have inhabited a white supremacist society for so long. We are conditioned to divorce our hearts by way of cognitive distortion and rational narcissism.
This is where we are called to awaken. Can we reunite our hearts and minds to save our souls, while staying aligned in heaven and earth? Can we become fully human? Perhaps faith is necessary to undertake such a transformation—real faith, which moves beyond empty sentiments and hollow prayers. We need a faith that can move the frozen mountains of white supremacy, in our own psyches and that of the collective. This is where Christian souls are married to Black lives. This is where pro-Love is married to anti-oppression. This is where we find our personal and collective salvation. Anything short is a sin, which is to miss the mark of Love, of Christ. Stay true, aiming for the center of the cross, where humanity and divinity intersect—where we come to know the Son of Man and the Son of God as one.