Recently, someone raised a question about the historical Jesus and his relationship to A Course in Miracles. This subject has fascinated me for years; Jesus has held my attention for as long as I can remember. It’s interesting. It’s also important.
Yet as I tried to scribble out an answer, no answer came. Or rather it came but in a sort of disconnected way. It wanted to be a small book or a long poem and wrangling clarity proved too much to handle. Sometimes writing happens that way. You pick up and move on.
But the question itself did not move on and so earlier today, while doing a little video for another site, I just found myself rambling about Jesus and A Course in Miracles. When I was done I thought, what the heck? I’ll post it.
Basically, I am seeing three faces of Jesus: the first is historical. This is the man who walked around lower Palestine teaching and healing and who was subsequently executed by the Romans around Passover. John Crossan (and scholars like him) have gotten pretty close to a sense of who that man was, which requires a delicate and scholastic analysis. I’m grateful to them all.
The second Jesus is the traditional Christian Jesus – the one who emerged from the brief life of the historical man. It is hard sometimes to talk about this Jesus without offending people, and I do not want to hurt or offend anyone. I can say with relative confidence that I think the historical Jesus would by and large be disappointed with the church that emerged in his wake. It’s not that Christianity hasn’t had its moments – it clearly has, and will likely continue to for a time, but this was not in the end a positive or fruitful place for me to be (and it took a while to see that with some clarity).
Finally, there is the Jesus inherent in A Course in Miracles. Again, it’s easy to slip into conflict here. For me, the Jesus that allowed Helen Schucman to scribe such a beautiful, helpful scripture is not a man but a symbol. He is a symbol of love and complete surrender to the Holy Spirit. He is a symbol of our potential to remember perfectly our unity with God. I am not especially interested in past lives that revolve around the historical Jesus, and I am not troubled by whether or not the course is “real” or a scam because of Jesus. For me it works. And for me it offers a Jesus that is helpful in remembering that Heaven is both here and now. I know that others feel differently and I see no other way for it to be, given the breadth and depth of the subject and its importance. Like you – like all of us – I am figuring it out as I go.
Two other quick things: first, I believe that a personal relationship with Jesus is essential to one’s practice of A Course in Miracles. That relationship can take a lot of shapes and sizes and it can evolve over time but it is always deeply personal. Thus, when someone starts talking about Jesus, and what they’re saying doesn’t resonate for you in a helpful way, it’s okay – it’s more than okay – to just turn tail and leave. Certainly there are no hard feelings on my end.
I’m not especially interested in debates about Jesus. Dialogue – in the sense of a gentle, thoughtful and informed exchange of ideas – yes. But debate no. Why bother? The issue isn’t getting someone else to the right place viz. Jesus. The issue is ensuring that we are there. It’s an inside job and only you – and I – can do it.
The second thing is simply to say that these off-the-cuff videos I sometimes do are not intended as anything other than hopefully interesting and maybe helpful chats. I wish that we were sitting together drinking tea. Or that a lot of us were together in a circle sharing about the course. I have an idea someday that will happen but for now, this is what is.
Thus, as I hope is clear in the video, or at least in these quick notes, I am not trying to present myself as an authority on anything (other than, perhaps, the importance of recognizing one is not an authority on anything). I am just a student of A Course in Miracles with a wordy bent and a touch more intensity than is sometimes good for me. I’m glad you’re here, the oddities of electronic discourse notwithstanding. Without you, it wouldn’t mean a thing.