Friday, February 25, 2011


The following is the third and final part of an excerpt from The Christ Is Not A Person The Evolution of Consciousness And The Destiny of Man by J.C. Tefft:

The flowering of conscious awareness is the story of the evolution of Consciousness bearing fruit, ‘some an hundred, some sixty, some thirty fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear…. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.’ The death of the old allows for the birth of the new, which is a birth ‘not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of [the will of ] God.’ ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ ‘He that findeth his Life shall lose [his life in self ]: and he that loseth his life [in self ] for [the sake of Christ] shall find it.’ One day ‘ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with … but it shall [only] be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father,’ which is in Heaven. ‘Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

As one awakens to the living Christ within, one is shown how to approach Life with Love in one’s heart. In this inner state of Awareness, one is no longer fooled by falsehoods created by thought. One’s mind is no longer closed to that which is in the moment, actual and real. Instead of darkness, there is Light. Instead of emotional fervor, there is harmony, Peace, and Joy. Instead of distractions in the parts, there is stillness in the Whole. Instead of hatred and prejudice, there is Compassion and Love.

Considering Creation as a Whole, each of us is a microscopic center of life in which the evolutionary cycle plays out from beginning to end, from formlessness to form, back to formlessness again. Like snowflakes whirling through the winds of time, each of us is a miniature, but unique expression of the Whole. No two of us are exactly alike. Thus each of us has our own unique cross to bear – whatever that may be. Wherever we are, or whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, we all face the same evolutionary test, and we must face it alone. No one else can live our life for us, just as no one else can die for us. We all face life and death alone. This being so, each of us is held personally accountable for awakening to the Spirit of Life and Love within us. No one else is held accountable to this task. We can either think our way through life, or we can live life in a manner that allows for God’s evolutionary work to be done, as in ‘Thy Will be done.

For Love to come into the world, mankind must cease to hate. To hate is to shut down on the coming of Christ. When the urge to hate arises, rather than identifying with it and acting it out, observe it dispassionately. See it for what it is. In the very act of detached observation, Awareness arises in the Now, and in the Light of that Awareness, hate cannot take root. Rather, it withers and dies on the vine. Through detached observation we surrender the self, thus hate is overcome. In its stead, Pure Awareness comes forth. This is the process through which one evolves in Awareness from that of self to that of other than self. As Jesus pointed out, only the ‘pure in heart … shall see God,’ just as the impure in heart shall not. It is up to each of us to discover for ourselves what Jesus truly meant when he declared that we must ‘love others as I have loved you.'

The Evolution of Consciousness Part 1

The Evolution of Consciousness Part 2

"The Christ Is Not A Person The Evolution of Consciousness And The Destiny of Man" by J.C. Tefft can be purchased in ebook form for $6.00 here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The following is second in a three part series excerpted from The Christ Is Not A Person The Evolution of Consciousness And The Destiny of Man by J.C. Tefft:

The fact that the vast majority of ancient people lacked the same level of Awareness as the enlightened sages of their day made the teachings of enlightened beings seem all the more incomprehensible, mysterious, otherworldly, and unclear. To compound the problem, lesser lights, failing to understand the deeper meaning of enlightened teachings, tended to add their own spin to works they later wrote long after the enlightened ones were gone. Thus they corrupted the original, enlightened teachings all the more. Instead of finding Truth in themselves, as all enlightened beings have done, they established doctrines, rituals, and beliefs in an effort to inadequately comprehend what they did not understand. This, in turn, has entrapped others into believing that a system of belief will somehow ‘save’ them from the fires of ‘hell,’ when it does not.

Regardless of these obstacles, as Consciousness has evolved, an evergrowing number of individuals have walked the Earth, and continue to walk the Earth, who have awakened in the Light. The earliest of these continue to be revered, even worshipped beyond the rest, as they were the forerunners of a new race who are even now being resurrected out of self into a new dimension of cosmic reality.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The following is first in a three part series excerpted from "The Christ Is Not A Person The Evolution of Consciousness And The Destiny of Man" By J.C. Tefft:

Considering the evolution of Consciousness, as set forth in ancient scripture, the Biblical story reveals that the evolution of conscious awareness in Man is not about a chosen people who found their ‘Promised Land,’ but about the transformation of certain individuals in Hebrew society from lower to higher levels of conscious awareness in their lifetime, and in generations that followed. First one, then two, then four, then eight, and so on, as ever-greater numbers awakened in the Light. But someone was the first, and that someone, whoever he or she was, was the forerunner to a new race of Man. That someone had awakened to a higher calling, and following that awakening, most likely described it to others, as best he or she could, in conceptual, metaphorical terms in an attempt to communicate at least something of the experience, even though it was not the experience itself.

One problem that the earliest of enlightened beings continuously faced is that others in their societies were either thoroughly unenlightened, or at most, less enlightened than they. This meant that the others did not truly understand what the enlightened ones meant when they spoke of the ending of sorrow, or of denying self, or of realizing Nirvana, or of entering the Kingdom of Heaven, even though some may have sensed something of the Truth of it, albeit in more limited ways.

If we trace the history of conscious awakening in ancient, Biblical lore, we learn first of an individual named Adam (which interpreted means ‘Man’) who metaphorically represents early Man in whom the capacity to think emerged. This is indicated by his ability to ‘name,’ which is to say, to perceive and conceptualize outer things. Much later, another Man, metaphorically referred to as Noah, is said to have lived ‘five hundred years … and was perfect in his generations,’ for he ‘found grace in God’s eyes.’ This is to say, he awakened to a level of Awareness in himself that was above and beyond Adamic Man. After Noah there arose yet another Man, metaphorically referred to as Abraham, the ‘exalted father of many,’ of whom God said He would make ‘nations out of thee’ because Abraham was more consciously Aware than those who had come before.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Here is an alternative concept of satan: satan is not an impish being with a pitchfork, prodding people into a sinful life; rather, satan is the lower nature of all people. It is the self of us that can tempt us to do things that we know are not for our highest good. Satan is the selfish, human, cunning, devious ego of limitation that motivates the human personality to turn away from God. 

It is the part of us that must decrease as our spiritual nature increases. How do we overrule this part of us? "I, when I am lifted up from this earth, will draw all men to myself". We must elevate our desires of human appetite, raise the standards of our moral passions, bear up our spiritual aspirations, and be receptive to the drawing power of Christ. This is to lift up and spiritualize the human self, thus defeating our "satanic" nature.

When this happens, the kingdom of Christlikeness will be established in our hearts, minds, and worlds. This is the objective of true Christianity. Rather than doing battle with an external force that doesn't exist, the overruling of the lower nature by the higher is the ultimate accomplishment.

Excerpted from the book Alternatives by William L. Fischer.   More from this book can be read here.


How easily we allow our old habits and set patterns to dominate us! Even though…they bring us suffering, we accept them with almost fatalistic resignation, for we are so used to giving in to them. We may idealize freedom, but when it comes to our habits, we are completely enslaved.

Still, reflection can slowly bring us wisdom. We can come to see we are falling again and again into fixed repetitive patterns, and begin to long to get out of them. We may, of course, fall back into them, again and again, but slowly we can emerge from them and change. The following poem speaks to us all. It's called "Autobiography in Five Chapters."

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault
It takes forever to find a way out

2) I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out

3) I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

Excerpted from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" which can be downloaded here for free.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The following is adapted from Twelve Lessons in Spirituality by Kevin J. Todeschi:

One of the great ironies of human nature is the fact that the very structure intended to enrich our relationship with God is the one thing which divides us most as a human family. For countless eons, more wars have been fought on religious principles than for any other reason. Even to this day, wars, bloodshed, political battles, and countless examples of our inhumanity to one another are commonplace as one group tries to instill (or enforce) its belief systems, its politics, or the supremacy of its God onto the lives of others.

These conflicts are not simply between various religions but are also within each denomination. There are sects within Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam-within every religion!-many convinced that they are just a little more right than anyone else. Even various churches, temples, and synagogues have found differences with other members of their own sect who have somehow fallen away from the "original" or the "true" faith.

In addition to separating people from one another, these conflicts have also caused individuals to become disillusioned with religion-some even becoming convinced that religion is a waste of time. Too often, the result has been that people have given up their faith in God because of their disappointment in humankind.

Interestingly enough, the Edgar Cayce material states that part of the problem is due to our ignorance of our oneness with one another.

Cayce's information presents a hopeful and inspiring approach to spirituality and religion that inextricably weaves all of humanity together. Rather than focusing upon the form of specific religions or dogmas, the readings instead focus upon the importance of every single soul attempting to manifest an awareness of the living Spirit in the earth.

From Cayce's perspective, our goal is not to simply wait for heaven or to escape the earth; instead, we are challenged to bring an awareness of the Creator into our lives and into our surroundings wherever we may be, right now.

There is a common bond we all share as a collective humanity: There is but one God, and we are all God's children. In order to reawaken that sense of connectedness we share with one another, the readings state that the start of any spiritual journey should begin with the knowledge that the Lord God is One. Regardless of the name we call God or the religion on earth that we feel drawn to, there is but one Creator, one Source, one Law. In fact, perhaps more than anything else, this concept of "oneness" is the underlying philosophy of the Edgar Cayce readings.

This notion of oneness in a world so filled with variety may, at first, seem a difficult concept to comprehend. After all, we are surrounded by a myriad of plants, trees, animals, experiences, and people. Rather than attempting to make all things the same, however, oneness suggests instead that we have the opportunity to view this rich diversity as an example of the multiple ways in which the One Spirit tries to find expression in our lives. Since there is only one God-the source of all that exists-ultimately, the universe must be composed of only one Force.

Oneness as a force implies that all things are interrelated. Every one of us has a connection to one another, the earth, the universe, and to God. This one force is a force for good which is attempting to bring the spirituality of the Creator into the earth. Unfortunately, because of our limited awareness of the power of free will, individuals are able to direct that force into selfish purposes and desires, creating "evil" in the process.

In terms of spirituality, the concept of oneness suggests that God is not limited to expressing through one religion alone. Instead, the Creator manifests in individuals' lives because of their faith and because of their relationship to the spiritual Source, not because of their specific religion. From Cayce's perspective, religion is the form in which individuals attempt to understand the manifestation of this Spirit. God can (and does!) work through every soul in the earth.

The good news is that, in spite of how things may appear in the world today, the readings assert that all of Creation will eventually be brought into an awareness of this oneness and of the Law of Love which it implies. One of our challenges as individuals is to make the world a better place because we have lived in it. Perhaps the best approach to this consciousness is reflected in the Bible when it states that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves.

The entire article can be read here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The Buddhist principle of impermanence teaches that individuals are like flowers that bloom for a brief time and then fade away.  If I understand this principle correctly, all things are said to be in a constant state of change but also of interconnection and unity – a process of flux and flow from one form to another.  For example, moisture in the form of clouds becomes dew, mist, fog, rain, snow, or ice and falls to the earth. There, it becomes ground water and flows along in streams and rivers, sustaining and cleansing all of life. The water becomes a part of all that is nourished by it – every plant, animal, or human.  Finally, the moisture evaporates – becoming cleansed and renewed in the process – and is transformed into clouds to begin the process again. And so it is with all of life.  While the duration of living things seems brief to us, nothing is ever really lost – all things are merely transformed. 

This is in accordance with The First Law of Thermodynamics, which says that energy cannot be created or destroyed, simply transformed from one type to another. Digging deep into Christian teachings, agreement can be found there as well: men wither like the grass of the field and fade in the manner of a flower.  Life is portrayed as a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes from our field of perception (James 4:14).   But we also likewise find the good news that all things are restored, for “the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be…and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9).  And again, “That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been…” (Ecc. 3:15).  Man goes back to dust, and the spirit goes back to God who gave it (Ecc. 12:7). Nothing is ever lost, and what was, will be again.

We, too, like all things, are being transformed, and it does not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2).  We cannot see deeply enough into the nature of reality to discover the transformation that takes place as our present forms fade away.  But we can know that when Christ appears to us – when we come into a level of awareness that enables us to perceive the Christ within us, then we shall be like him.  AND, when that happens, we’ll also be able to see God as he really is: as Love.  With the understanding that God is truly Love, there is no longer any reason to be afraid of death.  Death can be seen for what it is: not a punishment, but as part of the natural process of the renewal of all things.   With this understanding, Rev. 21:4-5 becomes a current reality rather than a dim promise for the distant future: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW…!”  Once the veil that keeps people from seeing the nature of reality is removed, death will be swallowed up in victory, and the Lord will wipe all tears off ALL faces (Isa 25:7-8).  It is only our limited perception that makes us cry…

All must indeed face death, for death is part of the natural process of renewal and happens to all.  But death does lose its sting and brings us sorrow no longer.  Instead, we can rejoice, for the reality is NOTHING IS EVER TRULY LOST - merely changed from one form to another.  That's really good news!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The Penal Substitution theory of atonement is taught in fundamentalist and evangelical circles as 'thus saith the Lord,' and so that was the only atonement theory I was exposed to for much of my Christian life.  Penal Substitution theory argues that Jesus was punished on the cross in the place of sinnersIt is generally recognized that the Penal Substitution theory was not taught in the early church and was conceived by a man named Anselm in 1098.  Both Luther and Calvin adhered to the Penal Substitution theory of atonement, however, and it became the dominate theory in Protestant churches.  But it wasn't until I began having some questions that I discovered this widely popular theory is only one among many atonement theories.  Two other major theories worth mentioning here are the Christus Victor theory and the Moral Example theory.  A summary of the different atonement theories can be read here

Despite the strong emphasis on the cross in the Penal Substitution theory, it seems to me that adherence to this theory has left us with a cross bereft of any life-changing power and resulted in a crossless Christianity.  Oh, there is much talk about Jesus' death on the cross - but little personal application.   Basically,  Christianity as we know it today has largely become an escapist religion:  Jesus died on the cross so I don't have to do the hard work of dying to my selfish nature (a.k.a. the ego, flesh, lower nature, carnal man, the anti-christ within us).  Jesus paid it all, so I don't have to....Jesus did it all, so I don't have to...Jesus lived a holy life, so I don't have to.  As a matter of fact, all I have to do is be sure to get him to cover up anything my selfish nature is guilty of - by gettin' it "under the blood."   And, finally, when God comes back and wrath is poured out on the entire planet - Well, none of it'll touch me, because I'll be raptured out of this world before the bad stuff starts... 

We have forgotten that Jesus called us to take up our cross daily and follow him.   Much benefit can be gained from the wisdom of Thomas Merton on this subject:  

        " is essential to remember that for a Christian "the word of the Cross" is nothing
         theoretical, but a stark and existential experience of union with Christ in His death in
         order to share in His resurrection. To fully "hear" and "receive" the word of the Cross
         means much more than simple assent to the dogmatic proposition that Christ died for
         our sins. It means to be "nailed to the Cross with Christ," so that the ego-self is no
         longer the principle of our deepest actions, which now proceed from Christ living in 

         us.  "I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me" (Gal, 2:19-20; see also Romans 8:5-17).  
         To receive the word of the Cross means the acceptance of a complete self-emptying, a
         Kenosis,  in union with the self-emptying Christ "obedient to death." (Phil. 2:5-11) It is
         essential to true Christianity that this experience of the Cross and of self-emptying be
         central in the life of the Christian so that he may fully receive the Holy Spirit and know
         (again by experience) all the riches of God in and through Christ" (John 14:16-17, 26;
         15:26-27; 16:7-15)"
Zen and the Birds of Appetite (p.55).

In the Moral Example theory, the call is to follow Jesus rather than have Jesus do it all so we don't have to. Jesus was the pattern son, who set an example that we are to follow - he showed us the way, and we are to travel that same way.  Christ suffered for us, leaving an example, that we should follow in his steps. As we do so, we become partakers in his death, burial, and resurrection.  That our 'old man' is crucified with him (Rom. 6:6) is not mere hyperbole, but must take place in like manner.  Although not physical, this death to our selfish nature is not only a very real experience, but a very painful one as well.  

Don Rogers posted an article at his Reflections blog by Steve Jones on this subject which I heartily agree with.  He said:
"Jesus’ death works a change in us so that we give up our sinful, self-absorbed life and walk in his steps. This is salvation, the life of cross-carrying discipleship….The message of the cross should always be coupled with the message of discipleship. We must take up our cross and follow Christ in a life of servanthood and love. It is common for the New Testament authors to speak of the cross, then to speak of our need to “die” to sin and self-centeredness. And that is the crucial point – the grand objective of the crucifixion. It is for our sanctification that Jesus gave his life. Paul’s declaration “I am crucified with Christ” should be ours.” You can read the entire post here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Several years ago, I wrote an article called The Coming of Christ.  In that article, I was barely beginning to question traditional dogma on the second coming of Christ, and my sense of awe and wonder at the historical Jesus who became the Christ has only increased since that time.  So I get excited when I hear wisdom like the following, which was expressed by Richard Rohr during a panel discussion from Evolutionary Christianity on The Heavens and Earth Declare Gods Glory:
"I think the reason that it even comes up [the Jesus question, the Christ question] is that we haven’t distinguished between the two.  Jesus is the man we love and believe in who was born two thousand years ago.  As Colossians, Ephesians, the prologue to the gospel of John make clear, the Christ existed from all eternity.  And that, that just has to be taught.  It seems to me when I speak it in so many groups, it’s an utter surprise.   And because we haven’t made that clear distinction – that Jesus is the human personification of the eternal Christ – we’ve come up with all of these problems that we can’t tie our religion to cosmology, to what’s happening in all of creation.  So for me, the Christ mystery is precisely the unity, the inherent unity between matter and spirit.  And as soon as God decided to manifest God’s self, we have the birth of the Christ.   I mean, we call it the big bang.  Now, that’s my Franciscan understanding of the Cosmic Christ.  And once that’s made clear, which it’s very clear in Scripture, but we didn’t have the eyes to see it, and maybe we didn’t have the world eyes to see it.  But it’s amazing how many of these problems are quietly resolved for us.  And we find that our Christ is not in any way a competitive religion with what is happening in the universe.  That in fact, He has named what is happening in the universe…

The other question is that famous line from John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  You know, it’s asked in so many conferences I speak at, and I come at it different ways, but maybe this will help here.   We have clearly, in the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is constantly presented as inclusive.  Here he is a Jew, but he’s always including the Gentiles, the outsiders, foreigners, prostitutes, drunkards, the tax collectors, the Roman centurion, the Syrophoenician woman.  So it’s very hard to think that this Jesus, who in his human life, is so consistently inclusive, would then create a religion in his name that was exclusive, or exclusionary.  That was never his pattern.  And so it forces us to interpret that line, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” in a different way than “My religion is better than your religion,” or “I have the only true religion.” Now, one way I think it could well mean that is, again, if we understand the Christ as this eternal mystery of the co-existence of matter and spirit – which we call the mystery of the incarnation – that’s Christianity’s trump card.  That’s what differentiates us from the other religions of the world – the belief in incarnation.  So Jesus is saying, as the Christ, which is usually the one speaking in John’s gospel, This way, the way of the Christ, it’s the way of the universe, it’s the truth of the universe, it’s the life of the universe.  Then I think it’s brilliant.  That’s what I would agree with, and I would ask that people from other religions, at a more mature level, could also agree with.  My disappointment is a lot of Christians, nominal Christians, or civil-religion Christians, don’t seem to believe in that.   So they took an inclusive Jesus and made an exclusionary religion out of it."
You can listen to the entire discussion here.  Scroll down to the January 29 panel discussion.