I had some thoughts yesterday as I started to listen to an audio file of Cynthia Bourgeault speaking in New Zealand a couple years ago. The file name was taken from a statement she made on the recording: "We are entering a new Axial Age."
Some long for a return to... Something. Some sort of imagined "good old days" of the faith. I'd like to respectfully suggest that those good old days never really existed.
I'm often drawn to my own imagined "Monty Python-esque" scene of Jesus with the disciples:
This is from the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of Mike, one of the more obscure gnostic works. Jesus has just finished speaking to a large crowd, and characteristically he has used metaphor, analogy, and parables to communicate his message.
Jesus is over by the well having a drink. The disciples are huddled together a few yards away, whispering together. Jesus is peering at them suspiciously over his ladle of water.
"You ask him!"
"I'm not going to ask him... You ask him!
"I asked him the last time!"
"We'll who's turn is it?!"
Eventually Thaddeus is more or less pushed out of the huddle, and he cautiously approaches the master.
"What can I do for you Thad?" Under his breath, Jesus adds, "As if I didn't know."
"What was that Jesus?"
"Nothing, nothing. What's up?"
"Well, you know that story you told the crowd?"
"Which one? I told a lot of stories today. I was on a bit of a roll."
"The one abut the Kingdom of Heaven being like the farmer who planted good seed."
"Oh yeah, that's one of my favorites. What about it?"
Jesus sighs. He knows what's coming.
"Well, um... Me and the boys were wondering... We really like that one Jesus, but...
"Um. Whats it mean?"
Even those who were right there didn't really get it.
I'm more convince than ever that we as a species had to/have to grow into the message of Jesus. He was the archetypical human, fully enlightened. He was calling to us from our own future, calling us on to be what we are becoming.
Perhaps we are entering a new Axial Age. The first brought about some revolutionary religious thinking and the creation of several of the world's major religions. Maybe this one will usher in a greater, more integral understanding of those religions.
Including Christianity. I have little remaining interest in a religion about Jesus, and want only to pursue the religion of Jesus.