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  • Writer's pictureRob Allaert

On to the shining city on the mountain

Perhaps our religious experience didn't bring the expected liberation. How come? And what's the road towards that shining city on the mountain?

A beautiful painting of a city in the mountains and a sunny sky.

We thought for a long time that the church, the pastor, the priest, the church group, spoke the full truth, until we gradually understood that they too are always seeking and for that very reason they differ from every other denomination. At times we could find that the claims of faith stuck in the theoretical and had very little to do with the compassion of Jesus.

We long thought that the Bible had all the truth on paper, until we came to see that this library of books is an honourable attempt in Jewish thought to explain and direct the life of man in the great creation.

In that book the source of everything and therefore of all goodness is called God and that is nice, but it does not explain the bad behaviour of man. And since only goodness can come from God, the biblical writer had to choose to fork off the evil from God by bringing up the serpent. However, we realise all too well that the serpent is also part of all that God has created. The puzzle of evil is still before us.

In Biblical theology, this de facto produces a good and an evil god. Both are almost equally strong. Even more; the evil one is actually stronger throughout human history. In fact, only in heaven, when the battle here is fully fought, will the good God prove to be the strongest, which basically makes the whole planet Earth project a failure or at least a painful support act.

In the theology of the New Testament - the Christian supplement of the Jewish Bible - the bloody sacrificial service of the temple is extended into the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians have thus accepted that God - even though he is typified by Jesus as a father - remains just as much the blood-demanding deity of the Old Testament, and that by making himself a second person in Jesus Christ, he sacrifices himself to himself, and that this sacrifice may satisfy God so that he may henceforth act as a father to those who believe in this plan of salvation.

In Roman theology it is then necessary to keep repeating that sacrifice in a bloodless way and to eat it through bread and wine in order to partake of eternal life.

In Protestant theology it is necessary to make a mental deed by which you spiritually sign that you accept this sacrificial service of God to God as your salvation through which you can pass, after death, to eternal life.

In both scenarios, redemption is a theological promise that only really takes effect after death. Note that this salvation works little change in life on the planet before you die. Once again we can speak of a weak support act.

From the writings about the Christ we can deduce that he distanced himself from the bloody sacrificial service in the temple, and was himself interested in the 'support act', namely the Kingdom of God here on earth, here and now, in the midst of us, in us. . That explains why he immediately and without delay asks to follow him, to immediately make a difference.

But because the imitation is so drastic and requires a total surrender, the churches have chosen to offer another way, namely that of worship on 'the day of the Lord'.

Since that choice, we have had an endless array of churches with all kinds of worship, theology, creeds and liturgy, which in fact have little to do with the way of Jesus and his call. And so the churches, like Judaism from which they originated, have again become dependent on laws, commandments and prohibitions by which they weigh and judge one another.

Let us, however, take heart and present ourselves with renewed faith to the Christ who believes in us; calls us heroes; calls us salt of the earth, and light of the world. We too carry the potential of the kingdom of God with us and in the footsteps of the Christ it must be possible to get beyond the malaise of the human condition and establish the kingdom of God, the conscious paradise, here on earth. For a shining city on the mountain cannot possibly remain hidden.

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