Whenever I prepare to teach Contemplative Christianity at the university level I am quite aware of the challenge I am facing. Many Millennial Generation seekers are, quite frankly, disgusted with the usual depiction of Jesus they are force-fed by our culture. It's the guilt-ridden, judgmental, bigoted, imperialistic, dualistic, I'm-divine-and-you're-not image they are rightfully rebelling against, and the one I am responsible for helping to counteract. For me, Christ is not very often an object of reflection or adoration that I can adequately speak about. Rather, he is a humbly hidden light of love shining from within my heart and highlighting the native beauty of all things, enabling them to glow in all of their glory. Never caring to be acknowledged, this kind of Christ simply listens others into greater awareness of their own sacredness. If God - The Great Mystery, The Beloved, Tunkasila, Dharmakaya, Brahman, Allah, Yahweh - is the vast SKY upon which things are able to appear and glow in all of their innate beauty, then Christ is the warm, GOLDEN HUE of that same sky at sunrise and sunset - one that enables them to reveal their own correspondingly golden, heartful warmth. Perhaps the Buddha is the cool blue hue of that sky, allowing things to reveal their calm, azure-like identity, while Rumi and other Sufi saints are the reddish hue, Indigenous elders are a kind of greenish hue, and so on. In any case, this humble self-emptying Christ is the one I intend to embody, not in order to make people into Christians (for Jesus himself was not a Christian) but rather to enable them to be and to become THEIR OWN TRUE AND SACRED SELF.
Photo: Aspen trees and Marcellina Peak, near Kebler Pass, CO, September 26, 2015
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.