Today I wanted to do something different. So I went to Unity Church. John Shelby Spong, a retired Epicopal bishop, preached on the Gospel of John.
Basically, he said, the gospel was made up. He said – how can you trust something written three generations after a person lived? The John Gospel, he said, was written 70 years after Jesus’ crucifixion.
The bishop told the story of the woman at the well. She was not judged. The conversation at the well was a metaphor for peaceful coexistence. (This is my interpretation of the sermon). Although the two at the well had different faiths, they shared the same god. And god does not belong to any one faith. The sermon inspired me to love without judging.
Spong concluded the sermon,
“It’s not that Christianity has failed, it’s that it hasn’t been tried yet.” I agree – we have not tried a radical love of neighbor and a deep tolerance for difference.
As I rode my bike from the church at Symphony Space along Broadway, I thought, yes, but if we are all sisters and brothers, why are we so divided? This message of brotherhood has not been the prevailing message of mainstream Christianity.
I went to Unity because I didn’t want to hear about the historical Jesus. I needed a spiritual boost – a personal empowerment. I am in a transitional mode (will let you know more as it develops!) and I wanted something personal, inspirational, and self help-y.
The last time I was at Unity, pastor Paul Tenaglia offered these affirmations:
“God has the right and perfect well-paying work as a New York artist for me.”
“I believe I have a natural abundance;
prosperity is mine;
I have unlimited success in my creativity.”
“Divine love blesses and increases in me.”
I liked those affirmations – and today’s sermon too. God is there – in love for self and neighbor.
Then, I went and bought a Christmas tree on Broadway.