Grok trinity and it clicks. Jesus fixes Adam’s broken template. Jesus as template. Fully human fully divine without mixing or confusion. Sin is “missing the mark”, so you try again to fit the template better and better. What burns away (hell) is a natural consequence of unlike-God bits stuck in you. So this whole thing is medicinal. The more “god-dish” you are, the easier afterlife will be, less and less hell-firish.
But even if you disregard afterlife stuff, the “walking with” thing is template. But you are also yourself. Fully human — all that uniqueness you have, it’s yours and the best of it is amazing. But also, without messing up all the good that shines through you can also improve.
I call myself agnostic because it’s easier. But I was into this once-upon-a-time and I do what I can even now. Just, it’s got to show through you. It’s not a “talk-about” thing ’cause that’s the realm of charlatans. You do or you mess it up and try again and do.
oh i don’t know purgatory stuff. I was raised Methodist, did a lot of church hopping. Now I’m nothing-in-particular but I was Russian Orthodox for a bit and got deep into that for about 6 years.
Essence vs Energies. I mention the afterlife thing because if you think like the Church Fathers did, this wasn’t a “religion”, this was all absolute FACT.
For them, This IS what is and what happens after you die IS what happens after you die. For them It’s a scientific, verifiable, truth.
So, Gregory Palamas did an exposition of Essence vs Energies. Essence is untouchable, energies is. Sun metaphor.
So with sun metaphor, it ‘clicks’. When you die, Church fathers saw an excruciating process. Awful awful stuff if unprepared. It’s like a baby in the womb who heard about the bright noisy world to come and was preparing for it.
Christian theology has a clear bodily resurrection too. Tough one for a lot of folks. Aliens doing DNA resurrection basically. But aliens is a modern analog to angels. All fascinating stuff.
The part I liked most about Orthodox theology was the deification bit. I think that’s when it really clicked.
That line in the beginning, “ye shall be like us” — it all clicks. Literal, actual sanctification of physical matter and energies. Your every step will grow flowers basically if walking in Christ.
Whole thing is very sci-fi. But even if I’m not really a believer, I get it and it’s pretty neat.
If you have a tradition you’re coming from, go with that. I was sort of like Fox Mulder on X-Files: He had a poster “I want to believe” – in his case – in UFOs, but he didn’t really believe. But he really wanted to.
I understood that. I really wanted to believe. Can’t say I ever really did. Too hyper-rational, hard to tap into the feels. But I can work with data.
I figured out the extremes for me. Started Methodist. Thought it needed more candles. Unitarian Universalist was my first real exploration towards the open side of things with some relates like Quaker and such – and that was at 17. By 23, I had a temp job at a Catholic University (Seton Hall, NJ) and was seriously looking at Roman Catholic as I felt I had a kindred vibe with the priests-in-training there.
Looked through the Yellow Pages (they had them in the early 90s), to make sure I didn’t miss any religions (I’d gone through a bunch inbetween), found this thing called “Russian Orthodox”.
Made a few phone calls. Priest’s wife answered. Father was out blessing homes. I was sold. Sorry Catholic. Married priests *and* actual house blessings? That’s awesome.
Anyway, that was my exploration towards the deeper theology side. Stuck around for 6 years, a bit of monastery time.
After that, Osho, then Mr. Science. Now I’m tying it together.
Each of my experiences taught me something that I took with me though. Am I serving Jesus? Maybe. Not for me to say is it? I can’t know for sure.
So that’s why I say to go with your tradition to start. “How can I serve Jesus?” isn’t a question I ever asked myself as that’s not how Methodists in NJ talked or wrote nor how they talked in any of the traditions I investigated in my journey.
So, that tells me that you might come from a tradition where witnessing is important, perhaps going up to a railing and confessing something publically.
Those are experiences I’ve never had and don’t understand really. It’s not a religious tradition I’m familiar with.
That’s just me. I jump from thing to thing. ADHD probably. I’m of the “be yourself” way. Still trying to figure out what “myself” is. Getting closer daily. Authenticity matters to me so I try my best.