We are exploring through Lent and beyond, a realistic understanding of God and our Christian roots as understood in the light of the 21st. century knowledge. We understand that God is the "Ground of Our Being". God's first revelation is the creation of the Universe. All other things flow from this. God created us in love and we are love - holding the Divine Spark of God within us all. We are also joined in community with the rest of the planet-including all life both animal and vegetative on the land, in the air and in the sea.
How do we understand Jesus in 2018? This may be for us a troubling question. Traditionally, for the last 1700 years we have defined Jesus as "Incarnation". This means: the divine nature of the Jesus was united but not mixed with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, Who was both "truly God and truly man". This we now know to be a theology based in Gnosticism as a result of the fairly recent discoveries of 1946. Jesus having two distinct natures. This theology developed about the year 400 greatly influenced by the need to please the Roman Cesar in order to get state sponsorship but it was not held by early Christians.
Today we recognize that Jesus was a human like us who had the full nature of God's love in him, a nature that we all have. Unlike us, Jesus turned his full attention to God and taught us through example and lessons how to fully live out the Divinity of God within-being faithful to God even to the Cross and Death!
The early church immediately after Jesus' death actually recognized and believed this. There is no incarnational theology in Paul's true writings which were written before the fall of the Temple and in the Gospel of Mark written roughly at the same time. The idea of incarnation as well as miracles arose after the fall of the Temple in 70AD. The people after the Temple fall felt that God had abandoned them and Jesus replaced the Temple in Christian rationalized thought. Early people were attempting to understand the loss of the Temple and the clear recognition of more than a prophet in Jesus' life and death that moved them to follow Jesus and take action. This theological development of thought based in need was written down in the later Gospels. We need always remember that scriptures were written by humans like us who had needs to understand and survive. They were inspired Spiritually centered people of their time and understanding.
Am I wrong to hold my childhood beliefs? No, we are always going to lapse into the old paradigm of thinking. We have been nurtured in it all these years. However, modern people including younger family members who have no long time church experience cannot understand our history nor our received paradigm.
Contemporary people can understand the idea of God mystically within us who inspires persons to live a life of wisdom, service and action which inspires others to greatness long after their death. Such people are alive for us as we serve God now. The Divine Spark of the Universe never dies and always holds us in love. Jesus and others inspired by Jesus and modelled after his life are living for us now in mystical ways.