I Remember Now ~ Being Saved From Being Saved ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 12
Pastor Tim, my brother-in-law goes to a conservative Evangelical Church and tells me I need to be “saved”…
The whole notion of salvation implies two things:
1. That you have or will be judged
After I retired from being a Lutheran pastor in 2017 we went to Hawaii. One day we visited Pearl Harbor, and as I looked down the long line waiting to get in, I saw a young man with a van parked by the line of people. On the side of the van was a sign for all to see:
God is love. Jesus is love. Love is coming to judge.
To be honest, I looked at it for some time and just let out a belly laugh! I wasn’t laughing at the young man. I assumed (in his own mind) he meant well and was just passing along what he was given. I laughed because the notion of love judging is so impossible. God, the One, All That Is, is pure, perfect, infinite, and unconditional love. It is a love that is complete in itself, and is incapable of judgement.
This love also has no need to judge. It can only be true to its nature, which is Love. To judge implies a need, a sense of lacking something. God needs to see something that God is not seeing in us, and God is out of control angry, disappointed and helpless to do anything but judge and condemn. What makes greater sense or rings true for you? God lacks something, or the One (the All That Is) is complete in and of itself?
2. There is something you need to be saved from
From what? In the Church, we usually go straight to hell on that question. Although it’s interesting that in the Lutheran Church of my experience, it was never actually talked or preached about. Looking back, it just seemed hell was like the obnoxious relative in the family no one wants to talk about.
You have heard undoubtedly that you are going to hell if you don’t believe the right things about Jesus. Hell has been a powerful concept in the life of the Church. After all, a place of eternal punishment for sinning or not believing correctly is an excellent tool for the Church to control people! To claim eternal punishment is in your future, but only we have a way out, is quite the marketing strategy to be sure. Create a problem (that does not exist) and be the only supplier of the solution. “Turn or burn!”
It’s interesting to note that as far as the Bible is concerned, there is no mention of hell in the Old Testament. The closest thing is something called Sheol (which is rarely mentioned). It’s not even a place of eternal punishment, but more of a shadowy, vague kind of existence for souls after death. It came to be thought of as a kind of holding tank until the final judgement. The first mention of Sheol is in the book of Daniel (about 165 BC). So that means that if there is such a thing as hell, God wasn’t telling anyone about it for thousands of years! Wait! Back the truck up a few millenniums here. Beep! Beep! Beep! If you’re God, wouldn’t that be something you might want to get the word out about? Just sayin…
In Western Christian circles it became generally accepted that hell is a place of separation from God. One slight problem. Separation from God (All That Is, the I AM) is impossible. Nothing can exist without the presence of the Divine energy animating it from within. If separation could ever happen, everything would cease to exist in a nano second.
Beyond that, have you ever thought about this? Needing to be saved implies that we really need to be saved from God, since it would have to be God who sends anyone to such a place. The notion of having to be saved from perfect love is ludicrous.
To be clear: We don’t need to be saved from God. We need to be saved from the illusions of our egos. Our ego is that standard issue equipment we all are given as humans. It creates the illusion of being separate from God, one another, and all that is around us. This false sense of separation creates all fear, which gives birth to everything we call sin.
When I was a Lutheran pastor, I led many Orders of Confession. That’s where the Pastor starts the worship service out by leading a confession of sin. The worst place to begin. For years I said these words, “we are by nature sinful and unclean.” And every time those words came out of my mouth I felt twinges in my stomach. To be honest, I’m embarrassed by that guy now. Looking inward I now know the twinge was telling me “No you’re not!”
Our nature is not sinful. Do we all do stupid and harmful things to ourselves, others, and to creation? Of course we do! But we do things that are labeled “sins” because we have forgotten who/what we really are (Divine Love). We have walked away internally from our true nature, which creates the energy behind all the fearful, harmful things we do to ourselves, each other, and the planet. It’s all about transcending the ego and remembering.
The soul does not need to be saved! It only needs to be honored, listened to, discovered, and explored so it can reach its potential of conscious Oneness (Love). Our soul is the best part of us. It is perfect in its Divine essence. Our soul is not only the best part of us, it IS us! As Eckhart Tolle teaches, you don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. In order for there to be ‘you’ that has the soul, there would have to be a ‘you’ and then the soul. And there is no real you without the soul.
As for your brother-in-law, just send him Love when you are with him and when you think of him. If you have to say anything to him, tell him you are good with your soul and it is on its journey. Try and remember that he is probably doing the best he can with what he has been given, or with what he is able to take in at this point in his evolution. Just like all of us. Remember the guy who used to tell crowds of people, “we are by nature sinful and unclean”? I try and give him the grace he needs.
Remember, you are Love,
Pastor Tim Tengblad