I recently bumped into a conversation about the “counterfeit Jesus”. The idea is that some agency might disguise itself as Jesus to bamboozle us. It’s a very disturbing idea. If you can’t trust Jesus, who can you trust?
I closed in on the conversation and found that it referred to the Course in Maracles and to some Aquarian material, both of which are written in the first person, as if by Jesus Himself. I’m not familiar with the Aquarian material, but I’ve spent, in the past, some time reading the Course in Miracles.
I found the first person pretense silly, maybe offensive, maybe a little blasphemous, but the response didn’t come from feeling encroached by the demonic; it was more like an affront, like sharing a table with someone who swears, spits, smokes while they eat, and pats the waitress’s bum. Stupid, offensive, but no great risk to my soul.
I think that when we label something as demonic we perhaps allow the demonic to colonize, become maybe its cat’s paw. It’s possible that the real battleground isn’t the world; it’s one’s own consciousness.
I wonder, then, what would be the case if I were to accept the first person voice in the Course of Miracles as the voice of Jesus? If, as I am suggesting, labelling it as the voice of the demon invites the demon in, does it follow that if I identify it as Jesus’ work, I invite Him in? I don’t think so. Some writer could be spouting all kinds of drivel in that first person. Or could they? Does using the name in some way authorize the speaker?
This opens up the whole question of how text becomes sacred. What we have and accept as Jesus’ words isn’t much, and it’s held in the four gospels. There’s quite a lot of interesting material from that time, some of it claiming to be gospel, some of it very intriguing. We’ve drawn a wall around a set of text and, in effect, asked the Holy Spirit to colonize it. We can’t really prove or disprove the authenticity of the Essene writings, but that doesn’t, I think make them evil. It’s just that when we step off the terra firma of the gospels anything could be true. It doesn’t mean that when we name a certain set of texts as belonging to the Holy Spirit any other text becomes damnable. Tribalism again.
Voltaire’s “God is a circle whose centre is everywhere” comes back to me at this point. If God’s centre is everywhere, then God’s centre is the centre of me. it doesn’t mean that His centre isn’t also the centre of you. But as it is in me, it has the power to obliterate anything demonic that approaches it. Demons work in the dark, and in the presence of the fire of God they are nothing. They don’t like that, and they like us to think that external things have power greater than our own.
A few years ago, teaching grade eight science, one of my students suggested that fire is alive. “It eats,” he said, “and reproduces itself. How is it not alive?” I’m still not entirely sure about that. Love is the fire of God. It consumes what it touches, turns its fuel into itself. It is the heart of the sun, and the heart of us. Love doesn’t combat the enemy by naming it. Love takes everything into itself. It is the heart of the sun.