Your Relationship With the Church

It is very likely that you grew up within an initial religious organization. Either by choice or you were introduced to it by your parents. If the “try Jesus” narrative interests you now, more than likely you have grown out of this traditional religious view. However troubling or even damaging you now experience this traditional perspective, we suggest that you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The traditional view of Christianity offers some real gifts that you can choose to include in your Christian practice as you leave behind others that don’t resonate with you anymore.

The Gifts and Shadow of the Traditional Church

The Gifts and Shadow of the Traditional Church – Rev. Paul Smith

Our conversation about developing a personal relationship with Jesus begins with Rev. Paul Smith’s perspective on the gifts and the challenges of the traditional church.




The Gifts and Challenges of the Traditional Church – Father Richard Rohr

In this clip, Richard discusses the nature of your relationship with organized religion and how to move beyond any resistance you may be still experiencing.


Esoteric Christianity: Two Kinds of Religion

It has often been said that there is a central paradox in the role of religion throughout history: on the one hand, religion has been the single greatest cause of war and suffering. On the other, religion has been the single greatest source of redemption, salvation, and liberation for humanity. How can we possibly make sense of this double-edged dagger? How can we reconcile the very best qualities of religion with the very worst?

In this audio excerpt, Father Thomas Keating one of the renown leaders of the re-emergence of contemplative practice in Christianity discusses what it means to include Christian contemplative prayer and meditation in your daily practice with Ken Wilber and Rollie Stanich.

This audio segment is a sample excerpt of a much longer conversation between Father Keating, Ken Wilber and Rollie Stanich that can be found on Integral Life. If you want full access to all the Integral Life Christian teacher conversations, consider becoming a member!

Healing the Church

In this audio excerpt of David’s interview with the Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, she talks about the importance of contemplative practice in experiencing the teachings of Jesus in a new light. Cynthia also discusses the importance of work being done by women as they strive to heal their relationship with the Christian church and comments on science and spirituality actually co-existing with each other.

Spiritual But Not Religious?
In this clip Richard Rohr, he discusses the “spiritual but not religious” perspective that 29% of Americans identify with. Even if you have found a new Christian practice, the question still remains how to share this with others. Real enlightenment includes cultural actions as well as personal experiences.
The Early Christian Desert Communities
When we talk about the history of Christianity many begin this inquiry with the establishment of the Holy Roman Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this video segment Cynthia discusses the early Christian desert communities that developed in the three centuries following the death of Jesus. They are representative of a wildly diverse collection of communities that developed in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. All were responding to the teachings and the life of Jesus.

The Baby and the Bathwater

As we look out into the culture we see this seeming clash between science and religion played out on the nightly news. Nowhere is this more apparent that in the documentary film, “Religulous” created by comedian and social commentator Bill Maher

Bill as the host of the HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, often asks his guests: “How can someone as smart as you actually believe in this religious stuff?” It’s fair question, one that a great many people ask themselves every day, and forms the premise of Maher’s recent comedy/documentary Religulous. But is there something crucial missing from Bill Maher’s criticism of religion, which would prompt us to ask him, “How can someone as smart as you not be aware that there is so much more to religion than just fairy tales? Listen as Ken and David discuss what Bill Maher (and the rest of the “New Atheist” crowd) are missing in this otherwise provocative and entertaining film.

For more on Ken Wilber and David Riordan, click here.

What Women Want From Christianity

Leslie Hershberger was one of the first Integral teachers to point out the special value Integral Life’s DVD “The Future of Christianity” has for women. Leslie is engaged in facilitating groups of women in the Midwest that are looking to heal their relationship with the traditional church, while defining a new vessel for their Christian faith that engages them more fully. This work eventually led Leslie to create two very popular Integral Life web courses, “Coming Home” and “Between You and Love.”

This audio segment is just an excerpt of a much longer interview with Leslie Hershberger. The entire interview can be found on Integral Life. If you want full access to all the Integral Life Christian teacher conversations, consider becoming a member!

Religion, Spirituality and the Future of Being Christian
Father David McCallum, a Jesuit priest and educator, shares his thoughts about the differences between “religion” and “spirituality”, the role of sacred documents like the Bible in today’s world, and the beauty of the integral principle of “transcend and include”.

For more on Father David McCallum click here.

What is Your Relationship to Christian Scripture?

Certainly, one of the things you need to sort out in your current Christian practice is what is your relationship to Christian bible scripture? Most likely you no longer accept the Bible as the literal word of God or Jesus. However, the stories and the teachings of the bible can still be very useful if seen as metaphorical. Also, in the last sixty years, many more gospels have come to light that are not included in the bible. They often contain useful perspectives concerning events that are chronicled in the bible. Obviously, they were considered important enough by early Christians to hide until it was time for them to be read again.

How Do You Relate to Christian Scripture? Rev. Paul Smith

Paul discusses what we think we know from scripture about Jesus and points out how it depends on who is translating the original text. Paul also explores the picture of Jesus that does emerge for him.

How Do You Relate to Christian Scripture? Father Richard Rohr

Richard believes the original choice of the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John was inspired. In his view the other accounts of the life of Jesus from those times are more Gnostic in nature and don’t really portray in detail the important human interactions that Jesus had with others. He also points out the necessity to guard against biblical scripture being used in an abusive manner by those that translate its meaning for their own agendas.

How Do You Relate to Christian Scripture? Nicholas Vesey

Nicholas points out the way that Jesus is pictured in the bible has progressed over the years beginning with much more direct experience of the events of his day and then as years went by more translations of the meaning of these events. In spite of all the forces that have shaped the bible over the years, he still feels it still offers genuine transmission to those who study scripture.

What is Your Relationship to Christian Scripture? Catherine Anne Provine

For Catherine the bible is an amazing history lesson beginning with the aggressive tone of the Old Testament and transitioning to the kinder tone of the new testament.

On Whose Authority do You Practice as a Christian?

As you sort out your Christian practice for who you are now, one of the things you need to reflect on is on whose authority to you practice? The Holy Roman Church and other religions organizations, claim the right to be the intermediary between you and spirit or God. Others prefer a more direct relationship. Below are a variety of our Christian teachers commenting on their relationship to Christian authority.

Where Do You Place Authority as a Practicing Christian? Father Richard Rohr

Richard talks about the three elements in the way he teaches. Tradition, scripture and experience. The Catholic Church historically has encouraged members to not trust their experience but instead rely on the external authority of the church. Having explored a larger context of authority in his life however, he also cautions us to not throw all tradition out the window and simply rely totally on our personal experience.

Where Do You Place Authority as a Practicing Christian? Nicholas Vesey

Nicholas explores the concept of obedience and the real meaning of the word to him. He finds it much less powerful when someone is quoting from someone else’s experience as the source of their authority. He also cautions us to be careful to not simply drink the kool-aid from whatever church we are involved with and find your own experience on which you practice.

Where Do You Place Authority as a Practicing Christian? Catherine Anne Provine

Catherine reflects on her own path to God and the authority that she experiences makes sense to her. She suggests that we need to trust in our own experience and let us lead us to living more illuminated lives.


Designed by Angie Hinickle