How may Christ be personally-encountered in Direct Christianity?
The traditional ways of 'meeting' the living Christ is by means of 'sensory' contact - seeing a vision, hearing a voice, feeling a sensation...
Such contact now seems rare; and when-it-happens for this to be in circumstances open to doubt - for modern people, schooled in tactical doubt, seeing is Not-necessarily believing (and most of what is 'perceived' and believed comes via the systematic lies of the mass media).
Modern people are paralysed by their need to 'convince other people' of their claims, and since modern people can doubt absolutely anything, even as they can believe obvious lies - modern people are trapped, held fast, locked-into despair and fear because they refuse to believe anything good, meaningful, purposive, and coherent.
In brief - many modern people yearn to know Christ; but they/ we have rigged the system so that this is impossible for them.
Any way a modern person might actually know, Christ he has already categorised as unreliable and prone to self-deception... meanwhile displaying truly mind-boggling credulity when it comes to slavishly-conforming with the incoherent and manipulative lies of the ruling Establishment of evil...
Still, the question remains - if people regard a sensory experience of Christ as some combination of wish-fulfillment, the hallucinatory and the spiritually-obsolete; then how might a real encounter with Christ actually happen?
What is vital (for us, in this era) is that we have a free and agent relationship with Christ: a relationship of agency and freedom.
That is, we must not be overwhelmed by the experience, must not be numbed into unfree passivity - because that would be absolutely contrary for God's plans and hopes for our personal spiritual development. We must have an adult relationship - Jesus as our elder brother.
(Not with us as beaten or begging children - and Jesus as a wicked step-father, Totalitarian Tyrant or Hanging Judge...).
It does not matter that people (including modern people) may yearn to have Life sorted-out for them, have Jesus step into their lives, make all decisions, provide all motivations, or whatever.... God (for us Christians) certainly does not want us as obedient puppets or programmed robots.
(If that was what was wanted, we would just be made that way - easy for God!)
So we must be free, therefore we personally must choose - therefore the circumstances must be such as to allow choosing.
This rules out many of the 'traditional' ideas of confrontations with Christ; which are suitable for transmitting information (like the commandments, or instructions, or prophecies) - but are not suitable for developing our spirit in the direction of agency.
So... in a putative modern encounter with Jesus Christ, we must remain clear-headed, and in-control of our own thoughts - we must meet Christ on a level where we are helped by not overwhelmed; certainly we must not be compelled, either by terror or by being stunned with glory and power...
The conclusion seems to be that Christ must appear in our thoughts, insinuate into our stream of thinking; in an authoritative and intuitively-valid, yet modest and reasonable, fashion.
I suggest that this may be the place and fashion where we (nowadays, people like you and me) ought to be 'looking-for' an encounter with Christ. We may direct our thought towards Christ, and he appears - not as words, nor as pictures, but as the content of thinking.
For example, we might ask a question - in a form sufficiently simple and clear; and the answer appears in our thinking as a direct and unmediated Knowing.
Such knowledge is not compelling nor overwhelming us - it is the thinking equivalent of a wise, calm and decisive opinion, suggestion, clarification... (but it is not a voice, we hear nothing - it is a thought).
"Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them."
We live in an era where the conventional methods of verification of truth, immediate sense data and corroborating witness testimony, have both been systematically infiltrated with deceptive methods to a degree unimaginable to our ancestors.
Barnhardt (yes, I know) recently posted the following "As the steep descent of Christian civilization began roughly at the same time as the advent of photography, there are relatively few photos of saints while they lived on earth. Today is the feast of St. John Bosco, and I include the photograph above because it contains other people, and is not a single, formal portrait photograph. I think we all have the tendency to look at paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and icons of the saints and slip into a subconscious perception of them as fictional characters, probably somewhat due to our lifelong exposure to not just photographs but motion pictures, as well. In our minds, we might tend to segregate photographic and video images into a category we falsely label “real”, and everything else into a category we falsely label “fiction”. Thus, a photograph of Kim Kardashian – a self-mutilated sucking maw of narcissistic fakery – is “real”, while a painting of St. Philip Neri is “a fictional character set in Renaissance Italy”. Before the advent of photography, I doubt that people grappled with this problem."
She does not touch on the fact that "photographic evidence" was, right from the beginning, rife with the most profound degree of fakery and falseness to life, profoundly symbolized by the early practice of posing the recently deceased for portrait photos (yeah!). In our popular culture, it is the Hollywood movie that presents an utterly distorted view of reality, which profoundly alters peoples perceptions of what is real. We think of these things as 'harmless' because they do not overtly claim to be factual representations. But what is clear is that, for the unsophisticated masses of audiences, such claims are unnecessary in light of the high degree of sensory impact these artificial experiences are engineered to provide.
Studios don't spend hundreds of billions of dollars on making the special effects in movies ever more visually (and aurally) convincing because it is necessary to compelling narrative qualities in a story. It is because experiencing these moments convinces people of things at a level more profound than mere assertions. It is also noteworthy that many of these technologies are making their way into 'news' media. A compelling visual, 'enhanced' with some special effects magic, is often presented as 'factual' without apology.
For us, seeing cannot and must not be believing.
CCL - Good comment!
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