ALL GOD’S CHILDREN ARE WELCOME TO
PLEASE ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Do you feel like you are an exile from Christianity, but you remain attracted to the comforting message of Jesus, and the goodness of Mary?
Do you react against the subordinate position that Paul and the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic Church and the later Protestant Churches enforced for women, but you feel embraced by the loving arms of Mary?
Do you feel that the Christian Churches consider you as an outcast, or one of your relatives or friends? In sharp contrast, Jesus respected the most despised outcasts of his time, the prostitutes (comparable to sex workers and other sexual liberationists today), the lepers (comparable to people living with AIDS and HIV today), and the eunuchs (comparable to transgender people today).
Do you ask yourself why the organization that was founded by Paul is called the ROMAN Catholic Church, instead of the Church of Jesus? Are you disgusted by the history of Christianity, including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, which carried on the severe persecution of Jews that was begun by the Roman Empire? Are you aware that, just as the Romans brutally conquered and enslaved numerous peoples around the Mediterranean region, the ROMAN Catholic Church and its Protestant offshoots oversaw the conquest and enslavement of Native Americans, and numerous other peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific? Do you know that the desire to convert people to Christianity, forcibly if necessary, was a central tenet of European imperialism?
Do you notice that Christian preachers on television today are always quoting Paul’s words, but seldom quote Jesus’ words? They talk endlessly about Jesus suffering on the cross, but hardly emphasize Jesus' actual teachings. Does this tell you that Christianity as an established religion has more to do with the ideas of Paul and the Romans, than of Jesus?
Are you aware that Jesus, as a good Jew, observed the Sabbath on Saturday? Are you aware that the Church of ROME changed the day of worship to Sunday as a result of an imperial edict by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was a devotee of the Roman god Apollo, the god of the Sun?
Are you repelled by the biblical injunction that man should “go out and dominate the earth” and the idea that animals were put on earth to serve man? Do you long for a religion that respects our animal friends and takes a protective attitude toward the environment?
Do you wonder why the Christian Churches condemn loving same-sex relationships as the worse sin imaginable, when Jesus said not one word against homosexuality and actually made several supportive references about same-sex love. Do you wonder why Jesus' closest disciple John was always referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”?
Notice in the painting of the Last Supper, that the disciple John the Beloved is resting his head on Jesus’ shoulder, in an intimate way that none of the other disciples did.
If you saw two men doing this in a restaurant today, what would you think was the nature of their relationship?
If these and other questions have led you to feel that you are among the condemned, then open your eyes and ears to the true teachings of Jesus. Forget for a moment the rantings of Leviticus and Paul, and place your focus solely upon the words that Jesus spoke. Open your heart to the protective love of Mary. Let him who has ears listen, let her who has eyes see. Let joy overtake you, so that it can radiate outward from your soul to the depths of the earth and to the heights of the stars.
Abandon the heartless Christian Churches and become a true follower of Jesus and Mary. Seek and you shall find—for the first time, or once again—the love, solace, happiness, comfort, renewal of the spirit, and total ecstasy, as you are welcomed with open arms into the wonderful inclusive Community of Jesus and Mary.
The basic text used by this Community is a book “The Teachings of Jesus” written by Walter L. Williams.
STATEMENT BY WALTER L. WILLIAMS
DETAILING THE REASONS WHY HE WROTE
“THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS”
This book first took form in my mind on Christmas Eve in the year 2000, exactly two millennia after the birth of Jesus. I consider it to be of divine inspiration. That evening at my home in Los Angeles was a time of aloneness in my life. My parents had flown out to visit my sister’s home in North Carolina, but a combination of work deadlines and illness prevented me from joining them. As I experienced the first Christmas Eve of my life where I was totally alone, I took out a Bible and began to read about the life of Jesus. I spent the whole evening and late into the night reading. I remembered how inspired I had been by the story of Jesus when I had read it as a child, so much so that at age ten I had decided to become a preacher. Tears of memory filled my eyes as I read the treasured verses I had not seen in years. At that point what I can only describe as an angel came into my mind and told me that I should write the story of Jesus in a way that would be directed to people of the third millennium. The angel told me that I should free Jesus from the limitations of the Bible.
As I thought more about it, I decided that this perspective was correct. The Bible has many beautiful and moving thoughts, but just like any piece of literature it has weaknesses and flaws. Far from being the infallible word of God, there are numerous contradictions and mistakes in the Bible that are obvious to any objective reader. More than that, over the last two thousand years statements in the Bible have been repeatedly used to justify horrible tortures, wars and oppressions that have been inflicted on people all over the world. Though these atrocities were done in Jesus’ name, by people who called themselves Christians, war and oppression was not the message of the teachings of Jesus. The more I read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the more I decided that the Christian Church as it has evolved during the last two thousand years has perverted the major teachings of Jesus. The problem is that many of the values of those who call themselves Christians are shaped not by the ideas of Jesus, but by the ideas of Paul, who was a vengeful narrow-minded person with many insecurities.
By combining the writings of Paul with the vengeful texts of the Old Testament, Christians have emphasized a wrathful God rather than a loving heavenly Father that Jesus spoke of. Jesus’ message of love, peace and happiness has been ignored, in favor of a guilt-inducing conformist religion that remained mired in values more appropriate to the times of the Roman Empire than to the twenty-first century. Christianity became corrupted when it became the state religion of the Roman Empire, and was used as a justification for torture of those who disagreed with the patriarchs of the church. Issues that humanity faces today, such as the related problems growing from the threats of war, intolerance, environmental pollution, extinction of other species, overpopulation, unwanted children, and the sexual revolution, are unique to our time. These issues must be effectively addressed as central concerns by any religion that wants to keep itself focused on the spiritual concerns of people who are alive today.
When I was a teenager, growing up in the southern part of the United States, I was repulsed by the racial hatred and the many kinds of prejudice that permeated the White Christian Churches of the South. In reaction, during the 1960s I became active as a civil rights worker and started attending African-American Christian churches, in hopes that this would provide me a more loving spiritual home. I was inspired on those occasions when I heard Dr. Martin Luther King preach, and I resonated to the theme of justice and freedom that was so strongly emphasized in African-American religion. However, while doing research for a book I wrote about African-American Christian Churches, "Black Americans and the Evangelization of Africa," I came to the realization that the Black Christians were little better than the White Christians when dealing with non-Western cultures. Eventually I realized that Black Christianity shared some of the most oppressive prejudices toward women and sexual minorities that I had seen in the White churches.
As I researched the history of Christianity in Europe and the Americas, and especially the prominent role of Christianity in the oppression of peoples as diverse as Jews and Native Americans, I left the Christian religion altogether. In disgust, I went in search of spiritual truth elsewhere. This spiritual journey eventually took me to South Dakota, where in 1982 I was introduced to the healing shamanistic religion of the Lakota people. American Indian religions, I learned, shared much of the emphasis on healing of body and mind that Jesus emphasized. But the values of Lakota religion, with its appreciation for the reality of diversity and the complementarity of all things, contrasted sharply with the stifling conformity of Christianity. Lakota traditionalists were the most spiritual people I had ever met in my whole life, and in comparison Christian devotion seemed superficial. I participated in ceremonies that were more spiritually moving than anything I had ever experienced in any Christian Church. Native American values of respect for Mother Earth were foreign both to patriarchal and to ecological ways of thinking. Out of this research I wrote a book, "The Spirit and the Flesh" about Native American religion and its ideas about gender and sexuality.
My next unexpected move into spirituality occurred when I was introduced to feminist spirituality, goddess worship, and Buddhism. In 1986 I became active in the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist Association. This organization’s emphasis on human rights, equality, personal happiness and fulfillment was exactly what I needed at that stage of my life. Buddhists say there are no accidents, and that everything that happens is for some larger purpose. This certainly seemed to be the case in 1987, when I won a Fulbright Scholar Award from the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars. The Council sent me to do research in Indonesia. Once I arrived there, the Soka Gakkai put me in touch with their organization’s branch in Indonesia, and they provided me with many beneficial contacts. While living for a year on the fascinating island of Java, I became heavily involved in Buddhism. I cannot image anywhere in the world that was more perfect for me at that time than the pleasant life I experienced in Indonesia. I was moved to tears as I did Buddhist chants from atop the world famous ancient temple at Borobudor, and regularly hosted Buddhist meetings in my house in Yogyakarta. I wrote two books on Indonesia, in which Buddhist ideas figured prominently.
When I returned from Indonesia, I started reading the work of various Biblical scholars who have suggested that Jesus was heavily influenced by Buddhist ideas. This made me start wondering how Jesus might have been exposed to the teachings of the Buddha. After all, Buddhist missionaries were at the time spreading the dharma message widely from India all the way to East Asia, down to Southeast Asia, and over to Southwest Asia where Jesus lived. Merchants and other travelers were moving back and forth from the eastern Mediterranean to the Kushan Empire of India, and along the Silk Road from Egypt to China. The Bible says nothing about the two decades of Jesus’ adolescence and young adulthood. I started wondering if Jesus could have left home to become a pupil of a Buddhist monk during these “missing years.” If the reader will keep an open mind, this scenario might not seem implausible at all. Instead, it might be the most logical explanation for Jesus’ disappearance during those two decades.
Meanwhile, at the University of Southern California I developed a new class on “Overcoming Prejudice.” In this class a major focus was on the role of religion in both causing and reducing prejudice. Teaching and writing on these subjects got me thinking about Christianity again, from perspectives ranging from liberation theology to fundamentalist theology. I eventually decided that the fundamentalists are correct, that the biblical quotes they cite do in fact reflect the sentiments of at least some writers of the Bible. But they do not reflect the major ideas of Jesus. My divine inspiration of Christmas Eve 2000 is the need to separate the teachings of Jesus from the Bible.
By this twisting path of spiritual enlightenment, from Christian Churches, to Native American religion, feminist spirituality, Buddhism, and back to Jesus by way of a visit from an angel, this book has come about. Though I have basically taken the words and teachings of Jesus from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, I have adapted Jesus’ stance on certain issues from my perspective as a person living at the dawn of the twenty-first century. And I have filled in the blanks of segments of Jesus’ life that are not covered in the Bible, by a process of thought that I can only describe as divine inspiration. I have explicitly rejected the other parts of the Bible, and written solely on Jesus, in contrast to the Christians who seem to pay more attention to the words of Paul than of Jesus. My focus on Jesus is on his teachings, rather than on his death which is so emphasized by the Christians. Ironically, the Christians have put so much emphasis on Jesus’ death and resurrection, that they have ignored his life.
In other words, I have not returned to the Bible to become a Christian, but to extract the gospels of Jesus. I do not wear a cross on a necklace, but instead favor a medallion showing Jesus with his arms outstretched in a loving embrace. I see Buddha and Jesus as two of the most important and inspiring thinkers of human history, and their teachings are much more compatible than the teachings of Jesus and Paul. Though the Pharisees of our time will no doubt condemn me as a blasphemer, I am comforted by the fact that the Pharisees condemned Jesus as a blasphemer as well. I am, therefore, not a Christian or a Bible fundamentalist, but a follower of Jesus. I call on other thinking spiritual people to declare their independence from the Christian Churches, whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, as hopeless relics that are chained to the Bible. It is time to build a new spirituality for a new millennium, addressing current world problems from a perspective of the two thousand year old gospel of Jesus: Love, Peace, and Happiness.
My wish to you the reader is that the loving message of Jesus will permeate your body and mind, to bring you personal fulfillment and great happiness. Peace be with you always.
Jesus approaching John the Baptist to be baptized in the river
about the background of Mary and Joseph
click here to read the AFTERWORD of THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
about the role of Paul in the formation of the Christian Church many decades after Jesus' death
click here to see SONGS of JOY
that are recommended for singing at gatherings of the Community of Jesus and Mary
click here to read about the respect for diversity and the inclusiveness policies of the COMMUNITY OF JESUS AND MARY
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