The desire to transcend the fear of death and impermanence is human nature. This is made possible by giving spiritual meaning to our lives.
Early Christianity dictated that, in order to meet God, one would not need anything in particular: no temples, learned priests, rituals, sacrifices, sacred teachings, holy books, mind-altering substances: God lives inside you. This is a message that people are open to today. It is a message that can also be united with independence of spirit, freethinking and pluralism. The original Christian paradigm can be supplemented with modern views on religion and psychological insights.
But there is one limitation: the unattractive image of latter-day Christianity prevents many people from finding spirituality in the gospels. Spiritual nomads of the 1960s and 1970s thought that Christianity was too moralistic. For the new generation, which often look for stimuli in their spiritual search, it is too ordinary. But ‘ordinary’ can be a deceiving term.
Once I found a very old book
I remember the excitement I felt when I once found a very old book, covered in mildew. I opened it up and started reading. The text was in Old Russian but that was no problem for me, having just passed my Old Russian exams. I found this book among the rubble of a derelict house in a secluded North Russian village. I was there together with my fellow students, looking for stories of folklore from the area. My find was purely coincidental. Finding this book felt like a mystery.
The old book had no front cover and it was missing the first few pages. I immediately recognized it to be a religious text, but I could identify nothing of the book beyond that. This was my first field trip, and I wasn’t at all familiar with Christian literature.
The contents were poetic but strange. That simply intensified the mystery. Because of my excitement and impatience, I stopped reading and took the book to the teacher leading our field trip. “It’s just an ordinary of psalms,” he said after a quick glance and passed my discovery back to me with indifference.
The word ‘ordinary’ spoiled it for me. I had to endure many such disillusionments before I finally realized that ‘ordinary’ is one of the most misleading words in existence.