It feels a bit strange to introduce myself to you since I am perhaps the most famous person who has ever lived. I am famous, but not well known. So, for the purposes of the conversations I hope we’ll have, it is important that you know a little about me. I won’t attempt to clear up all misconceptions about me because they are vast and run deep into history. In fact, as I survey the landscape of the modern age, most of the things people celebrate about me could not technically be called true. But I’m not too concerned about that because I understand that most sacred stories are a beautiful constellation of myth and fact, and I love them more for it.
I have always tried to keep my message fairly simple and to demonstrate that message in the way I live. Basically, what I want you to know is that when you conceive of God, in whatever way you choose to do that, always, always, center your conception in Love. And when you live out your idea of what or who God is, let Love be your guiding principle. These ideas are of great importance because connecting spiritually to something greater than yourself is not just a cerebral activity. It is done in community with people, with other living beings, with nature, and in fact with ALL that is.
I am not saying that theology is not important, but rather that its importance can only be measured in the ways it affects how you go about being in the world. What you believe is of little significance if it does not translate into actions in your daily life that spring from the only source of truth, which is Love. Love always brings expansion and always works to counter its opposite – fear, which brings contraction. So, when you imagine God, I want you to remember these notions of Love and expansion because they will keep you from being distracted onto fear-filled paths which will delay your growth.
On the subject of theology it is important to mention that in the past 150 years or so there has arisen some confusion over the concepts of faith, belief, and certainty. There are many people who sincerely follow my path who have adopted the view that faith is the same as belief. In other words, they understand that the more ardent their belief in certain theological concepts, the greater is their faith. In fact, a large segment of those who name themselves Christian will say that they have earned the right to call themselves Christian because they believe a certain set of doctrines to be true. It is not uncommon for them to identify themselves as Believers and to correlate their spiritual maturity with the strength, confidence, and even certainty of their beliefs. What has been nearly forgotten among some who follow my path is that faith and certainty are almost polar opposites. Faith is not belief, it is not knowing, and it certainly is not certainty. Faith is a posture of openness. Faith is the way you orient yourself toward your own uncertainty and the uncertainties of life. Because genuine faith is centered in Love, it always allows for and aims toward expansion and growth. Faith recognizes fear and the certainties which work so hard to tame it, and willingly, lovingly, moves toward it. Faith befriends fear and thereby conquers it.
I mention these things because as we enjoy our conversations we will be less likely to be distracted into argument over what you should or should not believe. I will be far more interested in talking about how you go about being in your daily life than in the particulars of what you do or do not believe.
Finally, please don’t be distracted by the title of this website. “Having A Beer With Jesus” is simply a stage device. My hope is to set a comfortable context in which to share our questions, thoughts, and ideas. I know that many of you, including my Muslim friends, do not drink alcohol and many others view it as an indication of moral weakness. For those I would simply ask that you imagine yourself having a cup of tea or a root beer, if you like.
I look forward to our conversations . . . . Let’s begin!