"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, March 28, 2011

Esoteric Spirituality: The "Inner Teaching" of Christianity

In his masterwork, “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” the pioneering American psychologist, William James made a fundamental distinction between what he termed ‘outer religion,’ the dogmas, doctrines, steeples, altars and incense of religious worship, and the ‘inner religion’ of spiritual experience and psychological transformation, a distinguishment which seems fundamental to the seeker of spiritual awakening or enlightenment in this modern Information Age.

In another spiritual masterpiece, “Discover the Power Within You,” the great Unity Church minister and theologian, Eric Butterworth sets out to find the religion of Jesus, rather than the religion about Jesus, noting that there has always been a paradox in the way humanity has reacted to the spiritual truths they have found on the spiritual quest, elevating the teacher while ignoring the teachings of universal spiritual truths:

The history of man on the eternal quest,” he writes, “has been a strange odyssey. In his search for the ‘holy grail' man has looked everywhere and in vain, but he has failed to look within himself. Occasionally, a prophet came, telling of the world within. But instead of following him into the deeper experience, men invariably made a god of the prophet – worshiped and built monuments to him. They then trapped themselves in a religious practice that had no within.”

How many times has this happened?,” Butterworth asks rhetorically. “How many religions are there in the world ?”

In a trio of videos from the prodigious author, broadcaster and ordained minister, the Reverend Theodore (Ted) Nottingham goes "within" and examines the "esoteric teachings" of Christianity, the "inner teachings" of Jesus, and the process of "theosis," or "God-realization," the experiential process which lies at the heart of the Christian's spiritual quest, but which is little known or used in the West today.

In this subjective selection from Nottingham's wide body of work, it is hoped that the spiritual aspirant's eyes may be opened to the inner potential not only of Christianity, but of all the world's great wisdom traditions, and that any "scales of prejudice" may be removed to make his or her "inner" sight all the clearer.

As Jesus made clear in his ministry, it is not the outer form that is of consequence; quite the opposite. To the Pharisees who were persecuting him for what they saw as his outer practice, he plainly said, "The Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21).

"Esotericism and Christianity"

"The Inner Teaching"

"Theosis: The Path of God-Realization"

Author and translator of a dozen books, Ted Nottingham is an ordained minister and currently the pastor of Northwood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a student and teacher of practical spiritual development for over thirty years, his books reflect aspects of the spiritual journey for readers of all traditions.

His Youtube videos and PodOmatic podcasts are available here and here.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely. It has always floored me how the church continues to ignore the scripture that states the "Kingdom is within you." We shouldn't forget the scripture that states the kingdom doesn't come by observation. The esoteric Jesus presents a much better alternative than the exoteric one.