This week at AskSteveAustin.com, my friend (and frequent guest of the show), Rev. Ed Bacon, joins me to launch my Summer Series on The Sermon on the Mount. For the next several weeks, I will be interviewing pastors, teachers, and friends on selected verses from the Matthew, chapters 5-7. In Episode 70 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Ed expounds on what he calls the contemplative interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. Below, I'm sharing my notes from my conversation with Ed.
On the basics of The Sermon on the Mount
- You can read every sentence of the Sermon on the Mount, through love or fear.
Jesus said, “blessed are the pure in heart.” There’s also a thing called the “shrunken heart” (or the “shriveled heart”). It’s really important in our National life, to pay attention to heartedness. The heart is our gift for reading signals in the world. To pick up signals from another person, the times, etc. The heart should be the “reader” for what is going on. To the degree that we have a pure, open, full heart - literally, we are seeing God in all things. That is what the Christ (in Jesus) was telling us, through Matthew writing it down. When we have the mind of Christ, we can see what’s going on, and we can see Christ through all things.
On having the mind of Christ
If you really want to know what the “mind of Christ” is, just go word-by-word in the Sermon on the Mount.
My current translation of “Christ” is “love made tangible”. It is Love that you can feel, and Love that loves everything that is tangible. Christ is the part of the Divine One that loves everything that was ever made. Christ energy is in absolutely everything God ever created. Christ is in you and me, and everyone we admire, and everyone we don’t admire.
On loving our enemies
Donald Trump’s [theological] name is Donald Christ, because nothing that God made was made apart from love made tangible. In a lot of people, Christ is heavily disguised. Our job is to seek the Christ who is in absolutely everyone. Christ is asleep in a lot of us. We don’t have the awareness of Christ being the animating energy of our lives. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
Love brings us oxygen to a religious stagnation. It brings tonic into a toxic situation, and it removes the poison. You can have a theology that is literally a toxic theology if it starts in fear and separation as opposed to Love and Oneness.
Christ is not exclusive. Divine Love (“Love made tangible” or “the Loving One”) always makes room, never divides, and never excludes, always is creative enough to include even the puzzle piece that seems not to fit it. That’s because it is a miraculous mind. Love has a miraculous mentality, awareness, and consciousness.
One of my favorite images for life is the mandala. You have all sorts of very disparate and differentiated colors and shapes, but because of the center that organizes it all, it organizes it all into a pattern so that everything belongs. That’s what Love is: Love is the organizing center of all that is.
On practicing love, while speaking truth to power
To pray for transformation is one of the most loving things.
We are called to be merciful, the same way our Loving God is merciful (or compassionate).
Contemplation has to be understood holding hands with community.
This was one of my favorite podcast conversations ever! To listen to the full interview, click here to go to Episode 70 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast at AskSteveAustin.com, or listen on your favorite podcasting app today.
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