TO THE CHRISTIANS
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. You once said, that after a long journey,
you re-discovered the treasures of your own Christian tradition. Could tell us more about
A. Christianity has been a
tragedy. While it pretended to "guide you to God", it did exactly the opposite.
You may therefore define Christianity, as a deliberate attempt to deprive you from true
religiosity - direct contact with Heaven and earth - with the aim of replacing it by
a substitute: the church.
Q. That's why Christians often look a bit
A. They suffer from religious
burn-out. The majority being totally disoriented, while "small" groups
overstrain their inner insecurity by becoming fundamentalists.
Q. What ray of hope do you still see, then?
A. In order to keep the power,
the church has refrained from distributing its treasures among its own flock, being
afraid, that the latter would find their way to God themselves, making the church an
Q. Together with accumulation of worldly
A. In order to establish power,
the church has excluded everything, that did not serve its purpose. It replaced Jesus by
Pauline philosophy; it banned countless groups e.g. movements, like Donatists, Montanists,
Arianism, Pelagianism and many more; it falsified the bible; it illegally acquired the
Vatican; it persecuted mystics, gnostics, "heretics", women (witches), their own
fellow believers, Jews, philosophers.....
Q. Destroying their own most precious
A. It has put Christians -
especially the good ones - for an enormous dilemma: leaving or not leaving. Many of
them having the feeling, that "if I leave, nothing will be left". This fear for
the wasteland is keeping many in the church.
Q. With a voice within saying the opposite.
A. My commitment to them, has
lead to a "third way". It is a proposal, through which they may re-discover the
heart of their own tradition. It includes leaving everything behind, that undermines
spirit, soul and body, while simultaneously digging up their own treasures.
Q. What would you like to say to them, right
A. There are huge treasures,
waiting for you in your own tradition. I myself was totally surprised, finding them. I can
even say, that some aspects are totally unequalled. The drive should be "Restoring
the Wholeness of Life", consisting of a deep longing for the Ultimate.
Q. Which are the sources, people may
A. Because the sources have
been excluded by the church itself, they cannot be found there. The heart of Christianity,
on the other hand, includes four dimensions: mysticism, gnosticism, mariology and
activism. The first is aimed at God-experience, the second at God-realization, the third
at taking Refuge in the Mother, while the fourth represents the vehicle for compassionate
action in the world.
Q. Quite impressive indeed.
A. Together, they could give
rise to a complete renewal of the Christian faith. Take mysticism, for instance. The
longing for Oneness, as expressed by Christian mystics, is absolutely unique. You won't
find that in any other tradition. This longing is essential for religious inspiration.
Read Hadewych for instance, or Beatrijs of Nazareth, or Teresa of Avila, or Catharina of
Q. I have read some of them, having had some
difficulties with the language they use. It is very "church-oriented".
A. It is part of their tragedy.
Unlike Buddhism, Christian mystics had every reason to fear persecution for "deviant
thinking". Hence, while expressing themselves, they purposely did concessions to the
authorities. Once you know this, reading becomes more easy. You simply see at which
moments they compromised and why.
Q. A good guide would be very recommendable.
A. As I have said earlier the
Mystical Way has been described by Evelyn Underhill in her book "Mysticism". It
is the best guide you can find. She describes the stages of the Path: The Awakening of the
Self, Purification, Illumination, Voices and Visions, Recollection and Quiet,
Contemplation, Ecstasy and Rapture, The Dark Night of the Soul and The Unitive Life.
Everything illustrated with examples of the lives of countless mystics.*
* Apart from the books of Teresa of
Q. What about gnosticism?
A. As you know, they posed the
greatest threat to the church, because of their emphasis on the Divine Spark within, e.g.
God-realization. The difference with God-experience is, that the former is aiming at
(temporary) unity with the Divine, while God-realization claims the Divine to be your True
Identity. Not surprisingly thus, that the church did everything "to eradicate"
them. This has lead to the situation, that even Giordano Bruno and other highlights in
mysticism, have not been rehabilitated for this reason, until this very day.
Q. Gnosticism being comparable to Buddhism.
A. Absolutely. Its
representatives aiming at experience ("realization"), rather than dogma's and
rules. Their source of inspiration being the "Hermetic Code", a collection of
Gnostic treatises from the third century BCE. Subsequently, the famous Nag Hammadi Codex
has revealed a lot about their underlying philosophy. For instance, to them, Jesus was a
spiritual teacher, rather than a reformer. In the Gospel of Thomas he is saying
"Become like Me", emphasizing the possibility of God-realization for everyone*.
* One of the best books about Gnosticism is
E.Pagels "The Gnostic Gospels", 1989 Vintage Books.
Q. You are emphasizing the unity of your four
Realms of the New Christianity. Why?
A. That's right. The separate
parts are nothing new, in fact. Mysticism and gnosticism even have had their peaks
"in the book market" already. The novelty is, that mysticism, gnosticism,
mariology and activism are intimately linked to each other. They are an integrated Whole.
It is this Whole, not the parts, that may replace the existing church altogether.
Q. Could you explain?
A. As I have explained before,
the tide of the time is directing toward internalization, to finding your True Self, from
Which you were separated for more than two millennia. That means, that outer belief is not
able to satisfy the deeper needs of the people. The latter yearning for inner guidance.
Hence, a cohesive, comprehensive alternative, that covers the entire spiritual Path being
the most promising one.
Q. What exactly is the inner coherence of
God-experience, God-realization, Mariology and Activism?
A. Step one is often
characterized by a spontaneous Moment of Oneness: "Suddenly, everything dropped of,
making everything new". If not, it is often existential suffering, e.g. being
alienated from the Source, that gives the first incentive. In this stage, the tools are
"longing for Wholeness" and "Inner Prayer". Step two consists of
seriously committing yourself to the inner Path. That means, you recognize your awareness
(which is your Divine Spark within) as your New Identity, your True Self. It is here that
Eastern Religion, especially "Zen" and "Vipassana" have to fill in the
gap. This whole area used to be taboo, after all. Meditation helps you expanding your
awareness, eventually leading to Enlightenment.
Q. You once said, that Enlightenment should be
the outcome of surrender, rather than the fruit of self-effort.
A. That's right. For Christians
an exception is made, though. They have been deprived of this kind of practice for so
long. Hence, for them the way of exercise being very beneficial.
Q. Realization eventually culminating in
A. After having reached the
top, the only way open is to descend into the valley. With other words, after Full
Realization, there is nothing to realize anymore. You may then come to the conclusion,
that "something, that can be realized, cannot be the Ultimate". There must be
Something Beyond. Surprisingly enough, you will find this ultimate wisdom in your own
Q. That will be good news.
A. Christianity is very unique
in postulating (under heavy pressure from the people), that the Virgin Mary represents the
"Mother of God" e.g. the "Queen of Heaven". While the church only
tries to compromise between people's demand and its own power position, these statements
should be taken seriously. It means, that there is something beyond God, which even the
church is calling "the Mother". The Mother cannot be attained though. She can
only be worshipped. The countless Mary Shrines are witness of Her popularity.
Q. The last step is that of activism.
A. Compassion being the outcome
of the spiritual Path. By being One with the Ultimate, you become all-embracing. The
entire universe proves to be the content of your "inner Space". Hence, you love
everything like yourself.
Q. Are there examples, that may
A. Ironically, because of being
cut off from the Source, Christians had no choice but becoming the forerunners in areas
like social change, justice, human rights and charity. This has become a unique ability,
that should not be given up. Under the new circumstances - in which they may re-connect
themselves to the Source - their power may even increase considerably. There are countless
inspiring examples: from Thomas Münster to Gandhi (who was strongly inspired by
Christianity); from Dante to Mother Teresa and from Johannes Althusius to Martin Luther
You are beautiful.
I love you.
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