A movement, not a religion. A pun, not a label. A lifestyle, not a sect.
The 9 Guidelines of Jesism
Jesism (pronounced: Jēs-ism like Jēsus) focuses on following the teachings and moral example of Jesus. It’s for people who are fans of Jesus, but who also value science, scholarship, and any other practice or philosophy that better informs our reality – and helps us live a better quality of life.
The naming etymology is similar to the construction of the term Buddhism, which is based around the teachings and example of the Buddha, and is pronounced Bood-ism. It recognizes that we know little about the historical Jesus, a middle eastern Jew who was referred to during his time as Yeshua of Nazareth; but that a number of his most relevant teachings and examples are still valuable to remember and put into practice today.
Like Buddhism, it can be applied as an over-arching philosophy, practice, and path that can be integrated into one’s existing institution or community. It has a range of supporters, from dogmatic to non-dogmatic, and from those focused on a historical figure to those who view the enduring message within a mythical context, or “cosmic Christ” as some say. It is a fresh paradigm for how we can understand and follow Jesus, if that is something we wish to do.
It also acknowledges that we really don’t need another “ism” in the world, and that there are plenty of good examples to follow, but it exists as a paradigm shift, or a pun of sorts, for those who may be interested in Jesus. If your initial reaction is to think that you don’t want another label, sect, or ism, see the response to Question 4 here. Below are the 9 guidelines:
1) The core of Jesism, both theologically and socially, revolves around the responses of Jesus when his followers asked him their biggest questions; such as “what is the greatest commandment,” and Jesus would respond with “Love God and Love others” (Matthew 22:36-40). Similarly, during his ministry Jesus articulated only one new commandment, when during the last supper he told his followers: “a new commandment I give to you, love others as I have loved you” (John 13:34). These core teachings are at the heart of Jesism.
2) Jesism is conceptually an alternative paradigm to the literalized and creed-based Christian paradigm that sprung up years and centuries after the death of Jesus. Particularly, some of those theological explanations from the councils of Constantine, and modern day fundamentalist evangelicals. Jesism is not at odds with the Church. But Jesism is an alternative expression in spirit to today’s mainstream Christianity, in order to clarify its differences more distinctly than the platforms of emerging, liberal, or progressive Christianity have sometimes been able to do.
3) Jesism is in no way in competition with most other spiritual paths or “ism’s,” such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Panentheism, Humanism, Judaism, Sufism, or Agnosticism. A follower of Jesus can and should share and explore a multitude of beneficial paths – understanding that no path is perfect, and every path has the potential for corruption and fundamentalism if attempted to be made into a religion. Jesism does not consider itself the “only way.” It is often most relevant to those who have a cultural paradigm within a Jesus based tradition.
4) Jesism is closely aligned with other eastern spiritual and philosophies as it regards the key practices of mindfulness, non-attachment, simplicity, gratitude, and joy. Jesus and his followers encouraged meditation by name (Phil 4:8) and Jesus took frequent times away from the action to pray and meditate quietly (Matthew 6: 5-8). He was a promoter of a simple life, unattached to material possessions (Matthew 6:19) or worry about the future (Matthew 6:25-34). These teachings go largely ignored by mainstream Christianity and its primary creeds, but many eastern traditions have offered deep insight into these areas which most Jesists are eager to draw upon.
5) Jesism focuses on social justice and helping address sociological ills. Like the life of Jesus, it does not only focus on transcendence or an escape from suffering, but directly embraces the troubles of the world, and risks life and luxury in order to support, embrace, and advocate for others in need, especially those in the greatest need (Luke 10:25-37). Additionally, when Jesus was asked how one could find life, he gave the parable of the good Samaritan, which implored people to help others even when it’s inconvenient or difficult.
6) Jesism does not support a number of social platforms that are championed by many of today’s mainstream Christians, such as being against gay marriage, climate justice, and evolution. Nor does it support systems that enable wealth concentration at the top, mass militarization and incarceration, and blanket deportation. Jesism focuses on loving others and being open, loving, and inclusive; while valuing equality, modern science, and scholarship.
7) Jesism requires no specific literalized beliefs or creeds about God, Jesus, or the Bible. During his ministry, Jesus spoke of God but did not attempt to define God, or argue that the Bible was the inerrant word of God. He also never focused on believing in a virgin birth, physical resurrection, or eventual return, therefore Jesism also does not put the focus on these elements.
8) Jesism is neutral on details around miracles. Just as Jesus did not try to define these concepts, neither do most Jesists. Jesism encourages honest and genuine exploration of the mystical elements of life, with faith and humility.
9) Jesism highlights the teachings of non-duality, non-exclusive incarnation, and the “Kingdom of God”. It is recorded in Luke 17 that Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.” John 10 records Jesus as saying “the Father and I are one.” But Jesus didn’t just think that God was just one with him, or just his personal literal father. He acknowledged God as everyone’s father equally. The level of divinity in Jesus was the level of divinity in all of us, although certainly levels of actualization and alignment with Source will vary. When Jesus was asked by his followers how to pray, he didn’t start it with my father, but instead he said our Father (Matthew 6:9). That prayer is often called The Our Father for that reason. Jesus related to God in completely equal ways to the others he was with, and he said his followers could do greater things than him (John 14:12). This is the very idea of the Christos, which Christianity was based on in the first place.
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