Christianity For The Simple-Minded

By: Brian Robertson

Warning! What follows is babble about how silly it is to babble.

Do you know how you get a tune in your head and it just won’t go away? The same thing can happen with ideas. There are a few that keep popping up for a while, and right now I can’t seem to get around this one, so I might as well toss it out into the electrons and see if it will just go away for a time.

As I often do on the Web, I read something that caused me to look up something that made me Google something that led to something. In this case, it was The Course In Miracles, which I assume many of you are familiar with. To make it short: a psychologist claimed Jesus dictated this good-sized book to her that says the Bible is wrong and that God is a Christian Scientist. In other words, there’s no such thing as disease or evil or pain, it’s just wrong thinking.

Now, one of the most spiritual people I have known was my Uncle Allen, who happened to be a Christian Scientist, hardcore. He died not really for but because of his beliefs — no medicine to treat what must have been raging diabetes, no doctor to give him suggestions on high blood pressure to help avoid what became his end — a full blown stroke. It has never made sense to me. Frankly, I’m not sure why God and/or healing can’t easily be in a pill or in the compassion of a doctor, but, hey, that’s why I’m not a Christian Scientist and am not likely to be converting this to a blog/site on Course In Miracles anytime soon.

I dug up my copy of the Course and tried to read a bit of — it’s been a while since I looked at the thing. It was given to me by a friend. It was painful. Why, I wonder, didn’t the “scribe” for this book simply say, “Here, look, it’s my ideas and have a go at them” instead of attributing it to Jesus? Beyond that one, where does someone get off telling the cancer-ridden child that disease isn’t “real” and the kid had better get his or her thinking straight?

Yes, of course, the book has done well for some people, I assume. But rather than get into all the details and assertions and turgid presentation, I’d rather just cut to the chase.

(“Finally!” you sigh and you couldn’t be more right.)

My point is, why do we seem to follow things like the convoluted writings of things such as the Course, the teachings of Gurdjieff (as a local church promotes itself as a combination of Christian mysticism and that writer) or what-have-you? Why do we insist on making things so complicated? Is it in the spirit of, “Well, this is esoteric, secret decoder ring kind of stuff, so let’s make it really obscure and overly difficult to wade through”?

My experience seems to say that that the deeper one goes, the more simple the Truth becomes. The countless words of the Course of Miracles or of Gurdjieff or whoever, myself included, are like little waterbugs zipping around on the surface of pond. To know the pond’s essence (it’s hidden treasure, shall we say) one doesn’t have become an expert on the reflections in the water’s surface, the barometric interface of elements of the meeting point of the air and the liquid, the velocity of the bugs in motion, or even which bugs are members of the “right” group of bugs in order to know the pond, etc.

The real essence of the pond is overlooked, but amazingly obvious if only, as Jesus said, we just have eyes and ears to see and hear. At the real depth of the pond there is simplicity in knowing the pond – Water. That’s it. To actually know the pond one has to decide to be simple-minded and to dive in. The great Indian spiritual teacher Ramakrishna said it best:

“Dive deep, O mind, dive deep in the Ocean of God’s beauty; / If you can plunge to the uttermost depths, / There you will find the gem of Love.

All I am saying (in too many words), is that the longer I am on the spiritual path the more clearly it seems to me that it is not a question of more that will allow you to travel down the road, but less. Not the theologically complex, but the absurdly simple. Not hidden beneath Di Vinci Codes and secret organizations but right there, in plain site, so clear and so easy to see that we simply do not see it. As my zen friends say, “We are riding an ox in search of an ox.”

Perhaps that is why Jesus was so adamant that one must be like a child — uncomplicated and direct — to know the Kingdom of Heaven, the Presence of God here and now.



p.s. My finger is tapping at the desk in search of the delete key on this entire entry. After all, I did get it out of my system, for the moment.


[Don’t delete it! I think that was wonderful!

I once heard a pastor describe an interview he heard with Mother Teresa and the new anchor was asking her about prayer.

He asked her what she says to God when she prays and she said, “nothing”. He asked her what God says to her when she prays and she said, “nothing”.

There was more to it, but I thought that picture of communion with God in such a simple and yet deep way was beautiful.

I remember one time when I was by myself, walking to my room at a retreat center, I asked God what I should do with the time I had before the next meeting. I thought maybe I could go talk to someone who needed a listening ear or do something for someone etc… Then in His quiet way, He spoke to me and said, “meet me on the lanai”. (We lived in Hawaii at the time.)

So I went to my room, got my bible and sat out on the lanai looking out over the west waters off O’ahu. As I sat there I felt God’s presence in a natural way, just as if He were sitting next to me looking at the same scene. I wanted to open my bible and read something to talk to Him about or to find a topic to discuss with Him but when I tried, I just knew that wasn’t what He meant when He told me to meet Him.

So I just sat with Him, knowing He was there and we were sharing some time enjoying what He made. I’ll never forget that day. It was so simple.]


[I loved this. In my own spiritual journey, I’ve more or less abandoned the complex, the “secret,” the great theological debates for one thing; Love in Jesus Christ. It’s like in City Slickers when Curly tells them that there is only the “one thing” that matters. But he never tells them what it is. Why? Because that “one thing” is different for everyone. What is that “one thing” that is more important than anything else?

Thanks for the wonderful post!]


[I appreciate your sentiment. I loved the Zen comment, I am writting that one down (was it LaoSe?).

Anyway, I am puzzled by something and I thought that maybe you might shed some light on this: Why is it that living well is not enough, why is belief in Jesus essential?

If I simply lived simply, lived morally, and made an effort to do only kind and just actions, why is that not enough? Or is that enough?]


[I enjoyed that rant! :-)

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus kept it so simple: Love God with all that you are, and your neighbor as yourself.

The devil is in the details I guess, so people feel like they have to analyze scripture, argue, debate and channel something or somebody to clarify *exactly* how we are supposed to fulfill that commandment. But wouldn’t God, being Divine Love, simply know when we are each doing our best to be loving humans, and love us despite the fact that we miss the mark set by our own hearts?

Love doesn’t need theological complexities and sophistication, just attention to the still small voice inside, and honesty with ourselves about what it calls us to do.]


Fantastic comments, all! I so much appreciate each and every one of your comments and am very, very grateful you would take the time to write them. I want to respond to each one, but maybe that’d be easier in some postings? Anyway, one question did stand out for me and I thought I’d offer a few words, hopefully helpful.

All of you pretty much said the same thing from different angles, which is wonderful. I’d suggest everybody might look at the interview of Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete which is hidden away on the site at:

He is a Catholic priest who is a refreshing kind of mystic (but you may have to run the interview up a bit as noted on the page to get past some of the odd wanderings of the interviewer.)

At one point he is asked something like this: “What about people that don’t ‘believe’ such as Buddhists and others. Can they get to Heaven?”

Albacete seems shocked and says, “Quicker than I will!” “Atheists?” the man asks, and Albacete replies with certainty, “Quicker than I will!”

My feeling is that we humans are the ones who make things “territorial” and nationalistic while God is inclusive and Loving and is open to all. We sometimes want to feel better about ourselves so we use God as a tool to give us a haughty sense of “righteousness” over those others. It’s spiritual bigotry, actually, and Jesus had absolutely no part of it and, therefore, I do not believe it can be a part of God.

In short, the one relationship that should be central in our life is our relationship to God and the nuances and individual nature of that. Becoming even remotely concerned about God’s relationship with this or that other person, beyond praying for the person’s happiness and completeness, are not within our power, so why use it as a way of “lording over” (pun?) another?