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The Tao of Christ

The Tao of Christ is a podcast which explores the mystical roots of Christianity, which Jesus called the Kingdom of God, which church historian Evelyn Underhill called the Unitive Life, which Richard Rohr calls the Universal Christ, and which I refer to as Christian nonduality, unitive awareness, or union with God. This is the Tao of Christ.

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Experiencing God Directly: The Way of Christian Nonduality

In this episode I begin reading from my 2013 book “Experiencing God Directly: The Way of Christian Nonduality.”We can know God directly. We can have immediate awareness of oneness with God in the present moment. It is not mediated through a church, a religion, a creed or a spiritual path. This is not theological knowledge about God. It is not a religious experience facilitated by a worship service. It is not a spiritual experience elicited by religious disciplines or practices. It is not a revelation of God mediated through Scripture or communicated by spiritual teachers. This is direct unmediated awareness of God.Jesus called this the Kingdom of God. He experienced it at his baptism, and it was his earliest message. Jesus described it to Nicodemus as being “born of the Spirit.” The apostle Paul referred to it as being “in Christ.” It was Moses’ experience of God as “I AM” at the Burning Bush. It was the experience of Job when he met God in the whirlwind. It produces what the New Testament calls the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives - qualities like Love, Joy, and Peace. It is “the peace that surpasses all human understanding.” It is sometimes called nondual awareness. This is just another term for union with God. It is the experience of mystics in the Christian tradition, and it is echoed in other spiritual traditions. It is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is Jesus Christ. This is the heart of Christianity. And it is available now. All we have to do is wake up to this always present awareness of God. 

21mins

6 May 2019

Rank #1

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Rethinking Salvation

This episode explores the common misunderstanding in Christianity that individuals are saved. No person is saved. People can’t be saved. In fact the person – that is the persona, the ego, or the self – has to die in order for salvation to be realized. Salvation is recognizing that our true nature is not our individual selves but that which lays behind all personas – behind the masks we wear and the roles we play. 

17mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Christian Nonduality - The Wayless Way

"The wayless way is where the sons of God lose themselves and at the same time find themselves." Meister EckhartSo far these episodes about Experiencing God Directly have been an attempt to describe the nondual Christian experience of God. In this episode entitled “The Wayless Way,” I go beyond description and point the reader directly to God. I make this as personal as I can and describe my own practice of abiding in God. Section headings are:God as Wholly OtherGod as Eternal One

25mins

30 May 2019

Rank #3

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Jesus as a Proclaimer of Nonduality

"I and the Father are One." - Jesus of NazarethIn this episode I continue reading from my 2013 book “Experiencing God Directly: The Way of Christian Nonduality.”Chapter 1 - Jesus as a Proclaimer of NondualityChapter 2 - Unborn AgainWe can know God directly. We can have immediate awareness of oneness with God in the present moment. It is not mediated through a church, a religion, a creed or a spiritual path. This is not theological knowledge about God. It is not a religious experience facilitated by a worship service. It is not a spiritual experience elicited by religious disciplines or practices. It is not a revelation of God mediated through Scripture or communicated by spiritual teachers. This is direct unmediated awareness of God.Jesus called this the Kingdom of God. He experienced it at his baptism, and it was his earliest message. Jesus described it to Nicodemus as being “born of the Spirit.” The apostle Paul referred to it as being “in Christ.” It was Moses’ experience of God as “I AM” at the Burning Bush. It was the experience of Job when he met God in the whirlwind. It produces what the New Testament calls the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives - qualities like Love, Joy, and Peace. It is “the peace that surpasses all human understanding.” It is sometimes called nondual awareness. This is just another term for union with God. It is the experience of mystics in the Christian tradition, and it is echoed in other spiritual traditions. It is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is Jesus Christ. This is the heart of Christianity. And it is available now. All we have to do is wake up to this always present awareness of God. 

33mins

10 May 2019

Rank #4

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The Nondual Kingdom of Jesus

A while ago a clergy friend read my book on Christian Nonduality, and then asked me, “Do you really preach this stuff?’ I replied, “Yes, I do. But I do so very carefully.” By that I mean that I preach it from scripture and in a way that people in traditional Christian churches can hear the message.Today on this podcast I am presenting one of those sermons. This one was preached earlier this month –September 1, 2019 - at the Moultonboro United Methodist Church in Moultonboro NH. The scripture texts that I used were Matthew 4:12-17 and Matthew 13:11-17. In this message I explore what Jesus meant by his proclamation “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” 

22mins

20 Sep 2019

Rank #5

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The Blasphemous Spirituality of Jesus

In this episode we look at another passage in the Christian scriptures that speaks of unitive awareness. One of the most powerful and controversial passages in the Bible is found in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. It is John 10:34-38: Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken — do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

18mins

27 Aug 2019

Rank #6

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The New Pilgrims Progress – Part 9 – The Mystic Mountains

The New Pilgrim’s Progress is a modern retelling of John Bunyan’s 17th century classic “Pilgrim’s Progress.” After escaping from the Dark Knight’s dungeon, Pilgrim and Truthful continue following the Way to the Celestial City. They come to the foothills of the Mystic Mountains where they meet some shepherds who offer them hospitality. The shepherds take them on a tour of the various parts of the Mystic Mountains. They show them the Hill of Pride, Mount Fear, the Doors of Perception, Mount Transfiguration and the Lamasery, where they get a brief glimpse of the Dalai Lama. They see Shangri-La, made famous by novelist James Hilton. They see the highest peak of the Mystic Mountains, Mount Advaita, hidden in the clouds. From Inspiration Point they finally get a glimpse of their destination, the Pearly Gates of the Celestial City. 

15mins

15 Jul 2019

Rank #7

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The Tao of Christ: A Christian Version of the Tao Te Ching - Part 3

Chapters 47-81 of the Tao Te Ching

31mins

1 May 2019

Rank #8

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What is Christian Nonduality?

In this episode I define and explore the meaning of nonduality or non-dualism as perceived from a Christian perspective. Referencing Christian contemplatives like Richard Rohr and Evelyn Underhill, I make the case that non-duality is the core of the Christian faith, going back to the very beginnings of Christianity. It is not theology. It is not philosophy. It is an experiential and intuitive awareness of union with God, Christ, and all there is. I then explore how it is related to Christian theology and my own Christian experience. 

15mins

30 Jul 2019

Rank #9

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Christian Nonduality - The Story of Me

This is the final episode of “Experiencing God Directly: The Way of Christian Nonduality.” It is the epilogue to my 2013 book by the same title. In “The Story of Me,” I give a brief personal account of how a Baptist preacher came to the nondual awareness of God and how I interpret it within the Christian tradition. 

19mins

3 Jun 2019

Rank #10

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Earth Spirituality

This episode explores our spiritual connection to the earth as described in the creation stories of Genesis. I look at the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2 and how they speak of the spiritual dimension of our existence. We are the earth conscious of itself. We are the universe conscious of itself. This is what it means to be formed of the earth and made in the image of God.  

7mins

8 Sep 2019

Rank #11

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Eternity in our Hearts – The Christian Experience of Enlightenment

The term Enlightenment, when used in a spiritual or religious context, normally refers to the awakening experience of the Buddha and other religious sages of India and the East. It is a common term in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Nondualism. But for most Christians, the word “enlightenment” feels foreign, having nothing to do with the Christian faith and Western religion. But actually both the word and the concept of enlightenment are found in Christianity and even in the Christian scriptures.In this teaching the term enlightenment is explored, using a verse from Ecclesiastes as a basis: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” I look at the use of the term in the New Testament and the corresponding experience in Jesus and the earliest disciples. I also share my own experience of being aware of the eternity that is at the heart of every human being.

13mins

26 Apr 2020

Rank #12

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Prayer and Nonduality

The Tao of Christ is a podcast which explores the mystical, intuitive, and contemplative side of Christianity. In particular it explores what has been historically called the unitive life and union with God. I call it Christian nonduality, nondualism, and unitive awareness. Recently a listener from Vancouver asked if I would address the topic of prayer from the perspective of unitive awareness and Christian nonduality. In this episode I look at how traditional Christian prayer is not incongruous with nonduality but is included within it. I describe my understanding and practice of both contemplative prayer and traditional forms of verbal prayer, as well as the practice of congregational worship.  

18mins

14 Sep 2019

Rank #13

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Christian Theology and Nonduality

The Tao of Christ is a podcast which explores the mystical, intuitive, and contemplative side of Christianity. In particular it explores what has been historically called the unitive life and union with God. I call it Christian nonduality, nondualism, and unitive awareness. As a Christian, one issue that is continually raised in conversation is the relationship between Christian doctrine and mysticism. How does nonduality relate to Christian theology? Does traditional Christian doctrine contradict or rule out the type of spirituality that Christian nonduality speaks of? Conservative Christians consider the contemplative or mystical approach to the spiritual life to be heresy. That is because they mistake the mystics’ use of religious language to be theology. It is not theology; it is a description of one’s awareness of God. In this episode I show how traditional Christian theology can be used to express nondual awareness. As an example I discuss the Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth and show how it communicates the reality of union with God. 

27mins

2 Sep 2019

Rank #14

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Not I But Christ

In this episode I explore how Christian non-dualism is rooted in the teachings of the Christian scriptures, and in particular how it is taught in the most important verse in the New Testament – Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The “I” the old self, the false self, the illusory self, the ego or persona, is dead. It is not real. Instead Christ – the eternal, immortal Christ is our real Self. The experience of this no-self and union with the inner Christ is rooted in the Cross of Christ. It is incarnated and lived out in our lives in the qualities of faith and love. 

20mins

4 Aug 2019

Rank #15

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Christian Nonduality - God-Inquiry

"I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you!" - JobThank God for atheists! Atheists have taught me more about God than any preacher or seminary professor. They have shown me what God is not, and thereby pointed me toward who God is.  I credit the books of the so-called “New Atheists” with helping me identify and reject false gods and thereby redirect me to True God. Especially former Christian preachers who became atheists have deepened my Christian faith by pointing out the weaknesses of traditional understandings of God.My inquiry into God – like my inquiry into the nature of the self – has led me beyond the human conceptions of God to what Christian philosopher Paul Tillich calls “God beyond God.” The God of religion is nothing more than an idea in the mind. It is a construction of the human mind, a mental image. To worship a mental image of God is just as idolatrous as worshiping a graven image, and it is just as much a violation of the first and second commandments. The God of most theists is an idol. But God is real. The One God that Christian doctrines, icons, scriptures, and words point to is Ultimately Real. But ideas about God are not. We must not mistake the words used to describe God for God to whom they point. There is an old saying: Do not mistake the finger pointing to the moon for the moon itself. We must not mistake doctrine that points to Truth for Truth Itself. Road signs along the spiritual path are not the destination to which they point. In this chapter I explore those Christian doctrines that point us beyond ideas and bring us into the presence of God. I call them paradoxical pointers – doctrines like the trinity, incarnation, and theodicy – also known as the problem of suffering and evil. When allowed to fulfill their purpose these doctrines bring us into an experience of God. I also explore the ideas of whether True God is personal or impersonal. 

23mins

20 May 2019

Rank #16

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The New Pilgrims Progress – Part 7 - Truthful

The New Pilgrim’s Progress is a modern retelling of John Bunyan’s 17th century classic “Pilgrim’s Progress.” In this seventh part Pilgrim leaves the Prosperity Gospel Ministries and soon meets up with a fellow pilgrim named Truthful. Together they continue through the city of Megachurch. They visit Glassminster Cathedral, where they meet the Reverend Doctor Self-Esteem, the Christian Entertainment Center led by Pastor Showtime, the Market Driven Church pastored by a man in a Hawaiian shirt, and the Miracle Tabernacle, where evangelist Ben Hinny was healing people. Finally they leave the city of Megachurch behind. 

18mins

5 Jul 2019

Rank #17

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Christian Nonduality - The Power of Negative Thinking

"Emptiness, emptiness, all is emptiness." Book of Eccleciastes In this episode I explore the teaching of nonduality in the Wisdom tradition of the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Ecclesiastes and the Wisdom psalms. It is represented in the concept of “emptiness.” It is also present in the New Testament teaching about Christ, especially how God emptied himself in the Incarnation and the Cross of Christ. I explore the nondual concept of afterlife and consciousness after death in the Western tradition. Chapter sections are “The Emptiness of Christ,” “Eat, Drink, Chop Wood, Carry Water,” and “Don’t Take Your Self Seriously.”

19mins

25 May 2019

Rank #18

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Unitive Awareness

This podcast explores the mystical, intuitive, and contemplative side of Christianity. In particular it explores unitive awareness, also called Christian nonduality or nondualism, the unitive life and union with God. In this episode I lead the listener into an experience of unitive awareness. 

18mins

21 Aug 2019

Rank #19

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The New Pilgrims Progress – Part 11 – The Celestial City

The New Pilgrim’s Progress is a modern retelling of John Bunyan’s 17th century classic “Pilgrim’s Progress.” In this conclusion to the story Pilgrim and Truthful travel through Beulah Land and arrive at the River of Life, which has the Tree of Life growing on either side of the river. The pilgrims decide to spend the night on the riverbank before crossing the river in the morning. During the night Pilgrim has a dream/vision/revelation.When they awake they begin the crossing the river to the Celestial City. The crossing is difficult and the Destination is not what they thought. 

13mins

25 Jul 2019

Rank #20