more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.


The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.

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« God and the stages of spiritual development | Main | descent »

spiritual stages, M. Scott Peck and Jesus

Stage I: Chaotic, Antisocial. Frequently pretenders; they pretend they are loving and pious, covering up their lack of principles. Although they may pretend to be loving (and think of themselves that way), their relationships with their fellow human beings are all essentially manipulative and self-serving. They really don’t give a hoot about anyone else. I call the stage chaotic because these people are basically unprincipled. Being unprincipled, there is nothing that governs them except their own will. And since the will from moment to moment can go this way or that, there is a lack of integrity to their being. They often end up, therefore in jails or find themselves in another form of social difficulty. Some, however, may be quite disciplined in the services of expediency and their own ambition and so may rise in positions of considerable prestige and power, even to become presidents or influential preachers.

Stage II: Formal, Institutional, Fundamental. Beginning the work of submitting themselves to principle-the law, but they do not yet understand the spirit of the law, consequently they are legalistic, parochial, and dogmatic. They are threatened by anyone who thinks differently from them, as they have the “truth,” and so regard it as their responsibility to convert or save the other 90 or 99 percent of humanity who are not “true believers.” They are religious for clear cut answers, with the security of a big daddy God and organization, to escape their fear of living in the mystery of life, the mystery of uncertainty in the ever moving and expanding unknown. Instead they choose the formulations, the stagnation of prescribed methods and doctrines that spell out life and attempt to escape fear. Yet these theological reasonings simply cover over fear, hide fear and do not transcend it in spite of with acceptance in expanding movement. All those outside of Stage II are perceived to be as Stage I, as they do not understand Stage III and Stage IV. Those who do fall, reverting from Stage II to Stage I are called “backsliders.”

Stage III: Skeptic, Individual, questioner, including atheists, agnostics and those scientifically minded who demand a measurable, well researched and logical explanation. Although frequently “nonbelievers,” people in Stage III are generally more spiritually developed than many content to remain in Stage II. Although individualistic, they are not the least bit antisocial. To the contrary, they are often deeply involved in and committed to social causes. They make up their own minds about things and are no more likely to believe everything they read in the papers than to believe it is necessary for someone to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior (as opposed to Buddha or Mao or Socrates) in order to be saved. They make loving, intensely dedicated parents. As skeptics they are often scientists, and as such they are again highly submitted to principle. Indeed, what we call the scientific method is a collection of conventions and procedures that have been designed to combat our extraordinary capacity to deceive ourselves in the interest of submission to something higher than our own immediate emotional or intellectual comfort–namely truth. Advanced Stage III men and women are active truth seekers.

Despite being scientifically minded, in many cases even atheists, they are on a higher spiritual level than Stage II, being a required stage of growth to enter into Stage IV. The churches age old dilemma: how to bring people from Stage II to Stage IV, without allowing them to enter Stage III.

Stage IV: Mystic, communal. Out of love and commitment to the whole, using their ability to transcend their backgrounds, culture and limitations with all others, reaching toward the notion of world community and the possibility of either transcending culture or — depending on which way you want to use the words — belonging to a planetary culture. They are religious, not looking for clear cut, proto type answers, but desiring to enter into the mystery of uncertainty, living in the unknown. The Christian mystic, as with all other mystics, Sufi and Zen alike, through contemplation, meditation, reflection and prayer, see the Christ, Gods indwelling Spirit or the Buddha nature, in all people, including all the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and so forth, recognizing the connectedness of all humanity with God, never separating oneself from others with doctrine and scripture, recognizing that all scripture acts as fallible pointers of inspiration, unable to capture the essence of truth outside of both human perception and the linguistic straight jacket of language and articulation, that is, the words of fallible men who experienced the nature of God, that of their inner true self, and attempted to record their experience in human words, words constrained by the era of time they were written in that became compromised the moment they were penned and are further removed from objectivity when interpreted by us, fallible men and women who read them. M.Scott Peck~Different Drum


Jesus was a stage 4. Which explains why he was treated the way he was.

Stage 2 people are threatened by people more than one stage above them. They flat out don't trust them, are jealous of them, are angry at them. The Pharisees, for example, are the illustrations of level 2 law-followers. They are bounded. They have traditions that help them feel safe, ways that help them feel safe, structure and agreements which help them feel safe. They are safely surrounded by their norms. And Jesus is upsetting their norms and is quite at ease as He does this. That is infuriating. A religious person at home with himself is unnerving when you are stuck in stage two having resisted all intrusions of stage three doubt for years. There is no way to become a level 4 without passing through the dark wilderness of level 3. Mark that down. You must pass through the dark night of the soul to see the dawn of 'a new day'. A stage 4 mystic is just an 'out there idealist' who has a spiritual maturity levels twos lack and this mystic is a threat to their control.

There are two types of stage one people. One type might be called the narcissistic or entitled group. The world revolves around them and their needs. In a way decisions and the path of life are easy for these people. If it helps me succeed then it is good. Often the can be climbers. They ascend because they are very focused and tend to 'go for it'. They rise because they seldom if ever stop along the way to reach back and help a fellow traveler. And they don't really feel bad about that. level ones get other level ones. They may 'hate themselves for who they are' (a.k.a. Carly Simons' song about her upper-class Simon and Shuestor parents in the song 'That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be') at times but generally the perks outweigh the downside and frankly society rewards this type of 'gusto grabbing' mentality. People like this 'go for it' and often reach it. Sometimes they hit a crisis and 'it' is seen to be empty and they move forward. Other times they just live in this world and never progress or shift. 

The other type of level one stage is the backsliding stage 1 people. These people have tried to be a part of community and failed. These people love Jesus the stage 4 mystic. Why? Because they are the backslider of stage two systems. Stage one is filled with failure in Jewish culture. You ought to be a part of community mores. You ought to be a part of the neighborhood without falling into sin. Adulterers, whores, greedy tax collectors, the rabble, all these were in love with this mystical Jesus who offered them a way in 'just as they were'. It may not have made sense and was quite mysterious, nontheless it was 'good, no, great news'. They were the ones that could never quite measure up to the Level 2 demands of inclusion.

The stage 3 people love Jesus too. The reason? They know that the 'emperor has no clothes'. They have come to doubt the promises of level 2 belief systems. They have no respect for level 2 and haven't for a long, long, time. Now comes Jesus who has transcended the cynicism and hopelessness of level three adolescence. Here s a mentor. Someone who has been where they are and has come out on the other side wholly erect and spiritually intact. Jesus is th level 3 delivered back to faith. Level 3 desperately want to be delivered. They know that the emergence from the confines of level 2 have left them vulnerable even as they scoff at level two rule makers. They can't go back and they don't know the way forward. But this Jesus does know the way forward and the level three skeptic recognises this. They have seen the counterfeit, the weighed and found wonting. They are ripe for the real deal. Jesus is that, Jesus is the real deal. They love Him.

There are very few level 4's but the ones who have made the transition, the Mary's, Zachariah, Hannah's, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea's have found a comrade. A mystic who can stand against the masses.

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