Dearest Readers,

Yesterday I was at the CBC here in Whitehorse waiting to go into the studio with a couple of other artists for an interview about Nakai’s Homegrown Festival, in which I am performing this week. One of the fellows with me had heard about GITA: God in the Army, the show I’m doing, and asked me, “Are you religious, like Christian?”

Faster than a jack rabbit, I said, “No.” Immediately I regretted it. We went into the studio, did the interview and parted ways.

Later, upon reflection, I wished I’d responded differently. If given the chance again I would have said, “No, but I’d like to qualify that.”

There’s an expression about the difference between religion and spirituality that goes like this: Religion is for those who believe in Hell, Spirituality is for those who have been there.

The latter category fits me like a tailored suit and yet I do go to church. I don’t go all the time and I’m not a member of any particular church, in fact, I’ll go to pretty much any church for the experience, but I do attend religious services. Does that make me religious? Some would say yes. I say no.

I don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception or the Resurrection and those two things are pretty much the necessary requirements for being a Christian. I believe them to be stories, metaphors created by the followers of Jesus in the years after his death in order to come to grips with who he was, what happened to him, and the message he left behind.

This belief has come to me because I’ve done a lot of reading about “the historical Jesus”. The historical Jesus refers to the Jewish Mystic that he was and to the facts of his life that can be historically proven. It’s fascinating information but frustrating, even terrifying, because most of the Christian world has moved so far away from the historical message.

What is the historical message? It’s pretty simple: Love one another. Where does that message come from? According to historical scholars like John Crossan and Marcus Borg, it comes from Jesus’ Experience of Being. To Be Alive is to Dwell in the Experience of God. Or, if “God” makes you feel too religious, call it something else. Higher Guidance. Or The Life Force Energy of the Universe. Or Love Itself.

So if you ask me if I’m religious or Christian you’re going to get a pretty long answer. Like the saying goes: It’s complicated. But the core of both question and answer is rooted in simplicity: Let Love Rule.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Why is it so difficult to love one another? Could I keep it simple today and practice this very clear directive? I will do my best.