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Christ Sutras: The Complete Sayings of Jesus from All Sources Arranged into Sermons Paperback – November 8, 2015
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Christ Sutras is inspirational.
The author, Bart Marshall, an awakened spiritual teacher, conveys his exceptional honesty, insight, sensitivity and intuition to this work. He combines, organizes, edits and, where warranted, enhances the meaning of every saying, both biblical and apocryphal, attributed to Jesus. These are expertly organized according to topics into 42 sermons. 20 of which are not in the New Testament. Frankly, I was astonished by the clarity, vibrancy, depth and poignancy of these sermons. They invoke a spiritual presence. Each sermon is rich and takes time to digest. Reading one sermon each morning and/or evening may be best.
Christ Sutras has universal appeal.
I am not a historian, nor a Christian, but have studied religion since grade school. This book brings life and meaning to the teachings of Christ like none other I have read. Christ's sermons are unique in delivery and vocabulary, but the symmetry, similarity and parity of Christ’s message to and with all known religious-spiritual-mystical teachings and teachers throughout time, including Buddha, is simply and stunningly apparent.
Christ Sutras is powerful.
The essential quality of this work is the sense of immediacy and feel of authenticity in the sermons. A reader may notice an easy resonance with the teachings in Christ Sutras which open possibilities. Spiritual understanding and inspiration is possible. Some may even find the initial impetus to have a spiritual life. The importance of this possibility cannot be overstated. The books that contain it are rare. Christ Sutras is one of them.
Christ Sutras is essential reading.
The magic of this book must be attributed, in large part, to the way Bart Marshall fashioned it. Christ Sutras is created with the same focus, diligence and brilliance as his previous book, The Perennial Way, an excellent compilation of translations of many seminal eastern titles reworked as only one with his measure of love, understanding and insight could successfully attempt. Every stanza in Christ Sutras is a prayer, a meditation, an invitation. Whether your interest is in Christianity, religion, spirituality, humanism or poetry you should read this book, and not just once, and/or give it to someone else. It should be on everyone’s nightstand. In my humble opinion, Christ Sutras should supplant Gideon's Bible. It is a monumental work!
PS The book is illustrated with remarkable personal "portraits" of Jesus Christ by Rembrandt
However, there are two fundamental problems for those of us interested in Jesus’ life. One is that the lack of certainty about what he actually said; the other is the lack of internal consistency among the wide range of sayings attributed to him.
Some years ago there was a cover story on Time magazine that reported on a large conference of Bible scholars, including what were considered the top three in the world. Their job was to read and vote on all the sayings of Jesus in the four gospels. Under the category of “Did he actually say this statement?” there were zero votes! Under the category of “He might have said this” there were only 20% of the scholars saying yes.
When I read the Christ Sutras I found sayings that varied from the sublime to the judgemental. Of the latter here is an example:
“ Truly, I will cast her (Jezebel) onto a bed of suffering,
and those who commit adultery with her will be thrown into
great tribulation unless they repent of her ways.
I will strike her children dead. And all the churches
will know that I am he who sees the mind and heart,
and who will assign to each of you what your deeds deserve.
I find it impossible to believe that a loving Jesus would make such a statement (and there are quite a few other similar statements in the Christ Sutras).
As such the teachings in this book lack consistency, so one needs to act as one’s own editor as it does contain some wonderful sayings.
For myself I find consistent sayings of Jesus in the book A Course in Miracles which contains over 700 Bible corrections. I will finish by contrasting a passage from the Christ Sutras with a related passage in A Course in Miracles.
Do not think that I come to bring peace on earth.
I come not to bring peace but a sword.
I come to "set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law," and so it will be that
"a man's enemies will be those of his own household."
A Course in Miracles:
T-6.I.13. The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.
T-6.I.14. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the "wrath of God" as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
T-6.I.15. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, "I come not to bring peace but a sword." This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The "punishment" I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
T-6.I.16. As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it. The crucifixion was the result of clearly opposed thought systems; the perfect symbol of the "conflict" between the ego and the Son of God. This conflict seems just as real now, and its lessons must be learned now as well as then.