by Bil Aulenbach

Can I Save Myself?

I recently read Damascus Gate, a novel by Robert Stone that talks about Israel’s four-thousand-years-long quest for a Messiah. At one point, a character says, “I am my own Messiah.” Interesting!

For as long as I can remember, the church has told me that I can’t save myself. Is that because I’m not smart enough or because the church wants to control me and every facet of my life?

 As my favorite prayer says, “Whatever!”

Here are my thoughts.

I believe every adult must be her or his own Messiah or Christ and choose a foundation stone to live her or his life by. One could choose money, power, crime, sex, pornography, drugs, a religion, or a cult—to name a few.

For me, the historical Jesus is the guru who provides my foundation stone, agape.

For almost all my life, I have been trained as a critical thinker. I need to examine everything and then make my decisions. I do not trust the church to do that for me.

Sigmund Freud suggested that the church has invented a god, like a big daddy in the sky, to tell us obedient children how to live our lives. That’s called control. Freud said we need to grow up and be responsible for ourselves.

I like that idea. As an adult, I need to be my own Messiah and make responsible choices. I have chosen a Jewish peasant, Jesus, and his powerful message of agape to be the standard I live by.

I want my foundation stone to be unconditional love, which means accepting all people into this kin-dom, no matter where they are on their life’s journey. Instant forgiveness and caring are my daily tasks. But I must do the work. Neither a church nor Jesus nor anyone else can force me to show agape to the hurting world. I must be my own Messiah.

So why do I even bother with a church?

To me, church is about finding a group of like-minded folks who share my goals: to teach and preach agape as demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). This is more than a sweet story—it’s a call to action that we must answer daily.

I don’t trust institutional churches. From my vantage point, so many of them are simply cults that love to build fancy buildings rather than build lives. One of these churches would rather hide criminal priests than protect children.

I see other churches as havens to shelter people’s prejudices against the LGBTQUI community and women being equal citizens in the kin-dom or making their own decisions about their bodies. Some churches, maybe many, are simply fronts for white nationalists or black hate groups.

The bottom line is that I need to be my own Messiah so I can choose a Christ who will enrich and fulfill my life.

Are you your own Messiah?

Image courtesy of Leticia Bertin (CC BY 2.0)

2 Responses to Can I Save Myself?

  • “I believe every adult must be her or his own Messiah …….. or foundation stone to live her or his life by. One could choose money, power, crime, sex, pornography, drugs, a religion, or a cult—to name a few.”
    I believe therein lies the problem. Many have chosen one or more of the 8 you listed. Shoot some folks go for ’em all…
    Are they to be considered Messiahs, are they Christ like? Is 45 a Christ like figure? Not this week.
    I do dearly love many iconoclastic thoughts, but to consider choosing any of the 8 makes one Self Saved…bends my tiny mind.
    I believe there is only one, you mention it regularly…Agape. But it is not for me to judge is it? There is the second hardship…dang it.

  • I like your philosophy. I like to think I try to pattern my life and attitude after the teachings of Jesus. I don’t know about “salvation” though. I tend to think salvation is for this life. This may be all there is. I can see scientists looking out at our world and beyond. I know the middle earth is the place where molten lava is located, as well as water and oil and who know what else. I don’t see a hell in that location and we know how vast the heavens are…they seem to do on to “eternity”. I don’t see heaven out there in space.

    So maybe it’s located inside us…hell or heaven…who knows? My primary concern is continuing to learn more about God..wherever and whatever that may be…I suspect it is a “Spirit”….certainly not a human man or even a human woman. Science tells us nothing ever completely disappears. It just changes form.

    I have made some mistakes in judgment in my life…some serious and some inconsequential…but still mistakes. But I prefer to think of them as lessons learned in my “Journey” through life. So in a way, I guess I am my own savior.

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