I am a little embarrassed to admit this. Someone gave me Sylvia Browne’s book The Mystical Life of Jesus. It has been years since I read anything written by this self-proclaimed psychic. Maybe I have read two books, not sure. One I remember was about her traveling to heaven. I recall thinking, “If that is heaven, I sure don’t want to go there.”I am sure she described heaven according to what would appeal to her.
I am even more embarrassed to admit that I think I will finish the book, which Browne says she was asked to write. A part of me says I should be open to anyone’s interpretation of Jesus. Browne mentions scholars throughout the book, but she sure has left a lot of scholars off of her list. The “revelations” with which she expected to shock the world are somewhat commonly known today, albeit rejected by some bible-thumpers among us.
I want to say this: Sylvia Browne, as far as scholarship is concerned, is lazy. It is as though the request to write the book was an interruption in her busy schedule but because it was such an ego rush, she went ahead with it anyway. Browne has something few of us have. She has a spirit guide whose name is Francine who came into her body one day. I am not one to deny someone else’s spiritual experience. I have very respectable friends who believe that they can have communication with those who have died as well as angels. If I sense they are sincere, authentic people…and loving…I accept their claims until new information tells me otherwise. I will confess, I have had my own experiences that could be described using the language of angels.
But that is neither here nor there. Sylvia Browne, in writing her story of Jesus, deals lightly with scholars (very lightly) and the rest she attributes to Francine’s telling of the story. Francine told her, for example, that Jesus was of a wealthy class, not poor. I think he was of a class that today we would call “blue collar”, based on what I read of carpenters of the time and actual references in ancient scripts. Browne’s heaven’s streets are paved with gold (scriptural) and Jesus fit right into that world. There are many scriptural passages she says are simply not true and totally blames the patriarchal church for twisting words and conspiring to cover up the facts. This woman has a real chip on her shoulders.
As I study, I am coming to realize more and more the truth that Jesus came to preach the kingdom here and now. I could fill a pages with things he taught to make this point. Browne fits right in with all those evangelicals who look to the future to find heaven. She claims that it is not true that we have to believe a certain doctrine or repent of our sins in order to go to heaven. I sort of concur with her, though I would word it totally different. For me, sin stands in the way of seeing the kingdom already here. And sin continues to inhibit our expressing the love that characterizes kingdom people. And for me, Jesus shows me the way. He takes me by the hand, you might say.
The pages I am now reading are about the crucifixion. She has hinted at what she will reveal…I suspect it is that Jesus did not really die. There is actually some scholarly basis for this that I came across the other day in my studies – basis not for the fact that he didn’t die, but that there were writings attesting to the fact. These have been deemed to be fakes. Sylvia can talk to Francine about this. I suspect Francine will tell her – another conspiracy of the Catholic Church.
Yes, I will finish the book. I am almost done, anyway.
Poor Sylvia. No, poor followers of Sylvia. There is so much more to the message of Jesus that I am afraid you may never understand.