Putting on the mind of Christ – Jim Marion

Putting on the mind of Christ is a book that outlines the spiritual levels of development. Psychology has its own stages of development. For example: babies do not understand time. So when a baby is hungry or gets hurt it begins to wail uncontrollably. It does not know that it will get fed or that the pain will go away. It seems like this distress is forever until it goes away. As the baby gets older it learns about time, that there is a world around it. Eventually it learns to think through other perspectives, and so on.

Likewise as spiritual babies we are unable to consider any other spiritual perspective other than our own. As we mature we learn of other perspectives, and hopefully we eventually learn to appreciate wisdom from other spiritual traditions as well as our own. These things and much more are outlined in Marion’s book.

Below is a graphic I found at: https://mazemike.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/marionmemes.jpg that give a short synopsis of Marion’s spiritual levels of development

Marian not only outlined the individual spiritual levels of development, but also notes where Churches and cultures fall among these levels. Most cultures have evolved to the rational stage, but some churches have remained in the mythic stage.

Personally I think that I am in the vision-logic stage. I am in the process of learning to identify myself with my true nature and to operate within the gifts of the spirit. However, as I outlined earlier in this blog, I have experienced a spiritual awakening and an ensuing dark night of the senses.

My friend pointed out to me that we all have all these different levels operating within ourselves, but that we are more aware or focused on some of them than others. He said that these levels align with the different chakras in our body. I have a book on order to talk more about the connection between these things and how you can more practically grow and heal.

Marian also few more sections to his book. The second section outlined special problems facing the Christian on the path to the kingdom of heaven. He talks about the problems of:

  1. Jesus’s last name (Christ) – Also heavily talked about in another book i read, the Universal Christ by Rohr
  2. good and evil – This involves thinking through oneness and duality as well as how we have heaped exaggerated guilt and shame upon the word sin.
  3. Jesus’s cross – how 4 understandings of its meaning are wrong. I will talk more about this in another post.
  4. God’s favorites – this talks about reincarnation and how it fits within Marion’s framework of understanding. Again, this is a topic I will talk about more in another post.

Marion’s 3rd and final section is titled “further reaches of the kingdom of heaven.” In this section are the chapters:

  1. The kingdom of heaven after death – Marion connects the spiritual levels of development with where people will end up in the levels of heaven and hell (not that they are stuck on these levels forever)
  2. The establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth – Marian speculates at the possibilities of human ability after this establishment.
  3. Where do we go from here – Marian speculates that the church will continue to develop into the ration level of development and that the form may change forever. Marian’s advice for individuals to continue to develop is to A. Assess where we are in the spiritual journey B . Listen to the still small voice of the spirit C. Work hard on ourselves D. Be patient E. Integrative practice: body (exercise, yoga, etc.), emotions (therapy, dreamwork), mind (spiritual reading), soul (meditation).

I really enjoyed Marion’s exploration of inner growth. No doubt he got some things wrong, but its nice to have a tangible example of how we can grow as pursuers of the spiritual and wisdom. So often Western culture focuses on the exterior over the interior and Christians in the West often reflect this as well. So if this sounds interesting to you pick up a copy of Marion’s book and let me know what you

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