If you have not read the prophetic book called The Greening of America by Charles A. Reich, you missed a work that was truly prescient and ahead of its time. The emergence of Consciousness 3 was the author's recognition of what we would now call a global awareness that provincial chauvinism had seen its day and that the human race had it within our grasp to do permanent damage to the planet. Unfortunately, after a period of popularity, the book slipped into its slot in the time frame of the late Twentieth Century and is seldom referenced. But the concept of Consciousness 3 has risen again.
Last week I heard a discussion on MSNBC's program All In, during which the host Chris Hayes led a group of liberal commentators on a discussion of the American demographic called the Millennials. I have already written about that, but another group that was mentioned is known as Gen C; this is not strictly speaking a demographic, but rather a "psychographic" that is made up of like-minded people.
The Gen-C people share a consciousness that places little-to-no emphasis on the hot-button topics of the Culture Wars--that's the first thing that got my attention. Gen-C consciousness places very little importance on formal religion or sexual orientation; the Culture Wars for them are over, or they never began.
So you don't have to be between any two ages to belong to the psychographic called Gen C. You simply have to be free from racial prejudice and uninfluenced by the hate that is being preached in the name of Jesus--which is my personal definition of The Unforgivable Sin. Obviously, there are few evangelical fundamentalists who belong to Gen C (although there must be a few). The evangelical Church clings to their hate with a fervor that is in direct proportion to how terrified they are of God--the God of the Old Testament, which is why it seems to me that they do not actually believe what Christianity teaches us about a loving God.
But as I say every time I get the chance, there is no such thing as Old-Testament Christianity. Clinging to the Old Testament is what produced, over time, what we may call Consciousness H. It is the Hate Consciousness, the desire to elevate yourself by looking down at others. If you live in terror of God, you will pay any price and mouth any sentiments in order to fool yourself into believing that you can be certain that "I am not as other men." But we must remember that Jesus said that the man who stood in the Temple and thanked God that he was not as other men was not "justified," as he put it.
Just so, we cannot stand on the shoulders of others and then rejoice naively in how exalted we are. The "Levitical Christians" who claim that Christianity should be rewritten into an enforcement of the Old-Testament Book of Leviticus are wasting their time with an exercise in futility. Jesus, as a Jew, never considered that the Law was not righteous--but he was not a Pharisee like St. Paul, who understood early on that the Law had been superseded by the emerging Church and the New Covenant. Paul was an expert on every sentence of the Law; he knew, for example, that it was no longer valid to kill your own people because of their clothing.
Jesus' whole ministry was sharply different from that of John the Baptist, who preached that Israel had departed from the Law, starting with the King, like other classic prophets. What Jesus did was take his consciousness that God was loving and understanding to the people who were like sheep without a shepherd. He told them that the Law was not all there was to it; he ate with "publicans and sinners" and broke the Sabbath laws to find something to eat. We did not live for the Law, he stressed, but the Law existed for us, to lead us into a godly life.
It is also very likely, if not certain, that Paul knew the circumstances of Jesus' birth--something so irregular that Joseph originally considered terminating his engagement to Mary because she was pregnant by another man. Paul did not ever speak of a Virgin Birth--he knew that the decision had been that Mary was not guilty under the law, not that she was a virgin mother. But Paul also knew that the reality of the emerging Church was its realization of Jesus' consciousness that God was unconditionally loving, not an angry superhuman waiting impatiently to torture millions of people throughout eternity. Nor was God well served if Joseph decided to have Mary stoned to death in the street, which he could have done under the circumstances.
So if you enjoy the realization of God's unconditional love, and don't care who your friends love--and support their right to love whom they love--welcome to Gen C. This is where we are going, much to the discomfort of those who are trying to hold back the tide with a teaspoon, as the saying goes.
But more importantly, those who are trying to silence Jesus and persecute the LGBT community, to say nothing of their seditious attitude towards our President and the American government, will only accomplish one thing: they will put their churches out of business. They are doing it right now.
For more info: you can get a copy of The Greening of America from amazon.com or alibris.com; nowadays it is quite inexpensive.