God is not a Christian, nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu…God dwells with us, in us, around us, as us
Bishop Carlton Pearson
Bishop Carlton Pearson’s book is mind-bending. Here is a man who has forsaken all for the sake of the truth. In the words of the book which he has lived his life by, “the truth will set you free.” In his work he sets forth ideas like “spiritual industrial complex” and delves into the realm of non-dual awareness, shades of Eckhart Tolle, even though we note that non-dual awareness is more wide-spread than the Tolle phenomena. The Bishops reference to the “spiritual industrial complex” is reminiscent of remarks made by President Eisenhower who warned the United States about letting capitalist ideology (profit with no concern for humanity, my slant) be the guide for entry into any war. Bishop Pearson has brought this understanding to the realm of his own background and has seen how mega-churches, of which he was a pastor, are selling the social garb of religion to all comers and have moved away from the real truth of the spiritual life in religion. He clearly indicates in this work that spirituality and religion are more often than not – divorced. This is a startling admission from a man who was born into, in his own words, a fundamentalist Christian Pentecostal tradition.
The reader cannot help but ponder the fate of the Bishop. Making statements that smack of, the word he uses, heresy, the reader will wonder if the Bishop even has a church to go to, a church anywhere in the United States that would accept him. Indeed, the Bishop has found a place among free thinkers. It is interesting to note how painful it was for him to come to the realizations that he has in this text, and the courage it took to act on his findings.
This book is sprinkled with Bishop Pearson’s erudition. He goes to the roots of our understanding of religion, and the words that we use or don’t use appropriately in trying to understand it. He relays that one of the words used in the King James Version for religion is ‘superstition’. This, he says, is related to the fear, dread or reverence the ancients had for demons or spirits. He leaves nothing in the shadows in his hero’s quest. He tells us that his own Pentecostal tradition has its roots in voodoo, more correctly, to allay the reservations of the open minded reader; the Bishop relates how indigenous African tradition impacted his denomination.
Some readers will find this book disgusting, and others will marvel at its frankness, and the sheer courage it took for such a man to write it. An example of this breath of fresh air being reviled is the blog posting that relates someone recently returned to the fold of her Christian roots who concludes that Christian ‘doctrine’ is absolutely the only way to achieve the goal of spiritual life – salvation. The Bishop might concede that misconceptions by such people do abound. So we wonder. What brought on this current understanding in the autumn of Bishop Pearson’s life? Truly some, like the blogger might say that it was the ‘devil’ that has driven the Bishop to his current position. The thinking person will be astonished and wonder, what would be the impact on the world of enlightened religious leaders like Bishop Carlton Pearson!