One of the most important books to appear in recent years is called Putting on the Mind of Christ, by a man named Jim Marion, who, remarkably, is not a theologian but a Washington lawyer. His title is a statement in itself. “Putting on the mind of Christ” is a direct reference to St. Paul’s powerful injunction in Philippians 2:5: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” The words call us up short as to what we are actually supposed to be doing on this path: not just admiring Jesus, but acquiring his consciousness.
It’s true that for the better part of the past sixteen hundred years Christianity has put a lot more emphasis on the things we know about Jesus. The term “orthodox” has come to be interpreted as having the correct beliefs. Along with the overt requirement here (to learn what these beliefs are and agree with them) comes also a subliminal message: that the appropriate way to relate to Jesus is through a series of beliefs. In fundamentalist Christianity, this message tends to get even more accentuated, to the point where faith essentially appears to be a matter of signing on the dotted lines to a series of creedal statements.
Belief in Jesus is indistinguishable from belief about him. But this certainly wasn’t how it was done in the early church—nor can it ever be done this way if what we are really seeking is to come into a living relationship with this wisdom master. Jim Marion’s book returns us to the right ballpark—to the central challenge Christianity ought to be handing us.
Indeed, how do we put on the mind of Christ? How do we see through his eyes? How do we feel through his heart? How do we learn to respond to the world with that same wholeness and healing love? That’s what Christ consciousness really is….
Bourgeault, Cynthia. (2011). The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind–A New Perspective on Christ and His Message. Shambhala Publications [Kindle Edition], p. 29.