What is “Born Again”?

February 20, 2008 at 8:09 am Leave a comment

 My friend Kim asked me about being “born again” and what it meant to me. Well, I certainly had thoughts about it but had never really had to make them concrete. It was an interesting process and, I must admit, it was kind of scary because I wasn’t sure where it would go. I gave her an answer but continued to mull it over. Here are my fuller thoughts:Being “born again” is a hot button topic in the church today. Christians use it as the means of “saving” people, because Jesus commanded the disciples to go throughout the world, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Add to this the misconstrued comment that “no one comes to the Father, except by me” and you have a recipe for forcing Christianity on people. Stun ‘em with glitz, sign ‘em up and hope they stick around after you move on. Whatever happens, you’ve done your part and “saved” them. This approach speaks neither to the mind, nor the heart, the two key parts of the human being. It speaks only to emotion and rashness.

In the bible story of Nicodemus, Jesus advises Nicodemus that one must be born again and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and probably being a wise guy, wonders how one can enter into their mother’s womb a second time. Of course you can’t, so it is necessary for Jesus to explain that he is talking of spiritual birth. Jesus spoke to the heart (the resting place of the Spirit), while Nicodemus listened with his head (the resting place of the physical being). Jesus clearly explains the two; saying that what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Nicodemus doesn’t recognize there are two parts to our being. He is only aware of the physical part, even though he is a spiritual leader.

It’s a long, contentious story about how the physical world came to be and how religion was invented. You are welcome to your own interpretation of these events, but after studying the subject, here is how I see our presence here: The source that is the root of everything created is the same source, or repository of the “spark”, that is our spiritual being. That spark migrates from the timeless, eternal realm into this physical, finite one via our earthly mother, thus becoming a physical being. Our physical world is so full of stimulus for the senses and emotions, that our spiritual side is overwhelmed as our physical self revels in the experience of physicality. All of the good and bad things to touch, taste, see, hear and smell! All of the good and bad feelings to experience; joy, heartache, love, anxiety, greed, satiation, envy and on and on. But one day, the physical body wears out and is no longer viable and then our spirit migrates back to its origin. During the time we spend in this realm, we can live solely in the physical and leave the spirit buried within and undeveloped until it is released, but then, as Jesus intimates, we are missing something.

I would say, at some time in life, most people consider where we came from and what it is all about. That may be the extent of their spirituality. What Jesus wants us to know, is that there is more. Our spiritual self lays embedded somewhere, somehow within our physical being. We must search out that small spiritual spark inside and nurture it. Once located and recognized, it grows and becomes a part of our whole being, allowing us to have a fuller life in this physical creation, or as Jesus would say, “have life and have it abundantly”. Finding and feeding that spark within is becoming “born again” – born in/of the Spirit.

Jesus goes on to finish this story with the famous passage of John 3:16 and ends by saying that God did not send his Son (the Spirit) into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him. This is one of those passages where people get the idea that Jesus is the only one to save us. Well, I think it is the Spirit (or the Christ) that saves us (after all, it’s called Christianity, not “Jesusanity”) and that highly developed Christ Spirit is found in many in history people besides Jesus. The Sprit (or the Christ) is saving us from living an incomplete and unfulfilled life during this physical experience. To realize that, one must be “born again.”

Hmmm… this turned into a bit of a rant and I have more thoughts but I’m still not sure where it all will go. I’m finding this to be an interesting journey. Please give me your comments and I will do more on this later.


Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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