God as an Inner Experience

I have been trying to reconcile an inward development of spirituality with my outward-oriented Catholic upbringing for quite a few years now. I love the historical and spiritual significance of Jesus and still bring my children to church in order to experience a sense of spirit and love and to help instill the habit of taking time for gratitude. I believe however that there are many paths to God. Being raised in this faith tradition, I will continue along this path but without the religious dogma. It is an uncomfortable balancing act at times.

I recently attended a talk on the early Christian church which described how the bible came to be. I asked the question of whether there might have been some misinterpretation of Jesus’ teachings by the apostles. I had hoped that the professor would tell me that indeed, Jesus’ teachings could also be understood to be about developing an inward God consciousness. I have clung to the scripture “Be still and know that I am here” as evidence. But instead the Professor told me that at the time the Greeks were furthering an image of God which was “nearby”, and so in response, the Jews wanted to paint a picture of an all- knowing God which was very “far away.” Therefore, he felt that the apostles did not understand Jesus’ teachings to mean anything internal. It seems to me that perhaps there was some evidence of this however. I have often wondered why, for example, the story of Easter does not properly end with the story about Pentecost? Why, in other words, was the spiritual-mystical component not highlighted? It seems to be that perhaps this might be the whole point of the story of Jesus crucifixion.

Any help you can offer to help reconcile these thoughts would be greatly appreciated.