What Jesus Means to Me
As a child, I was indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christianity which taught me that I was sinful and unclean by nature, and that if I didn't believe that Jesus died as a sacrifice to make me acceptable to God, I would be damned to hell for all eternity. When I later came to doubt the existence of such a punitive God, I began to see Jesus as simply a "good man" who died for his beliefs. However, during my subsequent spiritual journey in search of inner peace (described in detail in my book, Kundalini and the Morning Star), Jesus gradually took on vitally important new meaning for me. Early on in my active journey, as I was struggling to deal with panic attacks, I dreamed that I was swimming in a dense fog, and could see nothing but a faint light in the distance. Beside me was someone, whom I didn't recognize, trying to guide me to the light. I later came to accept that this dream personage was Jesus. Not long after, as I was questioning the validity of the Bible, I opened the New Testament at random, as a sort of test, and read the first words I saw - the words of Jesus: "Take up your cross daily, and follow me". When I then started researching the real Jesus, and discovered the "Gnostic Gospels", in particular the Gospel of Thomas, I was excited to learn that the salvation offered by Jesus involved an inner journey rather than simply a belief in sacrificial death. I am not saying that Jesus did not willingly die on the cross, but I am saying that his death was not a prerequisite for our becoming acceptable to God. As a result of his own spiritual journey, Jesus understood that salvation lay in uncovering the true self that is denied in childhood as a result of various untruths we are taught and outright abuse to which we are subjected, either in this or a past life. We who later suffer from mental illness were denied our birthright in childhood, which is unconditional love that fosters self-love. Coming to grips with the devastating consequences to my own psyche was a long and painful process. Indeed, I had already been struggling for many years (with difficult times thankfully interspersed with healing events bringing periods of relative calm and tranquility) when, at perhaps my lowest point, the spirit of Jesus intervened in a completely unexpected manner (as described in my book). As a result, I can now proclaim that Jesus is my savior. I love him and consider myself to be his disciple.
Robert Keith Rinne's work focuses on the healing of mental illness, particularly where such illness has been fostered by fundamentalist religion. He and his wife have raised four children. As a family, they were always open about Robert’s own struggles and their individual spiritual journeys. Robert is now semi-retired but continues to offer spiritual counseling.