Christianity: Salvation vs. Enlightenment and the Mystical Body of Christ
In my experience of Christianity, the most important teaching of the faith is that of the Mystical Body of Christ. To be clear this is different from what Paul writes when he talks about people being the head of Christ and the hands of Christ etc. This is referring to the idea that everyone is part of the Mystical Body of Christ--those who are currently alive, those who are deceased, those who aren't Christian, and sometimes even all of creation. Typically this teaching isn't put at the center of Christianity. Usually, Christian churches put their emphasis on Salvation. Specifically defined as getting to Heaven after living a moral life on Earth. This kind of understanding of Christianity can sometimes lead to a rather dower approach to a life of faith. When we center seeing ourselves, others, and all of creation as part of the Mystical Body of Christ, Christianity starts to resemble an Enlightenment faith. One where we're not focused on the in-group of moral people versus the out-group of immoral people, but rather we're focused on including everyone in our circle of compassion, and seeing each person as uniquely presencing the Divine. The priest in Chocolat states this difference eloquently in his final homily of the movie: "I think we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do: by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
Living into Christianity as an enlightenment faith, and working to experience everything and everyone as part of the Mystical Body of Christ brings a lightness and joy to the faith. It's based in finding who we're trying to exclude, asking ourselves why, and trying to grow to include all of reality. It's definitely a practice, one that doesn't always come easy... but it's the only way I know to approach Christianity with the Love that serves as it's truest hallmark.