Christianity, feminist, God, Jesus, liberation, love, praxis, social concerns, theology
God does speak to me from time to time. He has a particular way of going about it. I can never be sure at first, which is why he beats me over the head with what ever it is he wants me to know. To explain, he tells me the same thing over and over by diverse ways. Finally I see that, and go, “okay, gotcha boss.”
Mostly this time, God has been reinforcing my train of thought. If you’ve been reading the posts “What is the Message” and my review of Robin Meyers’ book, “Saving Jesus from the Church.” you will see where I’m heading. I’ve been seeing that Church needs to be redirected to praxis rather than a continuation of the ongoing theological conversation of who bests defines Christianity and what is sin and how are we saved.
I mentioned that Presiding Bishop Schori’s remarks about individual salvation being inadequate added to the mix. So that was three things. I had also begun pondering Martin Buber’s “I-thou versus I-it” philosophy, in which he posits that humans are engaged in one or the other at all times. I-thou is subject to subject or in equal respect and mutuality. I-it refers to me and the other as an it, or object. It’s value is only that of enhancing me in some way or furthering my personal aims.
Last night, God let me again visit these subjects, and finally I was convinced that indeed I was on the right track. We were watching Bill Moyer’s Journal. His guests were Dr. Cornel West, theologian from Princeton, Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, and Dr. Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Neibuhr Professor of Social Ethics at UTS. They were talking about the “Christian” take on our world wide economic decline.
Their discussion was wide ranging and involved ultimately what in some sense can be called a reform movement within Christendom. They spoke of the evils of greed and love in action. All three spoke to the fact that the students in seminary today are burning with a desire to live and work authentically following Jesus in full praxis. I suspect that more traditional theology falls by the wayside. It is the time of liberation, feminist, black, and other theologies which seek to reclaim the original message of Jesus.
It got me to thinking late last night as I, in one of my wide awake middle of the night moments, sat on the porch and looked up at the Milky Way, ablaze with stars. Thinking of God, I realized something, something quite obvious I suspect. Once we are past the big three: omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, we are essentially done talking about God in the singular. Which is not to say that even this is right. Who is to say that God doesn’t have siblings and parents, and aunts and uncles, all busily engaged on their own planes of reality. But on this plane, we contend there is but One God.
Yet, by the first act, that of creation, God is no longer One, but in relationship, for creation was all about relationship. It continues to be so. My poem the other day about perspective between life on the big and small is but relationship, a shared universe, a shared planet. My piece on vegetarianism and meat eaters again notes that we are in a cycle of shared life and death and symbiosis.
Trinity may or may not be real, it is our way of explaining what we can’t really explain. But if true or not, the message is the same. Intimacy, mutuality, love, compassion, interrelatedness, are the rule, the norm. Man is not meant to be alone as God said, and there are few humans who do well in seclusion. We thrive on relationship, I-thou which is healthy, or I-it which is not so healthy.
Evolutionary psychologists would no doubt claim that this is an evolutionary plus, designed to help ensure the survival of the species by promoting breeding and offspring. Believers would claim that it echoes a design infused in all creation by the Creator. It is why I am “in the image of” after all.
Rather than suggesting that God somehow “looks” like us, in the image of signifies that we are relational as God is relational.
It is not enough to merely state the obvious, but to ingest it, and digest it, and make it apart of ourselves. Relational means truly that I am my brother’s keeper, and it is my perfect duty to help ensure that he is fed, clothed, returned to health, and upheld as fully as I am myself. He is me, and I am him, and we are, and God is.
At the end of Bill Moyer’s conversation with these three, he revisited some food pantries that they had been to some months ago. As you can imagine, the situation is more dire than before. Person after person related their stories of having worked for years, decades in fact, only to find themselves struggling to stretch food, and meagre, simple food it is, from week to week. Children given “enough” but not as much as they would wish, meals of crackers and peanut butter.
I have contributed to our food pantry through our church. I softly said to the Contrarian, “Monday I’ll inquire who is our liaison at “Loaves and Fishes” and. . .”
“Yes,” he replied, knowing where I was going, and not needing me to finish.
It is no longer just enough to drop a bag of cans in the basket. Jesus walks before me beckoning me and you to much more than that. “Okay, gotcha boss.”