Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Kingdom of the Triune God

Jesus has included the human race in his relationship with his Father, and in his relationship with the Holy Spirit, and in his relationship with every human being, and in his relationship with the whole cosmos. As Vanessa Kersting says in one of her songs, “You are the center of it all.” Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the one in and through and by and for whom all things were created, and are sustained, and are reconciled. I believe this is the early Church’s vision of Jesus Christ. I take it as our non-negotiable, our fundamental hermeneutic from which we are to rethink everything we thought we knew, from our vision to God to social justice, from our notions of God’s eternal purpose to our economics, from our concerns for human dignity to our freedom to play. The kingdom of the Triune God is, in my view, the life of Jesus himself (in its four-fold relation) coming to personal, relational, social, international, global, environmental, economic, political, spiritual, musical, playful and cosmic expression in us, in our world, and throughout the cosmos.

Viewing human history and our times in the light of Christ tells us that there is more happening on this planet and in our lives than we ever dared to dream. Jesus (and his four-fold life) is present, not absent. And Jesus is present everywhere. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is at work in every arena seeking to facilitate the emergence of Jesus’ life. If we have eyes to see we can see Jesus’ life emerging everywhere. But we can also see that something is terribly wrong.

In a nutshell, a dastardly and profound confusion has set up shop inside our minds. Biblically speaking, the human race is in the dark—blind as bats—and each of us brings the darkness, and our own particular blindness to the table of Jesus Christ. So much of life on our planet, from our marriages to our global politics, from our day to day work to our attempts to find glory, seems to be the incessant attempt to impose our wills, our blindness, our notions upon Jesus himself, upon others and his world. To me sin is the attempt to wrest Jesus into believing in us and in our notions. It is unbelief in Jesus and belief in ourselves. Sin is the belief that Jesus is dead wrong about God, about humanity and history, about how to live, and about the cosmos, and the insistence that he turn from his beliefs, repent and believe in us.

Jesus is present, not absent. He is sharing with us all his own four-fold life. The Holy Spirit is working to give us eyes to see and ears to hear, so that the kingdom of the Triune God continues to emerge. And humanity, as a race, as individuals, as governments and religions—while breathing Christological air and living in Christ’s life—is dead set on imposing its bizarre notions upon Jesus and his world.

History is the time and space given to us to dream our dreams, to think up our theories, to invent our own worlds, and to attempt to wrest Jesus and the cosmos into our vision. All the while, Jesus is sharing himself and his life with us, and we are haunted and inspired, thrilled and made malcontent by his presence in our darkness.

We know we are made for glory, but we still believe in ourselves and our endarkened dreams. We are, as Chaucer said, like the drunk man, who knows his has a house, but cannot find his way home.

Meanwhile there is more than a little of Jesus’ life everywhere you look and listen. Come, Spirit of truth.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spin Master

Our Presidential election has become hype and sound bites with no reference to a larger reality as to why or why not we should act in any particular way. Most of the media has proven untrustworthy, embarrassing itself with its patronizing prejudice. Our post-modern, relativistic world has nothing real to stand on, and the ‘jesus’ of the modern church is so incredibly small he offers no answers to the ‘isms’ that are destroying us, to say nothing of international relations or of the great issues we face with the environment of our beloved planet.

So where does that leave us? The real battle in the United States today is the battle over spin. Who can become the Spin Master? Who is best at dazzling urgency? Who can touch the raw nerves of fear? Who has the best commercials, or personality, or style—today? Who can twist the filtered news unto their own agenda? What a sad tale. But what do we expect when our culture believes there is no ‘reality,’ and the church’s ‘jesus’ is little more than a tribal deity? I suspect most of us are so overwhelmed with the incessant crap, or so bored with the latest side-show, we just tune out and try to make the most of our lives. Who knows what to believe anyway? For my part, I would despair were it not for the Jesus of the early Church.

Here is my political platform: Jesus has included the human race in his relationship with his Father, and in his anointing in the Holy Spirit, and in his relationship with each and every human being, and in his relationship with the whole cosmos. The human race—including the Church—stands called to walk accordingly.

The basis for our concerns for social justice, for the health of the environment, for the end of poverty in all its forms (including the ultimate poverty of not knowing Jesus’ Father), for the end of racism, sexism, and all prejudice is Jesus himself—and the fact that he is sharing his heart with all of us. In him, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the human race, and the whole cosmos have been brought together in real relationship forever. His presence is therefore both a promise and a warning. Since he is the one in whom all created things have their being and life and meaning, any personal, racial, sexual, international, global, or environmental violation of the good and righteous relationships he has established in his own being is doomed to hurt like hell and to produce chaotic misery. And since he is the one in whom all creation has a blessed place—including each and every human being—to walk with him, to place our own ideas and agendas at his feet for light is to participate in his rightly-related world of wholeness.

Come, Holy Spirit. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.