Monday, April 27, 2009

A very Purple update....

Those of you who have been with me for over a year will remember this post about the funeral of my friend's precious wife. How many times have I thought of him and prayed for him....

I wondered how he would weather the anniversary of his wife's tragic death -- and struggled with how I might even reach out to him with consolation when my emotions about it are still so raw after a year. The answer is here ... and I urge you to read it. All the way to the end. And be sure to take a good look at that picture.

God have mercy....

Actually, God has had mercy -- and Jonathan's framing of that love and mercy are precious.

Suffering is a very real part of the deal, friends....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taking Flight...An Invitation to Soar!

Today, as I'm hoping you've already seen a dozen times, is the launch date Volume Two of The Wikiklesia Project. I woke up with Bette Middler's voice in my head singing "Wind Beneath My Wings"...and I would embed the YouTube version of it if I had more brain cells firing....

Anyway, this Abbess wants to invite those of you who think for a moment about a sister who brings that song to life. Someone who has been the wind beneath your wings ... "beautiful face without a name, for so long..." It's time to tell the stories of what the sisters have been doing in the Kingdom--and how we can re-imaging what the oft-neglected feminine half of God's Image already is and could be doing to build the Body of Christ.

Read the Announcement/Invitation here, if you missed it above, and then send the link to this post to all your friends (and I do mean ALL of them!). We're going to have a great time reading and discussing the chapters as they come in over at Missional Tribe, so get over there and join, if you haven't already.

If you've ever said that the sisters need more voice or visibility or support, now is the time to step up to the plate and put your heart in writing! Here's the details for proposals.

...I can hear the flutter of wings....


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Does God Suffer?!? -- Heretic Watch!

Scot McKnight, over at Jesus Creed, has been working through a book on heresies. This week's heresy concerning whether God suffers. The gist of it goes like this:

The Church, our collective faith, has held to the "impassibility" of God: "God can't be changed from without and that he can't change himself from within" (61). God can't change from a better to a worse state -- that's impassibility -- and if he did that would be suffering.

... well, you really need to read the post and the comments to understand what Scot thinks the author meant. Really, read all of it!

Here is my comment:

Very interesting discussion, everyone!

Dan, I'm finding your comments are triggering my best thoughts. Thanks for commenting so frequently! ;^)

For those of you who have been around Jesus Creed for a while will know, the primary context I use for everything biblical is one of covenant, and consequently, hesed. The nature of God is covenant maker and keeper. God is therefore completely faithful to the terms and conditions of the covenant ratified in the blood of Jesus on the cross. In this there is no thought of change. It is, as it were, a done deal.

However, covenant keeping is relational -- that's also part of the perichoretic nature of God that the Spirit is drawing us into. And there is no way to be involved relationally without suffering.

I do, however, agree that the kind of suffering that God does is not the kind that "changes" their nature, as in making more mature or more open or more anything. When we suffer, we do change -- we become more like Christ!

This Christ-like suffering is not something that God considered "beneath" their sovereignty. Perhaps it is part of its very fiber? The suffering of Christ as human was, in part, to provide for us an advocate who has suffered in all ways as we do.

The point of the divine being associated with this suffering is not to "damage" God, but to help us remember that we matter to God -- and that God is at all times actively working in and through all of our suffering to bring about that which is best for us. This is the very nature of hesed: acting so that the best interest of the covenant partner is served.

The point is that Christ, the human, knew that the suffering he was going through would be made glorious by the Father. And we need to remember that Christ was right.

The Abbess asks: Purple Martyrdom, anyone? Very interesting discussion, everyone!

And I'm grateful to be reminded, as we close out Holy Week, that the suffering of our Savior was something Papa and Sarayu participated in ... without making anyone a heretic!


The Abbess of the Purple Martyrdom