Monday, April 21, 2014

Abi and April's Synchroblog: Bridging the Divides

Updated update!  The last stragglers have been added to the list.  I hope you wander through these thoughtful posts...take your time, they're not going anywhere!  ;^)

Update!  The list of the other participants in this Synchroblog are listed at the bottom of the post....

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It is always a miracle when I am able to participate in the Synchroblogs of my friends ... and when I first read the topic on this one, I was filled with turmoil.  You see, there is entirely too much division in my house...and the bridge that used to unite us was effectively blown up five years ago. I have been pretty much in survival mode since then.

Some bridges cannot be unilaterally built -- they require cooperation between those who possess the land on either side of the gulf that divides.  And so I wondered if I would have anything to say this month...that I was willing to say in public, that is.

But today I find that I have a few things to say!

The house that Jesus was talking about is the house of the Triune God, where Father, Jesus and Grandmother dwell in Perichoretic cHesed. Where there is such unity and togetherness that there is no other word to describe their reality other than that they are One. Interesting that the last Synchroblog in which I was able to participate was on that topic...kind of like a warm up to this one, eh?

Take a look at the entire story in Mark 3...see that the context is about whether Jesus is of God's house and just who make up the members of that household.

This little story tells two important things:  the Household of the Trinity cannot be divided...but the neighborhoods in the Kingdom sure can be.  This gives me a firm foundation as well as a firm reprimand. If Jesus gave no special place to his flesh and blood family, I should consider my priorities carefully too....

When I get all caught up in the distinctives of various neighborhoods, it is all too easy to forget the distinctives of the Kingdom.  Kingdom reality carries the proper pH -- not too acid nor too alkaline -- that sweet spot described by the number seven:  complete, whole and full -- where human life flourishes and homeostasis is possible:  Just Right!

When Jesus became human, it was a distinctive he would carry for the rest of Eternity.  And in that blend of Trinity and Humanity he took hold of all of creation. He became the first truly fully human; one who was not divided by the knowledge of good and evil, but united with Father and Grandmother as he hammered out what it meant to be fully human and fully God. He laid hold on his creation and took us down with him in death, where he entered fully into our fallen darkness and blindness. He put to death fallen humanity and voided Adam's sin. He fell with us into our hell ... and turned on the lights! When he rose from the grave, he bought all of creation back to life -- recreated!  In Christ there is no gap left to bridge. We have been included in the Perichoretic cHesed of the Trinity because we are IN Jesus. All humanity has been adopted through the New Covenant in Jesus.

The challenge he sent Grandmother to work out, when he returned to Father, was the education of the newly adopted children. This is no small challenge:  most of the children have not heard about (or do not believe) what Jesus has done for them: They have nothing to earn. They have only to see and hear, believe and receive, repent and reorient to Kingdom life.

And that is where we come back to division. Or should we say poor vision? In and out. Us and them. Included and excluded. Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. What a big gulf is represented by that little word: division.

The problems of division come when we look at our lives through our own eyes, rather than through the eyes of Jesus, as revealed by our Holy Grandmother.  We need new glasses for this new reality -- for our eyes will not be healed until that day when our bodied are transformed into ones like Jesus. Until then, we all need glasses. I call them cHesed Glasses....

One of the reasons why I have had to step away from institutional forms of Christianity is kind of like keeping 3D glasses on after you leave the 3D environment. Thinks just don't look right. Images look blurred and flat instead of crisp and bold. I have talked about the 3D quality of my cHesed Glasses, but there is an update needed.  I guess they need to be called 3D Perichoretic cHesed Glasses! ;^)

These 3D pH Glasses are kind of like those glasses said to have been made by Benjamin Franklin for reading the secret map on the back of the Declaration of Independence in the movie National Treasure, staring Nicholas Cage. Depending on which lens combination was being used, different things on the map could be seen....

3D pH Glasses see through the lenses of love, grace and mercy. They show us not only how God's love, grace and mercy are poured out over us at all times...they also show us opportunities for us to share this gracious loving-kindness with all of Creation -- humans, animals, plants, planet.

I have come to see that the glasses that Western Christianity has ground out for us to wear have a prescription that looks more to Plato and Greco-Roman legal constructs (which influenced Augustine, and through him, Luther and Calvin and so many others) than toward Moses and cHesed as covenant relationships. I have become more and more convinced that this is one of the biggest sources of division within the neighborhoods of the Kingdom.

It seems to me that all divisions come, um, from vision problems. I love how Baxter Kruger says that theology is basically just Windex to clean away the dirt and smudges that mar our ability to properly perceive God as they exist as Father, Son and Grandmother. We need to remember to not only wear our 3D pH Glasses, but to regularly clean them with Trinitarian Windex!  That Platonic Windex just doesn't work.

When I am looking out through glasses that are ground to help me see the amazing relationship between Father, Son and Grandmother -- where there is no competition or hierarchy, but only the freedom of Perichoretic cHesed for one another and for me -- it is such a fresh and beautiful sight. But when I look at structures of law and judgment, expectation and responsibility, organization and hierarchy, power and control that so many churches have adopted...well no wonder it gives me a headache!  And when our Platonic Windex only smears without cleaning, we multiply the problems.

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In the end I have to keep reminding myself the division in the Kingdom is not really Real. It's just a bad case of distortion -- one that requires new glasses and proper Trinitarian Windex!  That being said, poor vision is the cause of many an injury...and neighborhood divisions in the Kingdom are the most tragic form of "friendly fire" that exists!

May Jesus help us find ways to replace division with his vision....

Be blessed!

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Here’s the list of other bloggers contributing posts related to healing the divides this month:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Abi ponders the roots of sin....

With gratitude to Mont Smith, Scott Bartchy, Scott Peck, Alan Hirsch, Paul Young, Wayne Jacobsen, Penelope Wilcock, Baxter Kruger...and so many others who have challenged my thinking. Thanks be to God....

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I have come, over the past 20 years, to believe that understanding sin requires that we back up and understand the primary will of that we see clearly the target that sin misses.

Belief is certainly part of the will of God, but perhaps that is too narrow, or not specific enough. What is it that we are to believe?

Scripture tells us repeatedly that God is love. Love is a relational term that needs the context of the Trinity --Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- for proper understanding. Too many see God as alone and distant in his holiness (Greek thinking) rather than engaged as an eternal relationship of love that includes all creation.

If God is by nature a loving relationship of mutuality and equality, where there is such unity of desire that can only be described as Oneness, then we have to ponder the meaning of creation.

I believe They created in order to share Their life of loving relationship with humans. History has been the process of humanity's education. And this is where sin comes in.

I believe that the problem of human sin is one of laziness -- of taking the easy way rather than embracing the necessary work of growing through loving relationships. This laziness partners with a desire for independence, because it seems easier (better!) to do things our way instead of entering into the growth required by love that fosters the other's best interest and finds a way in unity. This is why sin almost always is manifest as coercion -- trying to get our way by force.

This coercive way is sin because it misses the mark of loving the other as we love ourselves. It weakens or destroys relationship and introduces fear...and I don't mean holy awe....

And when we are afraid, we trust less...and, boom -- we get unbelief.

The serpent sowed seeds of fear by suggesting that God was not to be trusted -- that he was holding something back -- and the rule against eating of the forbidden fruit was a form of coercion. Laziness took that seed and gave it place instead of running straight to God for the truth.

The serpent stole their innocent dependence on God as Guide and they turned to independence instead of growing toward greater interdependence.

I have come to realize that much of Western Christianity is mired in the unfortunate blending of Roman/Greek philosophy, which forms a pair of legal/rational information-as-knowledge contextual glasses. This moves away from God's Hebrew experience + information = knowledge philosophy, which is founded on cHesed -- gracious loving-kindness -- within God's series of covenants. When that happens, misinterpretation will follow about the very nature of God and humanity...with the horrific results too many accept today as God's will. So very sad....

Only by the continual renewing of our minds by the Spirit will we have eyes that can see the Truth in Jesus, and this calls us to die to self so that we can be alive in Christ.

Lord have mercy on us in our blindness...and lead us out of the darkness of our own fallen thinking!