Monday, May 5, 2014

Abi redefines and refocuses the controversy....

I have mentioned before that I'm not really comfortable with the terms currently used in the debates. I have had my synthesizing hat on for the past few years, looking to see if I could get my brain about things enough to describe what I have come to understand about the foundational issues that underpin the controversy.
Some of the key players in my thinking  these past 20+ years include: S. Scott Bartchy, Scot McKnight, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Mont W. Smith, Lewis B. Smedes, Wayne Jacobsen, Alan & Deb Hirsch, Eugene H. Peterson, Neil Cole, Michael Frost, Tony and Felicity Dale, Len Hjalmarson, Wm. Paul Young and C. Baxter Kruger ... and all the thinkers of the past they have brought with them into today's arena. I would have a very difficult time separating the various threads each of these persons contributed to the wee tapestry I want to share today.
The following definitions are intentionally very dense as I try to squeeze 40 years and millions of words into something that begins to represent what I believe about how humans are meant to treat one another.  These concepts have been heated white-hot in wrath's purifying and restoring hell-fire (not sure whether I'm ready to join the May Synchroblog: What the hell? ... I may need a rest!) and hammered out on the anvil of spiritual formation over the past five years in my wee purple experience. And now they have been plunged to cool in the Living Water of Truth to harden and prepare for service.
My glasses are still a bit fogged from the steam...and I'm still a bit tender in places that have been pruned and cauterized...but I trust the love of Sarayu that sometimes wounds in order to heal.
I pull no punches today, so I know those brothers and sisters who have invested their lives in what is currently called Complementarianism will not be very happy with me.  The term "Patriarchal Subjugation" will probably offend them.  I am intending to be precise, not offensive. I endeavor to speak the truth in love, spritzing a bit of Trinitarian Windex on their Augustinian glasses, as Baxter says...but I know that they will not see differently until they get a new prescription.
And I realize that it is not my task to convince them and call them to repentance--that is the work of GrandmotherI trust that Jesus is on their journey with them right where they are and that the Spirit will lead them according to their readiness to follow.  I certainly know how long it took me to make this difficult transition. They are still my brothers and sisters in Christ, but that does not mean that I must agree with them.
If you've been following my thoughts over the past eight years, you will see how I've come to this particular synthesis. And, as Craig Groeschel told a group of us at a Church Planting Conference in Kansas about seven years ago:  I only guarantee what I'm saying for 90 days. The Spirit is always at work teaching and leading me toward deeper growth along this journey...and there's always something being pruned, weeded, mulched... hey, it's spring! ;^)

Here goes--I suggest that you read it slowly and out loud (if your surroundings allow!) 

Patriarchal Subjugation 
is a male-centered, domination-based 
functional social structure of scarcity 
implemented by coercion and aversion. 
It's Christian practice flows from 
Augustinian-based scriptural interpretation and tradition, 
which is influenced by the pagan Greek philosophy of Socrates 
as taught by Plato, Aristotle and others. 
(Interestingly, Socrates rose to influence 
as the 400 years of prophetic silence 
was beginning for the Hebrews 
and his philosophy was firmly entrenched 
in the dominant culture of the Roman Empire 
when, in the fullness of time, Christ was born.)
Its infiltration from Western Civilization into Western Christianity 
was as subtle as a pagan wolf in Christian sheep's clothing 
and its practice ultimately fosters bondage and stunted maturity—
both of the oppressor and the oppressed.
Its peace is built on the coercive order
and cruel efficiency of the PAX ROMANA.
[I will need to come back and unpack this later...
probably with lots of links
to things that have already been said better
 somewhere else!]

Perichoretic cHesed
is an other-centered, self-giving 
relational social structure of abundance 
implemented by gracious loving-kindness 
and manifests as unmerited favor, 
mutual submission and 
mutually-initiated helpfulness
based on the best interest of the other. 
It flows out of Trinitarian-based scriptural interpretation, 
which is influenced by the Hebraic covenant philosophy of YHWH 
as revealed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, 
and given to Moses in the Law,
known as the Old Covenant, 
and taught by the prophets. 
As it was radically reinterpreted by Jesus 
and introduced as the New Covenant, 
(cut in his very own body 
and shedding his very own blood,
to bring about our rebirth and adoption)
and taught by Paul and the very Early Church Fathers, 
its faithful and humble practice
results in the growing freedom
and growing maturity 
of ALL toward Christlikeness. 
Its peace is the very own peace of Christ Jesus, 
which is not at the world gives,
but rather removes both anxiety and fear
as all come to learn of their 
inclusion in the very Life Eternal
of the Father and the Son in the Spirit
as adopted children and joint heirs with Christ Jesus.

Perichoretic cHesed...

It's News...because we didn't know it.  And it's Good!  (HT: C. Baxter Kruger)

Grace and peace to you!


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