Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, January 14, 2022

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis




The dialectic method of progress!


Blame Hegel, or perhaps better Kant

or perhaps better yet Fichte


or perhaps we should blame “God”

or some guy named Jesus


Think about it!

In the Bible we start with order, creation

Where all is good

Then we have the fall into a disordered world

And eventually, or so we are told, we will have a new order, the Kingdom of God


Jesus taught that we have the “self”, but we have to die to that self to become a new creation.


And now today, we have many in the church talking generally about

Construction, Deconstruction, Reconstruction


Order, Disorder, Reorder


I have friends who are clearly in the Order phase

They were raised in the church and they have accepted the faith they were taught, with

few questions


Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so


And I respect their faith


I have friends who are clearly in the disorder phase.

It is not that they don’t read the bible, or respect it

It is that they do read the bible, and they find in its pages a lot of really strange

disturbing, even contradictory stuff.


I am not sure about the Reconstruction, Reorder, or perhaps better, New Creation stage is one any of us get to settle into.


Once we get broken open

Once we find a new point of statis

The holy spirit, fire and wind

Comes roaring in to disrupt things yet again!


So much for recliner faith!


What strikes me today, as I think about Advent, and Christmas,

and John the Baptist and Jesus

is just how disruptive Jesus was


John the Baptist warned everyone!

But seriously


Take the idea of who is blessed

Most people of Jesus time believed that those with power and money

Were the blessed


But Jesus said

Blessed are the poor

Blessed are the meek

Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst


We can spiritualize those radical statements if we want

(And make them less radical)

Blessed are the poor in Spirit (thank you Matthew)

And slip off the hook just a little


But still the statement stands!


What do American Christians do with that radicality?


We ignore it, and double down on wealth and power.


Take the idea of who is in heaven!

We would assume those who have been blessed and blessed

In this lifetime.


But Jesus turns heaven upside down, with the poor and miserable

Being those who gain a place at the table

And the rich and powerful being thrown into the abyss


Those who live die

Those who die live

That who are first are last

Those who are last are first

Those who are great are those who serve (and let go of greatness)


What strikes me most is that Jesus was with and for

and Jesus loved without reservation

the marginalized


the rejected

the doubtful

the sinful

the alien


Jesus spent most of his time with people we wouldn’t let inside

the doors of our churches.


which makes me believe that is it is indeed

time again for a little disorder


it is time to re-think everything


Because the order we have now

Probably makes God/Jesus/Spirit cringe


Our neat little formulas

Our tribalism

Our alliance with power and wealth

Our exclusionism

Our privilege


It all needs to go

The church needs to fall in the same way the temple fell

And we need to stand in the rubble

Singing hallelujah


And then we need to once again

Return to those radical teachings

We need to fellowship with the dregs of humanity

Embrace the poor

Reject the trappings of earthly power


We need to once again open the windows of our souls

And let the spirit blow again

We need to let God disrupt and disorder

So we can find God’s thing


Which is always, always newf

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