‘Mostly, the people we agree are “top” are the brutes and boofheads, the rich and the grabby, the relentless competitors, dominators and aggressors.’
It’s amazing how such attitudes permeate even the church to the extent that the Cardinal Pell’s of this world can be seen as great leaders by other ‘leaders’ who are similarly insensitive and stagnant in their being and their views.
I read an article this morning from which I culled the quote above. Among other things, it hinted that what passes for our opinion, is too often driven by selfishness, laziness and fear of change. Should we live in the binary of survival / demise - our ability to modify our status quo and embrace complexity and subtlety will be limited. The maintenance of us is too much at stake.
This can make innately frightened people bombastic or compulsively talkative. It can reveal opinionated and limited people to be the most boorish in the room. Should we be genteel and gracious as a person it can cause us to erect a wall of fictions around ourselves that keeps the truth at bay. In this state of unconscious defence, we can be the kind of leader who has followers – but not the kind of leader who advances the Kingdom of God. Because both we and our followers live in a pit.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ Matt 5.3 NIV.
We gain wisdom by listening, applying our minds to joining the dots, cultivating friends and acquaintances who are thoughtful and paying careful attention to those with the ability and courage to penetrate appearance and humbug. The greatest friend of personal enlightenment is humility.
If you believe the law expresses God’s character then you invite a static view of God and a stagnant view of life. You will very likely place your faith in the letter as though this letter and its positions and definitions constitute the truth of what life is about. But it does not. The nature of the Kingdom comes from the being of God as does the being of you. Not only is God spirit. God is trinity and God is life personified. God is also one which comes from the fact that God is three and related to this Three-ness in amity and love.
THE CAUSE OF RIGIDITY
One whose being is formed in the letter is quite a different person to one whose being is formed in our Father as a son. We are sons in spirit and in truth when Christ is our life. Sons notionally and unconvincingly when the law is our life. Jesus was able to offer the Woman at the Well genuine life as Himself. Not through some adherence to a place of worship or a time of worship. Sons in spirit and in truth are sons for whom Jesus Himself is life and ‘being’.
For those who have been led to believe that Jesus came to show that the law could be kept and that He lives to uphold the law, there is an uncomfortable consequence. We have a vested interest in perpetuating the knowledge of good and evil as a pseudo-life because for us this is our life – of a kind.
SEEDS OF UNHUMANITY
There are always those who take the side of the oppressor against the victim. Their identity is at stake. Their status and sense of self is invested in the status quo and its personalities. It’s not chance that certain conservatives have a degree of sympathy for perpetrators of sexual abuse.
Their brand of religion abstruse as it is – is a form of abuse to themselves and to those whom their policies and views effect. Cardinal Pell is to be pitied as a man and as a Christian. He’s a parable of the religious man who is denuded of humanity so that religion may be upheld and justified. Religion, not as a new and living way but as an old and dead way.
Sadly the stagnation and absence of life in certain kinds of religion withers the human spirit and perpetuates degradation. This stagnation varies according to our degree of immersion in received teaching and dogma. Dogmatism and the false security of externalities not only robs Cardinal Pell of spirit and life. It is what legitimates his brand of Catholicism and Christianity. All Catholics are not like him. A good many of them know and live from a personal Jesus. God is not static and neither will you be if you have entered your sonship as a born again Nicodemus. GROWING ENTITIES ARE ALIVE The Greeks believed in a static God. But the “Athanasian view of God was one in which activity and movement were regarded as intrinsic to his very being as God (ἐνούσιος ἐνέργεια). God is never without his activity (ἐνέργεια), for his activity and his being are essentially and eternally one. The act of God is not one thing, and his being another, for they co-inhere mutually and indivisibly in one another. Hence far from God being inactive in his inner being, it belongs to the essential and eternal nature of his being to move and energise and act. It was this dynamic conception of God that marked so distinctively the Christian understanding of the incarnation as the personal embodiment in space and time of God’s providential and redemptive interaction with mankind.” (1) The implication is that if we are not moving and keeping in step with God we are probably dying spiritually. Some of us are so inert in our received fictions that we do not know that we have been dead for some time. ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV. Jesus came as the representative of all life and the one in whom life has its being. Not only is Jesus among us to restore unlimited life. He is active in our being to be our life. You can participate in this life today by agreeing that you are part of God, part of Jesus and part of the human race. ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 73-74). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.