It’s so hard to be honest, especially with ourselves. As soon as any truth starts to peel back the masks that hide our vulnerability, we slam it as heresy and grab our masks back. Why is this? We hate being vulnerable and we have invested too much in our masks to let truth strip it away. Added to that our masks are our projection of our desires for ourselves. We so badly want those things to be true of ourselves, but they are not and so we feel damned by the distance and yet we strive for the nobility of the goal, of becoming one with our masks.
Sorry to drop a heavy on you, but that describes what I once was and describes most christians I know. (The good news is that this post should keep getting better, so the worst is behind us.)
“When you realise that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink of understanding the Gospel.” Tim Keller
That beautifully sums up what I was trying to say in my last post. In the past I thought the antidote to being bad, or sinful was being good, and because I couldn’t be good I made a mask that I could hide behind till I got things sorted and my life resembled the mask. My focus was on sin (the bad) and I thought I needed salvation (the good), but I wasn’t experiencing the kind of life I saw in Jesus, I wasn’t experiencing the Gospel.
What I am learning is that the sin/salvation narrative is really a sub-narrative of the Gospel. It is how evil tried to derail the original good news. We were sidelined by sin, but salvation just gets us into the game again. However what is the game, what is the purpose? (Spoiler: it is not about us finding our purpose, it’s about joining Jesus in his purpose.)
I know I am generalising here, but I think that by us christians focusing on salvation so much we have continued to live in a pre-Copernican world believing God revolves around us. As Peter Rollins says
“Our belief in an innate God-shaped hole perpetuates our desire for a hole-shaped God.”
I believe the Gospel is that a good God, made a good world, where creation, man and God were together in relationship. We were offered not goodness, because we already had that, we were offered LIFE, but evil and sin entered this good world and a great separation entered in it’s place. I think that on that day not only were Adam and Eve banished from the garden, but God was banished from the earth. Not because he couldn’t look on sin, but because we could no longer look on Him.
I see Jesus as the one who is fully human, fully ALIVE. He is fully human and fully divine, the second Eden. As he hung on that cross he was as Jason Upton says “Between Earth and Sky”. He was stitching together the melody of earth to the harmony of heaven. In his body he carried both. On the cross he offered us the place between earth and sky and at his resurrection he set the banquet table for the new creation, no longer sinner/saint, jew/gentile, slave/free, male/female but brother and sister, one flesh.
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