06 January 2012

Zombie Brains Contemplate Relationship

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted here!  My goal was to be on top of posting at least once a week, but it turns out this was only the case during the summer, and it is an unrealistic expectation during seminary study time.  So, perhaps once a month will be my new goal.

Since posting last, we've meandered through the season of advent, celebrated Christmas, closed out a new year and begun a new one.  I've also begun a new term and come to the realization that my time in seminary is drawing close to a wrapping up point.  Only four classes and a part-time practicum stand between me today and the zombie wearing a grad cap and gown with velvet stripes.  I'll be a Master of Theology & Ministry then.  How's that for brains?

Mmmm, braaaaiiiiinnnssss!


Sorry about the drool.

Getting back to the topic at hand, this term is already proving to be stimulating for helping this poor zombie theologian to take a few more steps in remembering who we are.  The book for one of our classes is The Reciprocating Self by Jack Balswick, Pamela King & Kevin Reimer.  Thus far we have read the first two chapters and the introduction.  Their theological anthropology is similar in many ways to that in my second post back in June that explains the icon found at the top right corner of the home page.  It has also drawn my attention to the fact that my blog thus far may have the same gaping hole in it that I now find in this book.  I desire to remedy this.

The questions I pose to the authors, (and now wait to see if later chapters in the book will address it) are: What about those who are not able to be in relationship, either with God or with other human beings?  Are they considered human?  My reading in this book would thus far point to a negative response to that question since the importance of reciprocity in relationship is stressed.
 "Theological anthropology would suggest that bearing the image of God means living as unique individuals in reciprocating relationships with others.  To be human is to be a particular being in relationships, distinct and unique, yet inseparably bound up with the other." (p. 36).
"...our understanding of human development is for us to become particular beings in relationship with the divine and the human other" (p. 49).
So this causes me to ponder what exactly it looks like to bear the image of God in relationship.  What does our definition of relationship and humanity mean for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world who have no idea what they are doing?  What about those who cannot do anything?

"A Hidden yet Radiant Light" - Photo by Trista Wynne

Here's the thing, dear ones: while we were dead, God chose to give us new life.
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 
not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
(Ephesians 2:1-10)
How's that for reciprocal relationship?  When we could do nothing, God did something.  So the image of God is about more than what we can do.  It's much more about what God did and is doing and will accomplish in each of us.

The Triune God loves to breathe life where there is death, to bring order to chaos and to shine light where there is darkness.  If we who have been zombies, but are now being re-created in the image of the Living One, there should be no question that every person is somewhere in the midst of this re-creative process by the Spirit.  Each person is in the process of becoming the fullness of who they were created to be, and each one of us is being drawn closer to the heart of a loving, faithful, creative God who is making all things new.  All people are somewhere in process of becoming fully human.

Dear ones, do not despair!  Take heart and know that you are being made new even in this very moment.  You are a valued member of the family of God.  Healing, light, wholeness are God's promises for eternity.

As much as you can, strive to bring these promises into your existence, even if you feel like it is a half-life right now.  As we offer healing, light, hope and love, we will get a glimpse of the heavenly kingdom in our very midst.  "Seek first the Kingdom of God" - this is what Jesus taught us.

Sophia-Spirit, show us how to love and more fully engage the people and world around us in Jesus' name.  Help us to know and be known by the Creator of all.  Help us to grow in life and to remember who we were all created to be.  We are humanity - simple dust creatures mobilized by Your Breath.  Every living organism reflects some aspect of Your image.  Help us to see this, in Jesus' name, amen.

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