Public Domain Photo Courtesy of New World Encyclopedia
As I continue to process GC2012 and look forward to God’s preferred future, I am struck that where we are is a good place despite the predominant reaction of despair over the state of our church. It’s a painful place, a scary one, but also a hopeful one. We are not people who want to go back to the good old days of the status quo or Garden of Eden. We are people who long for the New Jerusalem and want to be used by God to help usher in the Kingdom. We are a people who desire to put legs on our prayer, “Thy kingdom come…” If author Scott Peck is right then our pseudocommunity has given way to chaos, and if we let it do its work then we shall find ourselves embracing a Jesus-like emptiness that will lead us into a bright God-blessed future. But first we have to mourn our chaos: “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh…Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep (Luke 6:21,25).”
The acceptance of Enlightenment era certitude created a centuries-old illusionary humanistic optimism that has fueled two opposing sides of hardliners. This has been evident in the halls of Congress and at GC2012. It is time for us to move away from the literal and liberal fundamentalism of old world empirical stances and follow God’s directives which often find voice in mysterious ways.
As much as I would like to put funnels in people’s heads so that they know the difference between unchanging doctrine and ever-changing theology, it doesn’t work that way. Sure, I’m going to teach the truth of our Articles of Religion and Confession of Faith, but I want to do it in ways that allow God to speak more than me. I have to be quiet. We all do. We have to let God do the talking in contemporary ways. Then we can move forward and stop the status quo entrenchment of extremist polarities that are holding us back.
I’m not saying that we need to check our understanding of good theology at the door, but we do need to open ourselves to a new word from God. Not a new Word of God, but a new epiphany so that we have a personal theophany with the Living God. Of course, this is where chaos reigns in our discussions.
Who decides what is God’s W/word for today, this generation? What does this kind of thinking do to the unique salvific person and work of Christ? How do we objectify the Immortal, Invisible God that we see face-to-face in Jesus? Is there a way for us to hold in tension the apparent paradox and oxymoron of a God bigger than all, that created ex nihilo, yet is made incarnate and truly human while remaining very God of very God?