In modern thought, we separate the rational and the magical. Rational is that which we can observe based on reason and logic. We use information, science, and analysis. But, this time of year, we encourage our children to see the magical. We have joy in our hearts as they see the hope and magic of Christmas, of Santa Claus, of the North Pole, of reindeer, and of elves.
As we age, we lose the sense of magic. We are taught to observe all with reason and logic. As the harsh realities of a flawed world destroys, hurts and fears overcome our belief, especially our belief in magic.
But, Advent is about renewing the hope. We are not renewing the hope in magic, but in the mysterious. We believe not in a magical world that consists of things which do not exist, but we believe in a mysterious world that does not follow reason and logic. We believe in the mystery of God coming to Earth in human form. We believe in the mystery of God coming to Earth to bring the Kingdom to Earth. We believe in the mystery of the 2nd Advent. During this season, the desire of my heart is to believe and experience the mystery.
Posted in Advent
I often see myself in a mirror or in a picture taken of my face from a camera. My mind takes that frontal 2 dimensional picture, mixes it with my thoughts and emotions, and creates a picture of how I see myself. At Thanksgiving dinner this week a family member was taking random shots, and from these shots I saw myself from the side. This side picture did not match my view of how I see myself, and I did not like what I saw.
The Kingdom of God is here and now, but we only get glimpses of the Kingdom. Just as I see an incomplete picture of myself in a mirror, I get an incomplete picture of the Kingdom. My passions interfere with that picture. As I walk the spiritual life, I get glimpses of myself in the Kingdom from a different profile and a different light. I do not like what I see.
That is not the end, but the beginning. I get glimpses of myself, mixed with my passions, my emotions, and my fears. But, this is an incomplete picture. God sees me without the baggage of passions, emotions, and fears. God see me with clarity.
As we begin Advent, we look forward to both the first and second Advent. We look forward to the time when we may see ourselves as God sees us, without the dark glass. We will see God with clarity, and we will see ourselves with the clarity the God sees us.
Posted in Advent
I haven’t updated my journey in quite a while, so I’ll answer the question, “Where am I today?”
I believe in traditional orthodox Christianity.
I affirm the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed.
I commune with a Lutheran church and participate in the liturgical cycle of the church. I play in the hand bell choir. My wife and I help with contacting seniors who cannot attend church. I am not involved in any leadership, and I doubt I ever will.
From the Lutheran Tradition, I believe the wording “Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist” in the Lutheran tradition is a good and historically orthodox view. I also believe that wording accurately reflects the Kingdom of God coming to the Kingdom of Earth.
Although I participate in the Lutheran tradition, I am not comfortable with everything the early reformers taught. I believe Martin Luther’s words make sense in the context of the Late Middle Ages in Europe, but that they need further refinement in light of Eastern Christian traditions. Particularly, the teaching of grace alone through faith alone makes sense in the context of Europe at the time, but that the teaching needs more explaining in context of historical orthodox Christianity.
For my philosophy of Christianity, I believe communion is the most important word to remember. I believe the Trinity represents perfect communion, and that Jesus came to Earth to bring the Kingdom of God so that we may have communion with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. I believe we experience communion hear and now. I believe that both history and the Christian life is following a path towards ultimate communion. This ultimate communion will be complete with the 2nd advent of Christ. I believe all will be in communion with Christ, who will in turn be in complete communion with the Father and the Spirit. All will be one.
Am I a Universalist? I believe the question is bad. I believe in ultimate communion for all, but I also believe in the judgement as stated in the Creed. This is a mystery.
If someone were to ask me the impetus for the biggest changes in my spiritual thought, I would respond with a philosophy about the Trinity. I always believed in the Trinity, but as I thought about what that meant in my belief system, everything changed. Instead of a simple, monotheistic “Jesus” who was an imperial ruler over my life, I began getting mysterious glimpses of the Triune God. I saw God the Father, the provider. I saw Christ, the son and Messiah, the one who walks beside me. I saw the Spirit, who flows through me. I saw relationships and communion, not dictatorships. I saw glimpses of an ultimate reality where communion is complete, and we are all in one. I began getting glimpses of how this mysterious philosophy effects my life. Instead of separate categories of people, I saw all in communion with all. Instead of strict differentiation between Heaven and Earth, creator and creation, I saw glimpses of a single Kingdom.
Another change happened as I saw the logical conclusion. I saw that same sex relationships in communion are equally as valid as opposite sex relationships. I saw that the differences between male and female will be no more, and that those who question their sexual identify may actually be a perfect example of the perfect Kingdom. In this Kingdom, communion always wins over differences, and we will all be one.
Rob Bell said “Love Wins”. I say something similar, “Communion Wins”.
In modern thought, we have defined the word passion to be a good thing. We are passionate about a hobby, our family, a musician, or untold millions of other interests. But, as I have explored the Church Fathers, passion meant something very different. For them, it was those instincts that, if left uncontrolled, fundamentally stood in the way of communion with the Triune God.
As I hear friends and co-workers talk this past year about the presidential election, I realize our society has been overcome with the passion of anger. The anger directed towards Mrs. Clinton has taken over hearts and souls. They believe irrational news stories and are consumed with irrational thoughts. They are so consumed with anger and hate that daily communion with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are only at the most outwardly superficial level. Their anger has spread and is directed towards those with different heritage, different skin color, and different sexual attraction. Instead of places of love, their churches have become expressions of hate and anger. Friendships and families have been destroyed.
The passion of anger is the most dangerous of passions. It consumes, it destroys, it spreads. It causes wars between countries, between spouses, and within families. No passion can do more damage. My hope and prayer is for repentance of the passion of anger, in my own life and in our country.
Lord have mercy.
Luke 20:27-38 (NRSV)
“Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage;but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive'”
Marriage is a picture, yet an imperfect picture, of communion. In the Kingdom of Heaven, communion with the Triune God is complete. The lines that divide will be no more. All will be one.
The human mind always tries to divide into twos, especially in religious matters. We see Saint and Sinner, Heaven and Earth, Physical and Spiritual. In non-religious matters, we also try to divide into strong lines, without overlap. We see male and female as well as heterosexual and homosexual. We see skin as light and dark. We see personalities as introverted and extroverted.
The miracle of the Kingdom is that the twos become one. Saint and Sinner are all alike. Heaven and Earth become one. The physical and spiritual become as one. The old boundaries of gender and sexuality are no more. All our current debate on these things have no value in the Kingdom.