Saturday, July 19, 2008

When I was a child, I spake as a child

How many stages of growth have I gone through? It's not as if you need to be told - "it's only a stage". I found that a real put-down especially from people who had not wrestled with the issues I felt I was wrestling with. But there were stages - and can we see them? There were stages of fear, of anger, of denial, of hope, - maybe it was not wrestling with issues so much as with the Creator of Issues. I suspect we all can identify with the ford of Jabbok to some extent.

It is not perhaps the stages that are important - but whether we can trust the people who give us advice during our lives. If they are people in power, will they destroy us if we disagree with them? It is a strange question - but not if you come from Zimbabwe today. If the Creator of Issues (you know who I mean) destroys me, it is to teach me his will - which is always good even if it is painful. One could say that the most fundamental creed is this - concerning goodness.

What this Lord who is good has taught me is of himself - that my deepest self is not condemned. Why then do I hear so much condemnation and fear in the writings of others - especially of those opposed to certain issues? Is it because they cannot read the metaphor of leaven? Are their hearts hard? Or must I hear a law that my Lord has not taught me?

We must all come before the judgment seat of Christ. Whether or not we 'die'. Did we seek and hold earthly power? Did we seek and hold Godly pleasure? Was our power or pleasure in Christ? If there is no Christ, then might and possession of power and pleasure are everything and we might as well be as the Mugabe's of this world. Even if we are to be judged at death only by the next generation, then we return to the problem of being able to trust those in power in the current generation.

Why do I distrust the traditional readings of the clobber texts of Scripture? Simply because I once read Scripture this way, and my Lord taught me otherwise. If I have seen God's love then how can I use the texts this way - they cannot possibly bear the baggage I would put on them even if I were to argue that they bore that baggage when they were written in their original context (and I don't believe this either - the historical baggage and our baggage are of completely different scopes - we have wheels now).

So that struggle for earthly power, even the power of interpretation (not needed some say), is not the real struggle. Rather the struggle is against the One who loves us and gave himself for us.

As Hans Küng writes (p 160)

The Church is founded on Jesus Christ himself as he encounters us in the Christian message which has its original record in the New Testament and to which the dogmas of the church are accountable.
Küng laments that his colleague Walter Kasper was not able to hold his position on infallibility which Kasper writes (12 December 1969 in the Catholic Weekly Publik)
[Infallibility] means the trust and faith that the church is fundamentally maintained in the truth of the Gospel by the Spirit of God despite some errors in detail... through the church the eschatalogical conflict with the powers of untruth, error, and lies constantly takes place in the belief that here the truth will time and again prevail.
If this is so - without pronouncement by human leaders, and of course it is hardly understood this way, then what is the problem about trusting the Spirit of the risen Saviour, the Creator of Issues, to lead, correct, and delight those who are different from the norms of the dominant culture - if they have so claimed Christ.

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved - right? So what's going on with the rejection of those who differ? What's going on is a failure to distinguish things that are different. The request for a covenant with teeth is failure of faith. It becomes trust in words rather than trust in the Lord.

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