Archive for the ‘Musings on The Divine Conspiracy’ Category

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atmosphere

July 29, 2005

I’m currently getting my face rocked off by Dallas Willard [thanks for the reading suggestion Chris ].  I’m making my way through The Divine Conspiracy .  This morning I finished up chapter 2, "Gospels of Sin Management" and  have begun chapter 3,  "What Jesus Knew:  Our God-Bathed World."   I can read no further without processing something, anything, because part of me feels like I’ve had the actual good news about who Jesus is presented to me for the first time, ever.  And, as I suppose it should be, I need a moment to catch my breath. 

We who profess Christianity will believe what is constantly presented to us as gospel.  If gospels of sin management are preached they are what Christians will believe.  And those in the wider world who reject those gospels will believe that what they have rejected is the gospel of Jesus Christ himself–when, in fact, they haven’t yet heard it

And so we have the result noted: the resources of God’s kingdom remain detached from human life.  There is no gospel for human life and Christian discipleship, just one for death or one for social action.  The souls of human beings are left to shrivel and die on the plains of life because they are not introduced into the environment for which they were made, the living kingdom of eternal life. [58]

Relevance to Culture is Not Optional. I have experienced first hand in the past 9 months how the gospels of sin management are far from relevant to the human experience; both the gospel from the left and the gospel from the right (social action and life after death).  The only way I know this to be inherently true, not just philosophically true, is through relationships with people who do not follow Jesus.  Good people, loving people, who hate the non-sense of the Christian message.  In Nashville, the gospel from the right is represented by most of the over 7,000 churches in the city, and as a result personal faith is detached from daily living.  One can believe in Jesus and not pay attention to a word he said, and apparently that is enough to receive the proverbial seal of approval.  People are ready to receive the benefits of Jesus’ death, but unwilling to step into his life of transformation.  This is so because a life of transformation is presented as the obliteration of all that is "wrong" with us, not our participation in God’s daily activity of interacting with his creation.  Sin management is a natural result of intimacy with God.  And intimacy with God is relevant to all cultures of all time.

And his presence is precisely what the word heaven or, more accurately, the heavens in plural, conveys in the biblical record as well as through much of Christian history…The "heavens" are always there with you no matter what, and the "first heaven," in biblical terms, is precisely the atmosphere or air that surrounds your body…But it is precisely from the space immediately around us that God watches and God acts…To be born "from above," in New Testament language, means to be interactively joined with a dynamic, unseen system of divine reality in the midst of which all of humanity moves about–whether it knows it or not…But do we actually believe this?  I mean, are we ready automatically to act as if we stand here and now and always in the presence of the great being…who fills and overflows all space, including the atmosphere around our body? [67-68]

That is a God in whom I can take stock.  That is an experience of which I want to be apart.  The vision of a God that permeates the atmosphere, interacting with and watching his creation with great joy is what I long to see when I hear the name of Jesus.  It is in being "interactively joined with a dynamic, unseen system of divine reality" that I can see my own life being transformed.  I know well enough that the gospels of sin management are not relevant, not only to the cultures of the world, but to me, personally, as a part of those cultures.  Exciting responsibility seems like a oxymoron to an extent, yet that is what I feel when I think of participating in this "dynamic unseen system of divine reality" as a result of intimacy with my creator. 

"And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           [John 17:3]