Friday, February 12, 2010


+ We definitely need to re-imagine Jesus.  The Jesus Seminar has contributed immensely to a new and much improved understanding of Jesus which moves us away from the Jesus-olatry and Bible-olatry which has plagued our great wisdom tradition for centuries.  I love Jesus.  I love the Bible.  Idolizing Jesus and the Bible reduces their impact.  God mercifully gives us the great gift of freedom.  We are free to find new meaning and joy and to reject doctrines which simply do not make sense in our times.  Great thinkers like Diarmuid O'Murchu, Cynthia Bourgeault, Marcus Borg, Raimon Panikkar, Matthew Fox, Sallie McFague and John Shelby Spong (to mention only a few) are leading us forward with great courage and fantastic freedom and curiosity and wisdom. 

In the S&P course on InterSpiritual Wisdom, Cynthia Bourgeault says:

The modern Christian mystical theologian Raimon Panikkar suggests intriguingly that the real problem all along has been that JESUS WAS NOT A MONOTHEIST! His experience of God was much more a flowing, interabiding one (i.e, "I in you, and you in me, that all may be one...)--a flow later captured (though usually misunderstood) in the doctrine of the Trinity, where form, emptiness, created, and uncreated are always engaged in a circle dance of love--yes, Rami, the very essence of divine "is-ing." It was Jesus's claims of too great intimacy with God that violated the strong Abrahamic sense of an unbridgeable abyss between creator and creature and the radical unknowability of God. Panikkar argues impressively that it was the attempt to paste Jesus's radically nondual vision onto the metaphysical basis of Jewish monotheism that resulted in the "San Andreas fault" running through the heart of the Christian message to this day.

Related closely to this powerful idea are the provocative and progressive teachings of John Shelby Spong. Spirituality and Practice offers a review of A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How a New Faith Is Being Born by John Shelby Spong.

Excerpt 1: "Spong tosses aside the theistic supernatural overlay on the man from Nazareth. He sees him as a boundary breaker who tears down the walls that separate people. He also is a fear buster who by his magnetic passion convinces individuals to put aside tribal and xenophobic fears. Spong concludes: 'Jesus will become the doorway into the Holy for those of us who have been privileged to know his name, but there will be other doorways for other people.'"

Excerpt 2: "Progressive Christians who are re-imagining their faith in the twenty-first century will find this thought-provoking and substantive work right in sync with prior works by Matthew Fox, Andrew Harvey, Wayne Teasdale, and Diarmuid O'Murchu."

+ Click here to see all of my "Reformed And Always Being Reformed" (Semper Reformanda) posts.

No comments: