Monday, April 13, 2009's about time

My friend and neighbor Kevin Jones, shared this piece by Brian McLaren on twitter today, wow! Thanks Kevin. Read it, here.

Here's a chunk,

In the Bible, we find a variety of understandings of God’s agency in history. Some, like Job’s friends and the writer of Proverbs, think God controls everything according to simple, karma-like moral rules, so God makes bad things happen to bad people and good things to good people. Others, like Job and the writer of Ecclesiastes, find that view ridiculous, and they see chaos, accident, and injustice as part of the cosmic equation. Those who read the Bible with Greco-Roman assumptions must homogenize these voices and eliminate all tension between them, so generally they subordinate the latter to the former, and then fit the former into their six-state timeline.

But when we read the Bible as a conversation, less constrained by Greco-Roman assumptions, we look for revelation precisely at the point of tension between the two views. And in that tension, we see that God is not in control in the sense of being a chess-master moving pieces or a machine operator pulling levers, but God is in relationship, like a rider guiding a horse with a will of its own or a parent guiding a child with a will of its own. The universe, in this view, isn’t just an object upon which God acts by dominating fiat; it is a subject endowed by its Creator with millions of minds and wills, a community with which God relates inter-subjectively. Simultaneously, we see that the universe is not out of control in the sense of being chaotic, random, and purposeless, but it is out of relationship, like a child pouting in the corner at times, or like a teenager sneaking out the window at others.

Put more positively, we see that whatever happens in history, God is with us. God is present in all life’s joys and sorrows, successes and failures. God is present, gently guiding those who seek for God’s good dreams to come true, and gently warning and inviting those who are still pursuing their own selfish agendas to change their way. More striking still: God is even present in our misery and shame, suffering with those who suffer life’s injustices, grieving with those who have ruined their lives, and groaning in and through creation as a mother in childbirth, laboring for a better future to be born.

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