Welcome to Flesh made Word. What a privilege to write and share with you on the Anglican Church of Canada’s online community! The title invokes the early Christian formula of salvation: “God became human that human might become God.”
I am passionate about reclaiming the Christian tradition that often seems to have been abandoned for a juridical conservative moralism or a groundless neo-liberal spiritualism. Why are we doing what we do as Christians? I am proposing to you, friends, that our “why” of Christian life is far beyond anything we can ask or imagine. Beyond a place to belong—a community in a lonely world, beyond an insurance plan of eternal life, beyond a good set of values to learn and share, beyond even a platform for social justice—though all of these are important, no doubt. I propose to you that the future of the cosmos the fulfillment of life itself, rests in our hands. It is up to us, fragile, human beings, made in His image and given the extraordinarily dangerous gift of freewill.
For this first entry, I thought I would offer 6 Principles that this blog will stand upon. These may be adjusted, added to, corrected but here goes:
- The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ restores human nature, (vrs individuals) and opens the way for human beings, through grace, to reclaim their divine inheritance (personhood) and “become participants in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Human nature is good; “this goodness is capable of unlimited development, indeed, of being turned into Christ and deified” (Thomas Keating).
- Each of us is a divine ‘intention’ or logos that yearns for fulfillment. Christian life is a “work”—a work of yielding to the truth of whom we are created to be. The Church is the body of the logoi journeying to this Eschatological hope. The profound dignity of baptism claims true human freedom which is the fulfillment (telos) of existence. True life is freely offered and its realization must be freely chosen.
- Our true identity, personhood, is found in communion with the Holy Trinity (and thus the Church): claimed at Baptism as a passover from death to life, and nurtured and sustained through the Eucharist. Our person is always and only “being in relation.” Worship, prayer, repentance and ascetic practice are the ways we freely turn towards true life in God. We cannot achieve by our effort; rather, our participation is always a response, a yielding, a consenting to the grace of the indwelling Holy Trinity.
- The work is the edification of the primary human faculty, the crown jewel of human beings as made in the image of God: the will. God does not transgress human freedom, he invites—the response is ours as revealed by Mary’s “yes” to be the God-bearer. God’s activity is kenosis, self-emptying love that is the way of the cross we follow, we receive of, participate in, and become. The salvation of the cosmos hangs on man’s proper use of self-determination. “All of us are made in the image of God, but to be in God’s likeness is for those who by great love, have attached their freedom to God.” St Diadochos of Photiki.
- Love is the cause and the fruit. Our desire, our yearning for God is the “very marrow of our inward state” (Rumi)—or is it God yearning for us? “What you are looking for is what is looking” says St Francis. The fruit of love is love. Claiming personhood, bares the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Love is the earth, the seed, and the fruit of the vineyard.
- Finally, reason, intellect, logic—the mind—is a finite tool, important, but incapable of travelling very far upon the limitless path towards God and Christian perfection. The language of faith is doxological and “antinomic”, a journey of the kataphatic to the apophatic. Paradox, art, hymn, touch, beauty, “unknowing”, the “luminous darkness”, and silence are paths leading us into the holy mystery of love crucified.