- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
What if it's All True (II): A Reprise in Response to Tony Jones
Tony Jones, on the Patheos Progressive Christian blog, has challenged bloggers to post something about God, noting that “Progressive” Christians seem to be writing about everything but God. I’m with him here and grateful for the invitation. And I’m responding mostly with words I have posted before, in a post called “What if it’s all True?” that went up on my blog and also Episcopal café during Lent of 2011 but without much response. I notice that though the post was all about God, I didn’t use the word “God” in it at all. That has more to do with the baggage that God-language carries for many people than with a reluctance to reflect theologically. I’ve added the word once, just to meet Tony’s challenge - and I’m making bold to post this again, since the question has come up. So here’s the reprise:
What if it’s all true? What if (to begin)” the One we call “God,” the Ground and Source of our being, our life, our connections with one another and the earth, is real and alive, though beyond our ability to name. What if this Reality is best described and apprehended in personal terms, through our human images of love – mother-love, father-love, the love of devoted friends, the love of an artist or a gardener for what she has made or nurtured, the love that desires, above all things, the well-being of the beloved. What if it’s all true? What if the heart of Reality is that love?
And what if it’s true, as we Christians claim (set our hearts to – as the word “credo” implies) that this Love became human, took on fully our experience of bodily life, limiting itself (himself/herself – for this is a personal Reality) to a person in history, with parents, friends, enemies, a culture, a community.? What if Jesus is the Word made flesh, “Incarnate,” as we say. A mystery beyond our understanding, perhaps: but what if it’s true? What if, fully human, he experienced what it is to be loved and cared for, and to be oppressed, rejected, betrayed, killed. And what if the witness of all those early disciples is true – that death could not contain him: that the life Jesus lived and brought and called us to is actually eternal life, and has already begun, even in a broken world?
And what if it’s true that that Life and Love cannot be killed. What if, in the life of Jesus, in companionship with him, we can re-learn that love at the heart of Creation, and embody it in our lives here and now?. What if he really does live on in the gathered worshipping community (ekklesia/) that we call the Church. It seems so unlikely, and yet what if, through all our divisions, abuses, human distortions, abuses and misunderstandings of the good news, his life still lives in us. What if we are held, despite it all, in something that could be called “the Divine Mercy”?
And what if it is still possible to somehow be, in this world, that risen body of the Holy One, through our life together, through our relationships, through the choices we make for ourselves and for others. And what if there is power available to us, beyond what we can find within ourselves, to become what we were made to be – whole, and just and loving, bearers of the divine Love. What if there is a Holy Spirit, working through us, that really can transform and change? What if the whole thing is a whole lot bigger than we thought? What if it’s all true?
What would it be like, truly to live in the hope that it’s all true?