just don't make me choose

the anticipated new humanity has crashed into our present humanity from the end of time, drawing us to it and inviting us to live as if it was true of everyone, because it could be true for everyone.

but the whole 'pie in the sky when we die' theology that has dogged christian faith since well the beginning actually, what with gnosticism and all that, is so well ingrained into our practice that it is sometimes very difficult to articulate this in such a way that it doesn't immediately sound so threatening it is relegated to the part of someone's brain marked 'I'll think about this sometime never'.

you only have to look at the kind of reception that brian mclaren and rob bell get from some of their evangelical contemporaries regarding the need for anticipating a new humanity and a new creation in the here an now to see that it is this area of theology that is rocking us to our roots.

is the kingdom of God here or there? is it now or not yet? do I go to it or does it come to me?

the answer that we give to these questions are the difference between the transcendent God or the immanent God, the vulnerable God or the impassable God, sovereign God or servant God.

and which one of us would want to pin ourselves down to 'either/or'? much rather 'both/and' and probably a good measure of 'I haven't a clue' and 'I couldn't possibly imagine'.

but, truth be told, most of us (?) would have ourselves more in one camp than the other, wouldn't we? am I totally off base to think that there is a bit of us that automatically thinks 'but if I had to choose....' and perhaps this is the place to start with our own contemporaries with whom we strongly disagree. I want to say 'both/and' to these seeming oxymoronic statements about God, hold them in tension, be 'grown up' in my thinking and my faith, but when I am pushed into a corner by those who would put me there, the images that spring to mind are, not surprisingly, those of the immanent, vulnerable, servant.

do I disregard the transcendence, the otherness, the sovereignty of God? of course I don't. just don't make me choose.

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