And next ... I want to wallow a bit in "how to see ourselves - and each other - as God does."
And why not?!? Beats the snot out of how we're currently seeing ourselves and others, no? I mean, how's this self-despising, other-attacking thing working so far...?
Listen -- do you hear the echo of the mystics...?
"You have made humans a little less than God, and you have crowned them with glory and honor, You have given them dominion over the works of your hands, putting all things under their feet." (Psalm 8:6,7 -- and I notice that all things are said to be under the feet of Christ, too ... connect them dots!)
"Royal dignity was yours from the day you were born, on the holy mountains, royal from the womb, from the dawn of your earliest days." (Psalm 110:3)
"...Every person is created to have dominion in the world, i.e., to be stewards of the world and builders of community within society." (Helen Kenik)
"Every human person is an aristocrat. Every person is noble and of royal blood, born from the intimate depths of the divine nature and the divine wilderness." (Meister Eckhart)
"Human nature had ineffable dignity." (John the Scot)
"When will we teach our children in school what they are? We should say to each of them: do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body - what a wonder it is! your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move! You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?" (Pablo Casals)
What IF we taught our children that ....? Can you imagine? What if YOU had been taught that, years ago, when ideas were forming and becoming foundational-cement within you...? Do you feel that wistful ache, when you think on that... what if? Here's the good news: it's not too late -- it's *never* too late...! Our minds are amazing things, capable of being re-wired, re-formatted, re-NEWed! Break up that cement, and let the fertile soil be exposed...!
And we *can* teach our children afresh ... even if they've already been programmed ... even if we already taught them when we "knew not what we were doing" ... we can begin afresh, inviting them to discover with us what we're daring to learn ... what we're daring to entertain and contemplate ... and as we share, as we "teach" (which is really just to remind -- we have no need for anyone but the Spirit - the Only Teacher - to teach us), we learn with them. And, have you noticed how much more receptive the fresh generation is..? Not having been steeped in the stew of modernism (wherein intellect dwarfs intuition, wherein facts replace experience, wherein logic trumps the Spirit), they are marvelously more attuned to the flow of the Spirit within them ... not having been indoctrinated with the dogma of institutionalism (& the arrogance of its very nature), they are *open* to the "much more" that Jesus wanted to share with His disciples ... the "much more" that God still wants us to see, and indeed IS displaying, if we would but have eyes to see, and ears to hear ...!
And the little children shall lead us ...
Once we see ourselves as God does (and this takes time, depending on how much we have swallowed the "I am but a worm to be despised" mentality of traditional Christianity), we see that God is reminding us of both our inherent dignity (made in His image and likeness), AND of our resulting responsibility. The responsibility is for justice-making, and creation-preserving. For those who are poor (the have-nots) this means asserting one's own dignity, one's inherent rights, and letting go of the images that speak contrarily. For those who are comfortable (the have's) this means letting go and aligning with those who are afflicted.
We are told that we are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world ... to those who have been given much, much is required ... for we are One. This is not about socialism (being forced to share), but about Love (sharing out of a desire to meet needs, out of our inherent connection-with-all, responding out of Who We Really Are).
The fall/redemption tradition has continuously lost sight of the reality of "royal personhood" because it confuses the kingdom of God with the institution of the church (& this would very much include "house/simple" church). Theologian Alfred Loisy thus complained ... "Jesus came preaching the kingdom, and what we got was the churches -- what a letdown!"
Harsh words, perhaps ... but look at the fruit ... lift off the veneer of good-works, and see what motivates most of it ... are folks responding out of knowing they are deeply loved and accepted, and thus cannot help BUT respond in kind ...? OR, are they reacting to a fear that they are separated from God, and thus must earn His acceptance, approval, and love...?
Only each heart, daring to be radically honest, can answer for itself...
May we be enabled to see ourselves -- and each other -- as God sees us, which is Who We Really Are. And may our doingness flow out of our BEingness...!