Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why Preach A Principle?

Jesus preached himself as the content of the gospel--a person, a presence. Why do Christians preach a system or an ethic or a principle? Why is it that we find the dynamic freedom of living that presence so abhorrent?

Maybe it is because the person isn't in your face anymore. Maybe it isn't abhorrence, more like simple common sense...dude isn't standing there. Maybe the real abhorrence comes from people telling you to "follow the phantom." What might be missing is the "system" that teaches one how to believe in a presence--a person who once drank wine with you but now only does it "in spirit."

On the contrary, we have no lack of capacity to believe in presences, the thing is we prefer to reify fictitious phantoms. We find it completely natural to believe that the little green pieces of paper we (may or may not) have in our pockets actually have real value (this, even in the face of inflation and threatened market collapse.) There is not now nor has there ever been anything underdeveloped in the human ability to believe in phantoms, whether it be creationism or evolutionism, causation or the demonic consciousness present in plumbing, the State or grandpa's ghost or progress. However, what I am talking about is an experiential power rather than a spiritualization of demands. I would go as far as to say that either the Holy Spirit is a real, effective power and presence in and through us or Christianity is false and moreover a waste of time and energy.

Why do we so deeply fear the uncertainty of living the presence of Jesus in the deep complexity of the world and instead cower in the false refuge of ethical principles and semi-baptized political or economic programs?

More importantly, how do we become accustomed to, I think that getting comfortable with is a ridiculous hope, living the dynamic freedom of the active embodiment of the presence of Jesus? It goes way beyond what is usually meant when we are urged to step outside our comfort zone. It is actively living without a roadmap, without a system to depend on to tell us what is the right thing to do or to use to judge others. It is living along a completely different tangent than the flow of the world.

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