For those regular readers I am off to Jordan today for a week of loving on refugees from Syria and living in the intoxicating presence of Him with others from the US and Jordan. John Crowder is leading the trip so I expect some amazing stories for my return. So for the next 10 days or so this may be the only post. Take a break or catch up on some old stuff. Make some comments and ask some questions. Pray for a huge outpouring of revelation and glory in Jordan!!
In “Godly justice revisited” I wrote about how God’s plan has been to create and include a huge family of children with who He intends to share His infinite triune Love. The only reason He made any of this Cosmos was to have a bigger family. Yeah we got lost along the way but He has always had a plan to bring us back. In some way I am beginning to see the wisdom of such a plan. We all get to choose “ourselves in ourselves” our “ourselves in Him.” That may seem obtuse but some things just don’t have words.
Religion and rebellion are first cousins of “separation from Him” and insistence on self. The running and hiding dysfunction manifests as a giant NO to God. Often in religion the “no” takes on a form of fear based self-effort to stay out hell. In rebellion the “no” is our stubbornness to “do it ourselves.” Either way it is darkness that misses the light. His light has been shining in us and through us from the very beginning. His plan to have a huge family and include His kids (no matter what) has always been running in the background. The Kingdom of Heaven has always been here working like the yeast in the dough. We have never been separated from God except in our own hostile minds.
Then Jesus. Now Jesus. Always Jesus. Eternal Jesus. The Word became flesh, sarx, the fallen Adam stuff. The Christ became Sin. Our God became man. Our Father sent a rescue mission to include us all absolutely. Before the cross we weren’t apart from Him but we couldn’t stand to be together with Him. Israel wanted the priests and Moses and Arron. They didn’t want pillars of clouds and smoke. The mountain was very very scary. Actually it was terrifying. They had no capacity to know this God of love. In their fallen thinking He was a monster of sorts that would destroy them in a temper tantrum. That is precisely why Jesus came as a man in our fallen nature so He could wrestle that Adamic understanding to death, literally. He grabbed our Adam by the throat and said NO to Adam and YES to His divine family. Unlike humans in their fallen state, He knew the triune love of Love Himself. He contended day after day with the lies of the darkness and instead chose the light of His other-centered origins. He completely emptied Himself of any thought of “himself in himself” and instead embraced His true identity of “Himself in God.” He was (and is) the Father’s son. He was (and is) the son of man. He overcame our darkness with His light. We rejected that light and killed the only true Lover to ever walk the planet. In our rebellion and religion we killed the solution to rebellion and religion. In one giant “Jesus Judo Move” our creator forever joined Himself to His creation. He used the Sin of Man to kill the Savior of Man so that Man would be Saved. Wow! That is a really great starting point.
When we start from the right place we find ourselves on the right road and we can look forward and back to see the path clearly. When we start from the wrong place we never find the right place. We are stumbling around in the dark, feeling our way around, stumbling on rocks and ruts. Still He is with us. That is a perfect starting point. That is really good news.
On this journey I beginning to seen a glimpse of this perfect starting point. This God we trust and who lives with us and makes His home in us and joins Himself to us… is just now stepping out of the shadows for me. I know I will be blind in many ways until I see Him face to face and know Him as I am fully known, but for now the beauty of the triune Godhead brings proper perspective to the journey. In His love for each other and their oneness in other-centerdness I am beginning to see our purpose for Him and His purpose for us. It sometimes hurts my head a bit to “see” so differently. For sure there are still some Adam ways of thinking running around in my noggin. I think that is why Paul says we are being transformed in the renewing of our minds. We are learning to think with our mind of Christ and see with His eyes and live His life. We are getting free from our Adamic, fallen-fruit-poisoned reasoning and embracing a divine logic of relational perspectives.
Just think about some concepts (when seen through the lens of a fallen Adam) that have been so twisted in our thinking. Concepts like Holy or righteous or Heaven or Hell or even Sin take on a new “light” with the right starting point. As an example Holy means to be set apart or be so unique there is none other like it outside of the divine. Let me suggest that the concept of Holy has been hijacked by the deception of religion to mean “perfectly moral” or “perfect behavior” or “the inside of a Listerine bottle” (as Baxter Kruger would say). Instead, with THE RIGHT STARTING POINT of triune Love in a perfect triune family relationship, we see Holy as a relationship that is like no other. When we participate in that relationship in Jesus we get to experience and encounter that Holy. As our minds are renewed and we live His life that same Holy becomes our expression to others. Can you see it? And yes it will be moral and “good behavior” and all that because our expression is in and through and from Divine Holy Love.
Even Hell has been one of those concepts that has been mutated through the fear-seeds of religion to include images that are grounded in mythology and paganism. Our images of Hell are more akin to Dante’s inferno instead of Hebrew tradition. If we begin with THE RIGHT STARTING POINT of triune love and acceptance and inclusion and Fatherhood and the “from the foundations of the Earth you will be my children” understanding, then Hell will look different to us. In our fallen thinking the irrational fear of a loving God will drive us into understanding a Hell based on our fear instead of His love. Perfect love casts out fear…He said it not me. So Hell has to be an extension of His love because He is love. Love is His nature and the very root of His triune relationship and the reason we breath. Love is not one of many emotions for God or an expression alone or a choice based on His mood. Love defines Him. So Hell must be an expression of Love.
OK, without getting into the tits and tats and arguments and all that doctrinal stuff, let me just suggest that it is possible to “miss the mark” when it comes to our human derived wisdom apart from our mind of Christ. Let me also suggest that when we are in conflict in our minds with the Jesus truth that lives inside us, we are perplexed and not at rest. When we need a Hell that burns people for ever and ever just because we don’t like them, we are ignoring the light of life within us. When we insist on punishment that last forever for a crime committed in this limited temporal reality, we are missing the heart of the Jesus in us. When we are declaring “that isn’t fair” or “that is too good to be true” we are actually arguing with the Holy Spirit anointed face of our savior saving us. It is the wrong starting point. Clay and potters. Wages and fairness. Stone and bread. Snakes and eggs. Older brother and prodigal returnee. All these images are reminders that God has made us to be His children and we are His children. Even though we think differently or see fairness differently or insist on a Jurisprudence justice…God’s justice is to include His children no matter what. Yes some, and maybe many, will reject Him. I can’t imagine why but then again you should see some of the reactions to this line of reasoning about Hell. Watch for the reaction when you say God loves us enough to include us all even when we didn’t have a vote. It is the older brother arguing with his Father when there is a party to go to. Here are a couple of quotes by Robert Capone that really bring this together.
“But the very hell of hell lies precisely in the fact that its inhabitants will be insisting on a perpetual rejection of an equally perpetual gift. It will be an eternal struggle to escape from the grip of a love that will never let them go. And for that everlasting stand-off, I think, there is not a word in Scripture that is too strong: not the “fire that is not quenched,” not the “worm that dieth not,” not the “outer darkness,” not the “bottomless pit,” not the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” – and certainly not the utterly fruitless “second death.””
“We are not judged by our previous performances (on that basis, nobody would go anywhere but to hell); rather, we are judged by what Jesus did for us on the cross. He pronounces an authoritative kala (I like it) over the whole world that he has caught in the net of his reconciliation. It is only those who want to argue with that gracious word who are then pronounced sapra (I don’t like it). Both heaven and hell are populated entirely and only by forgiven sinners. Hell is just a courtesy for those who insist they want no part of forgiveness.” (explanation I added)
Robert Farrar Capon. Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus
I pray we all let God renew our minds to use our mind of Christ and begin to “see” through the eyes of Jesus. I say we find our perfect starting point in Jesus and let His light of life shine in our reality. I expect that even when you read a post like this something (Him) inside you is resonating with proper perspective. It isn’t my words or my “wax eloquent” verbosity or mastery of the English language (ha ha, just the other day I had a reader make the most profound comment that I should use a proof reader, yay!). It is all about Christ in us the Hope of Glory. God has “fixed” all of humanity to give us all the perfect starting point so we can have the right perspective…His.