Contra Washington: Ten Theses

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A recent resolution out of the Diocese of Washington has advocated genderless talk about God. This is not a new thought, though its association with gender neutrality is. In the wake of strong criticism, the bishop has replied that this should be taken not politically but theologically. To honor this distinction, I offer the following theses: 

  1. God is not a creature, and hence is not male or female. God is beyond our knowing, and were we left to our own devices we could only project our own notions upon Him.
  2. But God has revealed Himself to us in Scripture and pre-eminently in Jesus Christ. In this light, we can rightly understand how creation too reveals His glory. 
  3. Naming is different from describing. Jesus calls God “Abba,” and He is addressed as “my beloved Son.” 
  4. The official liturgies of the Church derive from this revelation and must make sure they address the true God truly.
  5. As a result we are commanded directly by the risen Jesus to baptize in the name of the “Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
  6. In the relation thereby restored, we are given the space to describe God in many ways. Jesus described Himself as a hen gathering her brood. The proper places for such descriptions include private prayers, poems, songs, and even sermons. 
  7. The question of how we address one another is a different one, dependent on custom, language, and usage. It should be debated separately. 
  8. The use of “He” for God is a linguistic accommodation to the Incarnation within the grammatical structures of English.  It makes no metaphysical claim.  
  9. Male and female God created us. But their roles had been the subjects of great historical and cultural change, and are an appropriate topic of discussion. 
  10. For the reasons above God should be addressed without exception or change in an orthodox manner in our Church, to His praise and glory. 

+GRS

 

 

Bishop's Blog: Mottos Part 3

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On Mottos III: Seven Hard Things ‘We are Resurrection People’ Means. This is our motto, and for good reasons. At the same time, it might appeal for reasons short of what the term really means in the Bible. So let’s clear away some underbrush so it can be better heard. It doesn’t just mean that the Bible gives us an old-fashioned word for being a member of the Optimists’ Society.  It means more than "hope springs eternal."  Nor is it emphasizing the appealing bits of the faith and soft-pedalling the hard parts.  So in this spirit, lets list what it really does mean in Scriptural perspective. 

  1. The same God who made the world has redeemed it, and will bring it to its consummation, by His hand and in His manner and time.  "The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His Temple, but who can abide the day of coming…" (Malachi 3:1)  We have no power to build His Kingdom nor bring it in - see Temptation of Jesus story!
  2. He means to reclothe us in spiritual bodies and have us stand before His throne. No easy continuation in some disembodied heaven - see any book by Tom Wright! But what a spiritual body is is quite beyond us. The judgment that ensues involves heaven and hell…
  3. Resurrection is life from the dead! It implies that all intra-mundane means of hope for the redemption of this world are vain. It implies that on its own the world as it is is a dark and broken place. Resurrection is the kind of hope that can be heard, however, in a war or in a cancer ward…
  4. We are indeed a people, not just a conglomeration of individuals. But we do not have the power or vision to execute Resurrection. We are witnesses to what He has done. We are totally dependent on grace, being ourselves powerless.  Christianity is the original 12-step program!
  5. In this vein, resurrection fulfills the prophetic words of Ezekiel 37 and Daniel 12, whose domain was the despair of exile and alienation from our home.
  6. Our resurrection follows on that of Jesus not only in time but in being. And Jesus’ resurrection is tied to his death.  He still has the scars, now glorious. To be Resurrection means we are necessarily Vicarious Atonement people.
  7. Jesus’ resurrection was bodily, and so shall ours be. It is hence all of us He now claims as Lord. And it is our ecology, our society, our cosmos that he rules over. Getting our mind around these facts is the main agendum of Christian ethics.

All this and far more packed into a sentence….

Peace,

+GRS

 

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