Archive for January, 2011

Free from Dogma

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

I just got the report from Floris about sales of Free from Dogma. To date it’s sold 423 copies. This is very gratifying, but I also wonder whether everyone’s read it who needs to. Here’s the table of contents:

Prologue: The Journey from Unity to Community

Introduction: Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

Theology in becoming ; The modern world

Part 1. The Experience of God

1.Where is Your God Now?

Faith in God after the ‘death of God’ ; God, the ground of

being ; What difference does it make if God created the world?

2. The Experience of God

The Trinity — a doctrine born of experience ; The fourth

century ; The image of God ; The image as archetype

3. The Wounded Healer

Superhero ; Christ the hero ; The hope of the Messiah

4. Truly God and Truly Man

Understanding the extremes ; Son of Man ; … you are still

asleep …

5. The Holy Spirit

Grasping the Spirit ; Human and holy ; Koinonia ; The

Spirit of evolution

6. Evil Cries Out for Its Redemption

‘Evil evil’ ; Rebellion and redemption

Part 2: The New Community

7. The Icon of the New Community

The Christian Community ; The community of the second

coming

8. The Way into the New Community

The way into the self ; The journey home ; Life as a

journey ; The Sacramental Consultation ; Forgiveness ;

The divine pedagogy

9. The Act of Consecration of Man — the Celebration of theNew Community

The meal ; Letting go and letting come ; The sun amongst

the seven sacraments

10. The Biographical Path in the Community of Christ

Baptism ; Confirmation ; Membership ; Taking leave of

the earthly community ; Celebrating community of life

11. The Structuring of the Community

Community and congregation

Epilogue: The Future Hope

Endnotes

Sources and References

And here’s a taster, the Prologue:

The beginning is one — single — a unity. Everything is infolded. The whole multitude of things — animals and atoms, stars and galaxies, all the experiences and thoughts of human beings and angels — exist as pure potential within God. Time is not yet. Space is infolded. Then God’s fullness overflows in a free deed of pure, creative love.

The world around us with all its abundance, its fullness and variety of separate, individual things — it all springs forth from this ground. Stones and plants; animals; human beings; angels and other heavenly powers — all pour forth from God in overflowing generosity. Science tells the story of the simplest atoms that condensed to become the elements, nebulae, stars; that seeded galaxies. All the glory of the night sky issues forth from this vast outpouring of energy. And that is only a story about the outside of what happens. The inside is pure, self-bestowing love.

Every human soul, every feeling, every breath — all of it is inside God as potential before it pours out into existence. Unimaginable variety comes from this single origin. So great is God’s love that it allows what has been created to stretch so far from God that it becomes other than God. World exists over against God, separate from God, even opposed to God — and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not grasped it. Ranks of spiritual beings — God’s hands and feet, his limbs, eyes and ears — work on the world, shining down their thoughts, drawing the world to evolve towards higher perfection.

A creature made in God’s image walks on the earth, a creator in becoming, bearing the seed of God’s word, godlike already in naming and understanding, in finding and giving meaning.

In the beginning human beings worship the multitude of spiritual beings that they experience within and behind all that is — the hands and feet, eyes and ears of God. The ancient Jewish people are the forerunners with the hard task of understanding that there is one central being at the heart of everything; one unifying principle that underlies all of creation with all its manifold details and glories. The worship of this God allows human beings to become unitary beings themselves. I believe in one God — one almighty divine being.

With the coming of Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit, God reveals himself as one in three and three in one. At Whitsun, many tongues of flame emerge from the one central flame. Each individual human being can become a bearer of Holy Spirit. The splitting and splintering of humanity that started at the Tower of Babel, symbol of human beings’ growing separation on their journey, is overcome. At Whitsun, the apostles’ words resonate in the souls of those who hear them, regardless of whether they understand them with their minds. The very beings of those who hear them vibrate in unison as the words recall their common origin in the spirit.

A new unity is born — not a simple oneness, but community, the place of common life, of common work and striving. This is ekklesia, the assembly of those called out to perform a service for the world. They overcome the great divisions that splinter humanity — in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, man nor woman, slave nor free, says Saint Paul (Galatians 3:28). In their celebration they rejoice in a new joining of heaven and earth, a foreshadowing of the fulfilment when God will be ‘all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15:28). They celebrate their vocation as human beings: to join together in a new community with creation — with all human beings — with the divine world.

This human community is neither uniform nor exclusive. It is not regimented, ‘churchy’ in any old sense. It celebrates all creativity that is in tune with the abundance of the life and love which is ultimate reality. It seeks for the truth about the journey that we are on, not to prescribe a dogma but to help human beings on their journey. At the heart of the community is celebration and rejoicing. When the prodigal son of the parable returns, the father rejoices. This my son, he says, was lost and is found. He was dead and has come back to life. When human beings find their true vocation in the celebration of community they find themselves again, and pass from death to life.

Facebook profile for Perspectives

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

I’ve made a profile for Perspectives. I’ve been interested how many Christian Community people, particularly from North America, follow my blog via Facebook, so it seemed logical to create a presence for Perspectives there. If you’re on FB and you’re logged in, you should be able to see it at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Perspectives/184475281586036?v=wall