Richard Rohr asked:
Can you re-imagine what is the nature of salvation? God’s primary metaphor is a banquet to which all are invited.
We made the Gospel into a winners script, and yet we clearly worship a losing God, a suffering God. We got the almighty part of God, we did not get the vulnerable part of God.
We believe a proper understanding of God as Trinity is a gift to the shape of how we understand reality. Genesis 1:26, 27 – which uses two plural pronouns.
Genesis 1:1 In the Hebrew, “In the beginning Elohim” is a plural noun. Elohim is not only a plural noun, it is at least three or more. There’s another form in the Hebrew that is used for dual and they didn’t use it. That becomes an introduction to verse two where God is ruach the Spirit of God, the wind is feminine. And then you’re introduced to the unpronounceable name for God which is Adonai or Jehovah, or Joshua, or Jesus. But it’s “God with us”.
But then there’s this beautiful verse in Genesis 3 where it says, “And they hid because they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the cool of the day.” That’s what it says in the English. Here’s what it says in the Hebrew: “They heard the sound of Elohim, Yahewh walking in the ruach” – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And it was all relational. And it was the denial of relationship that drove them into covering up and religion. And from that point on then God submits to them and climbs into their religious language in order to rescue them from it.
I know this must sound scary but I would ask you to just look for the fruit. What we are all three trying to say is not going to make you more afraid, it will make you less afraid. It’s not going to make you more cold-hearted; you’re going to find streams of compassion and you just don’t know where they come from. But they’ve been flowing there all the time. Jesus says you will know them by their fruit. Paul names the fruit.
God is this flow of infinite love. But mainline Christianity weren’t able to enjoy that love very much, because it was all based on weighing and measuring, and calculating and earning. And, at that game, everybody loses.
I call it carrot-on-the-stick theology. We clergy love to hold that carrot on the stick out in front of you. If you are just a little more moral you will achieve union with God, not knowing that you are created in the imago dei. You are already objectively, ontologically, metaphysically, really, one with God.
All you can do is make that image into likeness. Genesis 1:27 – “We are created in the image and likeness.” Image is the objective identity that absolutely levels the playing field. Everyone of you equally carries the image of God.
But to protect that what we see in the world that some don’t look too much like God, that is “likeness”. So you have the objective truth that levels the playing field. Racism is over, sexism is over, homophobia is over, classism is over. All of it means nothing. It was supposed to be a social revolution Gospel.
But, we’ve got to be honest about it, not all of us appropriate, access, own, awaken the inner image that we have. It is an inside out job. You don’t need to get it out there. The primary hope is what Paul calls, an “implanted hope.” It is implanted in you.
You have an inner generator that mirrors the image of God. When you learn to access that, trust that, to fan it into flame, then you will know your dignity is inherent. This is what humanity so desperately needs now, a sense of its inherent dignity.
We need to come to the place of trusting this flowing life that is already within us and gives us our true identity at our very core.