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getting the “who” right

  • Our core is original blessing, not original sin. This says that our starting point is totally positive, or as the first chapter of the Bible says, it is “very good” (1:31). We do have someplace good to go home to
  • “humans are like piles of manure, covered over by Christ.” Such a negative starting point will have a very hard time creating loving or responsive people
  • It is about realization and not performance principles. You cannot get there, you can only be there, but that foundational Being-in-God, for some reason, is too hard to believe, and too good to be true. Only the humble can receive it
  • You’d think everybody would want God. But the common response is something like this: “Lord, I am not worthy. I would rather have religion and morality, which give me the impression that I can win a cosmic contest by my own efforts.”
  • original shame
  • Maybe original “shame” would have described it better. All I know is that we do have a sense of being inadequate–that is obvious
  • Consider, however, what God is looking for at this point. God isn’t looking for servants. God isn’t looking for slaves, workers, contestants to play the game or jump the hoops correctly. God is simply looking for images! God wants images of God to walk around the earth!
  • noah’s ark of forgiveness
  • it is actually “holding” things unreconciled that teaches us — leaving them partly unresolved and without perfect closure or explanation
  • But the gathering of contraries is, in fact, the school of salvation, and the school of love. That’s where it happens, in honest community and committed relationships
  • forgiveness is the only event in which you simultaneously experience three great graces: God’s unmerited goodness, the deeper goodness of the one you have forgiven and then you experience your own gratuitous goodness too
  • the garden of knowledge
  • When we are allowed to name the certain bad guys, we all know that persecution and violence will come next; and when we too easily presume that we are one of the good guys, we largely live in illusion and prejudice
  • how do we “fall”?
  • Alienated people will stop trusting that reality is good, that we are good too and that we belong. Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened (Genesis 3:8)
  • When the Significant Other says that you are good, then you are good, indeed. That’s what it means, psychologically speaking, to be liberated and loved by God. Anyone else can say it, but you will always doubt it, even though it temporarily feels good, and is the necessary “bottle opener.”
  • Now we have God in an almost feminine image. It says, “God sewed together clothes for them out of the skins of animals and they put them on” (3:21)
  • chosenness
  • God’s chosenness is for the sake of communicating chosenness to everybody else! That is the paradox, and it often takes people a long time to learn that (read the Jonah story)
  • both Moses and Paul beautifully teach what chosenness and election is about. It’s not to make you think you are better or to create a society of the superior ones.
  • it’s all about union
  • Water is almost always an invitation to that first, subtle religious experience, when the desire just laps up against you and your mind and heart are opened for the first time.
  • second bookmark: The code word is blood
  • The third and final bookmark, or code word, to look for is bread
  • Food, bread in particular, seems to be used to symbolize fullness and satisfaction in God
  • water, the first invitation to an inner life of union. Then we have blood, which symbolizes the difficult price of union. Finally, we have bread, the ongoing feeding of that union
  • That’s the wonder of having extensive times of prayer or those sacred times of childbirth, death accompaniment or sexual intimacy, where you experience being a part of someone else, where you experience that your life is not your own
  • “God chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and perfect, so that we could live through love in God’s presence, freely adopting us in Christ for our own good, so that we could exist to give glory to God’s utterly free gift, and Find freedom in forgiveness” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

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