Join us for a Father's Day celebration this Sunday at Unity of Columbia, 1600 W. Broadway, 573-447-0414, http://www.unityofcolumbia.org
What if God is One of Us?
Forgive the banality of this statement, but Goddesses are awesome. Most religious schools portray a God who is androgynous and anthropopathic, a god who has emotions, feelings, sensitivities. However I understand the Divine, if I describe God as emotional then I cannot really call it a "man." It is equally right and wrong to see God as Male or Female. For me, God as "Father" or "Mother" are simply different ways of describing our relationship with that which we seek, which serves to begin to de-mythologize Jesus. When we take out the supernatural and the politics then what are the messages trying to say?
If Jesus existed, and many scholars have made compelling cases of that fact, it appears to have been handed down that he was a man. Duh. So we look at the male humanity he was. Only his masculinity has been handed down and has overpowered his feminine side. Sadly, and once again missing the metaphorical boat, the contemporary theological trend is an over-correction of the masculine to the feminine. For me, the best of both worlds is Jesus as the Compassionate Judge, the appropriate balance of both masculine and feminine or Humanity and Divinity.
As for the human side...I bet he had kids...c'mon now. When he was done walking on water and feeding many with the loaves wouldn't it have been nice to go home to the goddess? These miracles show that Jesus was power in the world, walked through it but wasn't brought down by it. Metaphysical interpretation of these events leads to their applicability in my life- concretizing the metaphor in a literal way elides its power, reduces it to the absurd and makes a mockery of the transcendent power it is. When we look at the human Jesus, we also see markers as to the nature of the Divine, which is why I see him as a "wayshower" to the nature of my highest good. Professor Shepherd stated that in medieval iconography, Jesus was pictured with both a lilly and a sword- balancing both gender approaches.
Unfortunately, the metaphor becomes concrete and thus politicized into competing camps (kind of like the Copernicans and the Ptolemaics- and we know who won that game eh?) The way we see God is shaped by the window of Jesus- if we "see" a warmongering radical then we will find that. Paul Tillich noted that any symbol of God must be "affirmed and denied" at the same time.
So an image of Jesus holding some guns would be affirmed and denied in the sense that the affirmation is that Jesus stands by his beliefs and denied in that he never took up arms (right?). Unity defines the "Trinity" as "Mind-Idea-Expression." This is Modalism: God as Divine, as God-Idea-as-Me, and as Activity Expressed (me and the universe). "I can see God in XYZ way" (modalism, quantum perspective= is it a particle or a wave (depends on how you look at it)) vs. "God IS this way." (organic, 3 leaf clover, pretzel, all three aspects are required).
So, Is Unity "Trinitarian"? Jesus, a .45 and a shotgun? Are we saying what God is? Or are these simply ways of organizing our thinking about the divine mystery that is God? We have borrowed some terms from Christianity to express these issues just as the Catholic church made those same choices after several centuries of debate in antiquity and made the choices concrete in the Nicene Creed. I would agree that it is possible to believe in Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity while remaining faithful to One Power/One Presence and to the biblical witness. BIG qualification though: I do not believe this at a literal level- these are metaphors of my deepest primordial Self. If as Professor Shepherd suggests that Jesus "represents" each of us in the Trinity, the perfect-man idea, the "offspring of God-Mind," then I can palette the idea. Can palette be a verb?
Each of us is Divine. God is not "out there" somewhere- God is everywhere, in/as EVERY HUMAN. HELLLOOO. Wake up! God is within each of us, is us, as us, through us. Jesus shows the way to our own divine potential. Thanks for the Joan Osborne reminder:
Anthony Phillips, MA, JD