Thursday, April 14, 2011

Philippians 2:5-11

Lent 6 - Year A

Passion Sunday Philippians 2:5-11

Ahh, humility rewarded. Surely my humility will be likewise recognized for its quality.

Somehow we have lost track of an antecedent. To what was Jesus “obedient” and in regard to what was he “humble.”

Our tendency is to return to a system of dominion. G*D has it, Jesus didn’t, you don’t. Jesus knelt better than you do. G*D wants proof of Jesus’ submission, of your obedience. This is the test of Abraham being submissive and obedient enough to slaughter Isaac taken to the next level. Are you willing to have G*D kill you? That is what the whole bloody substitutionary and obediently humble atonement theories would have you desire.

So back to the question of antecedent. To what was Jesus obedient? What would be a sufficient call to you that would result in your obedience to it? I would hope it is more than some bowing of the neck to fate, to meanness, to our lowest common denominator, to power, . . . .

To be humble one might be expected to reject any kowtowing to the excellence of one’s humility. To do otherwise, to accept adulation as expected, is to deny the focus one had on bringing love of G*D/Creation together with love of Neighbor/Enemy. Humility here is intended to bring everything possible together and to laugh at the resulting response that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is simply 42. Humility here would get up on its high horse, in high dudgeon, to say, “Wrong, G*D, we are all exalted or none of us are!”
 

2 comments:

  1. Passion Sunday Philippians 2:5-11

    Are you willing to have G*D kill you? That is what the whole bloody substitutionary and obediently humble atonement theories would have you desire.

    It is also the problem inherent with the "Creator God" (or father god or mother god or anything resembling "a being" of some kind) theory. If such a "Creator God" indeed created this whole bloody mess, and all the rules and parameters that govern it, then it follows that death is part of the deal since it appears to be happening all over the place quite apart from human sinfulness, and indeed if accept that we live only by the will of G*D then we have no choice other than to be willing to have G*D kill us whether by the attrition of age, the assault of cancers and viruses or the impact of accident.

    Or, we are forced to let go of some comforting notion of a great being up there who is somehow in control of all of this and accept that it may be quite a bit more complicated, and "obedience" is a dead metaphor like the Trinity, relevant only in a feudal society, the army, or corporate amerika.

    So back to the question of antecedent. To what was Jesus obedient? What would be a sufficient call to you that would result in your obedience to it? I would hope it is more than some bowing of the neck to fate, to meanness, to our lowest common denominator, to power,

    Maybe it's a Conservative Tea Party G*D. From George Lakeoff (substitute "G*D" for "conservatives" and "government"):

    "Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have over 800** military bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility."

    So the bloody "substitutionary and obediently humble atonement theories" are obedient to the creed of rabid individual responsibility. That makes sense.

    To be humble one might be expected to reject any kowtowing to the excellence of one’s humility. To do otherwise, to accept adulation as expected, is to deny the focus one had on bringing love of G*D/Creation together with love of Neighbor/Enemy.

    What if it is impossible to bring "love of G*D/Creation" together with "love of Neighbor/Enemy" BECAUSE... PRECISELY BECAUSE... they are already together and have never been apart? Not ever? Not for one nanosecond? What then? Who's been wrong?

    Humility here is intended to bring everything possible together and to laugh at the resulting response that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is simply 42. Humility here would get up on its high horse, in high dudgeon, to say, “Wrong, G*D, we are all exalted or none of us are!"

    I believe it is an accurate paraphrase of at least part of John Wesley's theology to say "No one is saved, there is no salvation for anyone, not one, until there is peace and plenty for everyone, bread on every plate, justice in every land." Humility here means, to me, that we don't know SH*T about G*D.

    Tom

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  2. Tom -

    I'm humbled at the depth of your response. Thank you for taking the time and energy to share your life experience. I have no trouble with your expansion of my comments. I particularly appreciate the much better rejection of a separation between loves as a background for our living. I keep getting caught in current gaps and thus experience a need to rejoin that, which at some level, was never separated.

    Peace and Joy do abound, take plenty and some to pass around.

    Wesley

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