Philosopy of Adrian - Part Five: The Most Inherent, Intimate, Inward Thing

Continuing to part five of the document prepared for the gathering at Yarrambat...

Continued: Now use this to interpret a few beautiful but widely misunderstood Christian dogmas, ideas and traditions…. 

Item 2: Kingdom of God

There is a school of thought (and I’m part of it) that suggests Jesus’ espoused the idea of the “Kingdom of God” as an irony. Quite simply Jesus existed in the midst of the Kingdom of Caesar, which was formed in the way that all typical kingdoms or empires are formed; on the basis of the power of an elite grouping over some other group or groups within the cosmos. This is true whether we are talking about formal empires established as national governance structures or other forms of dominant hierarchies governing other institutions.

You can probably see that the idea of god or divinity expressed so far in this paper doesn’t operate through such “power over” structures. So a phrase like Kingdom of God creates a tricky juxtaposition that gets us thinking. Both the “U” path and the Christian story, as I interpret it, are invitations to shift from “power over” to “power with,” from Lakoff’s descriptors (used earlier): “strict fatherhood” to “nurturant community.” Author David Korten summarised this shift well, I think, in his 2007 book "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community."

When pious people use the word “repent” they usually mean it in some narrow moral context, asking people to desist from an action they find distasteful. But that misses the point. We use the word repent out of context of its Greek form, “metanoia” which meaning “to turn around, to shift our thinking.” The Christian story is all about taking that “turning journey” as, of course, is following the path of the “U.”

Item 3: Incarnation:

Incarnation is about the idea of the divine/eternal breaking through into the material/time-bound. You know from what I have already written (“Jesus ‘divinty’ then is a product of his deep humanity – knowing himself and hence where he fitted in the whole order of things.”) that I have an alternative view of incarnation to what is popularly espoused in many Christian circles. Although I’d also suggest that my view might be more truly traditional than some mechanical viewpoints that have emerged to popularity.

I read the word “incarnation” as an attempt to get to the “most particular” or “lowest level” language we can find. It is saying that divinity is the most inherent, intimate, inward thing we can find. And that presents a beautiful paradox. Divinity is not just about “a thing out there” or even a “whole” (though it is about the whole). It is equally about the most intimate thing. The paradox is that when I am most truly myself – most intimately acquainted with who I am called to be – I am a model of or local mirror on to the whole.

As I noted in the discussion of Trinity, the “U” represents this paradox. Divinity is not accessible by staying at the “top of the U.” It is equally present at all depths and therefore only accessed when we take the whole journey. And that means we have to get the most particular, intimate, incarnate that we can – and that means going to the bottom of the “U.”

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