26 October 2006

Incarnational Theology

Unfortunately, what the world knows of Christ, she knows through Christ followers, Christians. What a great model we make. Mel Gibson with his Passion movie on one hand and his alcohol-induced Jew bashing on the other. Memories of the Inquisition wafting through Europe and the Muslim countries. TV evangelists who are naming it and claiming it, namely claiming our moolah. And then there’s me. My temper tantrums (for those of you still clinging to a pure and innocent Heather with pious head bowed on her pedestal, I refer you to My Evil). My tight hands holding my wants close rather than being generous with myself.
Am I incarnating Christ? Christ, the ultimate missionary. He left His home, left His glory, left His comfort. He became human, fully human. He took on our struggles. He ate with the stink of sinners marring his meal. Like a man becoming a roach. And the whole time, He loved. He served. He made God known in a way that we, as finite, limited, meager humans could understand.
And do I do the same?
Thank God, some do. Like Mother Theresa, whose worn and wrinkled hands mimic the hands of God. Like a missionary I know who thanked God for a few straight hours of electricity in the morning – a miracle. Like a North American missionary becoming French. (Hush, now, don’t speak of such unpatriotic ideas.) Like a friend of mine who moved to urban Philadelphia with her husband to live with the poorest of the poor. Like Bach, whose music sang of God’s glory with or without words.
Am I incarnational?


Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Heather! I think I get what you're saying. That's what I get for reading blogs at night while I'm tired. LOL!

I think we're in big trouble when we become unaware of the poor. We get to comfortable and complacant. Trouble is, it's an easy place to wind up in today's society.

Hope you got my email on genetics. Any progress? :-)

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Sometimes we just really suck at being like Christ. I loathe that.

Kathleen Marie said...

And yet in spite of everything, He Loves Us! That knowledge is so comforting and at the same time so mind boggling.

Thank you for a thought provoki8ng post.

Pamela said...

It sure is a good thing He showed us all those people in the Old & New that didn't get it right most of the time either.

He gives me Hope, they give me courage.

Claudia said...

ummm...didn't he get pissed off too???

james said...

Great post, I have been chewing on what it means to be incarnational for a while now, and I want to find ways to invest and take part of various cultures and communities and be the church to them. Thanks for your posts and the examples you gave….it was food for thought.


Robin said...

First thought is yeah, you're incarnational, whether or not you "show" it because Christ, through the person of the Holy Spirit is IN YOU. Once receiving this seal, it's a lifelong process of becoming more like Him, right?

For so long I think I thought it was an instant "event"--You pray to receive Christ and BAM! presto chango...you're like Jesus, but that kind of theology leaves you feeling like a failure...b/c while His indwelling is instant, sanctification is not.

Transformation is coming in pieces, at least for me. The amazing thing is I see it! God is literally "changing my mind", the way I view people and look at life. The change is NOT outward, it's inner...deep. And, ugh.....I screw up on the outside so often, and reflect Him so miserably, and live in defiance, and I know all of that grieves God, yet still, He pursues me, He LOVES me. You know these things, nothing new here.

But...BUT, as you journey along the way...as you seek Him, spend time KNOWING God through His Word, prayer, and the Body, little changes occur. Your heart aches for those who need; the need itself becomes irrelevant because what you begin to see is that you're part of the answer. Maybe not "the" answer, but in some small way, you're a vessel, filled with Christ, that gets to love for Him (that whole "hands and feet" thing). Your struggle these days of getting it "right" is evidence of His work in you...He's changing the way you think, He's unveiling Himself and in the process, giving you a glimpse into the desperation of His beloved....

much peace, much grace and much life to you, oh deep one who stirs my soul :).

Jennifer said...

Okay, I'm fairly intuitive, but I never did see you as pure or innocent (with a gently bowed head), at least not in the way you are trying to assert that you are NOT.

I don't know where I've been the last week, but I'm having to catch up here. Your posts are too thought provoking for me to read too many in one sitting.

Makes my brow furrow and my brain hurt.

D-avid said...