dig a well – get deeper in a way that means something

The African Well Fund has an interesting initiative that will only fuel the fire of jimmywhiteshoes recent post on the blog – you can sponsor a well in Africa for Bono’s birthday!

As I mentioned in my comments to Brannon in relation to my earlier posting on ‘end times’ – there is a distinct calling to ‘deepen’ rather than ‘move forward’ or ‘enlarge’ our lives in the upside-down Kingdom of God. Unlike some readings of Christendom provided through Prayer of Jabez and other consumer-based neo-theologies – the radical nature of authentic faith is one of deep intimacy of self, other, and God. Too often temporality (time) is tied to a linear progression mapped on a saptial plane vis a vis a ‘ray’ that emanates from a fixed point on a flat plane toward infinity. As opposed to this expansive, empire building (dare I say ‘church growth?!’) model, time provides the opportunity to deepen rather than merely expand.

I am coming back (of course) to Tillich’s theorem – ‘religion is meaning-giving depth (Gehalt)’ – from Über die Idee einer Theologie der Kultur. If meaning is ‘depth’ of import rather than expansiveness of being or collapsing of subject and the Divine (ontotheology ala Heidegger) … then isnt the temporal context (Steve Miller sing-a-long -“time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’…into the future…”) the methodological context of depth-of-meaning and human freedom (‘Über die Freiheit’) where the enactment of depth is being-in-action?

Or to put the point more directly in relation to jimmy white shoes’ ‘kinder, gentler, ol’ skool language’ – from James 2:17-19 – “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder.”

Sooo – pick up the shovel (or click through on the URL) and dig deeper beyond self…

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  1. Isn’t it interesting that in the Gospels (say, Mark), it’s the demons (and other outsiders, like the Centurion at the cross) who always seem to recognize Jesus for who he is (“…he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him” Mk 1:34)–i.e. the Son of God–while it is the disciples to whom Jesus is always saying, “Do you still not understand? “?

    Unrelatedly, I think we need to chuck this whole “myth of progress” as it relates to moving-forward in the temporal plane. You are right, the whole “church growth” mentality is inherently (but unwittingly) a part of the logic of Empire (the kind Hardt and Negri discuss in their book Empire). The logic of Empire does not serve but in fact encompasses the Corporation and the Nation-State, and when we start to see how the Church might be added to this list, we should start waving flags and shouting from rooftops. The way out is not some reclamation of “Christendom” as the dominant institution (which would still feed Empire), a la Radical Orthodoxy, but perhaps a radical re-envisioning of the Kingdom of God, NOT as Institution or Nation or Empire, but as the sort of Kingdom Jesus describes, where the ruler is a slave, and where wolves lie down with lambs, and where the greatest and wisest are taken by the hand and led by a little child.

    I’m so sick of the Church buying into a logic that is not her own. Our definition of “success” does not equal the number of butts in seats or dollars in offering plates. It cannot be measured by the kind of car our pastor drives, or how nice his suit is (or ours). But it just might be measured by the depth of intimacy with Other, God, and Self (your thought, my re-ordering), which will directly show in the lives we live. It might even show in the eventual eclipse of us, whereby we ourselves are lost so as to (finally) be found.

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