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Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31
… one of the most fundamental and pervasive flaws among those who identify as Christians is that many of us do not invest in getting to know Jesus well.
This week, I am using this space to invite my readers to join us, at Imani, for a ten-week study of the Gospel of John. It will be led by our own Rev. Annie Ross during our Wednesday evening Bible/book study. I am really looking forward to this study! I don’t think there is a book of the Bible that is better than John for the purpose of getting to know Jesus. I do think that one of the most fundamental and pervasive flaws among those who identify as Christians is that many of us do not invest in getting to know Jesus well. That is the only explanation I can come up with for such oxymoronic characters as “racist Christians,” “misogynistic Christians,” “homophobic Christians,” etc. These and other selective-neighbor-loving Christians may believe in Jesus and, as far as I can tell, are sincere in their belief that they are following him. But I do not think they know him very well.
Re-reading The Shack has me thinking about relationships - not too broad a topic for a two-page blog entry, right? Specifically, I am ruminating on (as in “chewing and digesting again”) the centrality of relationships in God’s plan for us. Like concentric circles, we live in relationship with ourselves, with God, with intimate others, with family (of origin and/or choice), friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and with the world as we conceptualize it and our place in it.
Because of the way that Young presents God to us - as Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu - we get an easily accessible “visual” of God as a relational Being; God in relationship with Godself; God in relationship within Godself. That visual reminds me that our primal human need for relationship is one of the primary ways in which we are created in God’s image. We are multi-dimensional beings, capable of being at war or at peace with ourselves. We are capable of living lives that are so rigidly compartmentalized that we are almost acting as different people in the various different contexts of our lives. We are equally capable of harmoniously integrating all aspects of who we are into a complete and healthy whole person who lives and relates to others with both internal and external integrity.