Monday, September 2, 2013


This is a semi edited version of an essay from Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth. The essays are from many spiritual traditions. Father Richard Rohr happens to be Franciscan friar and a Catholic priest. I have to say the opening paragraph really caught me by surprise. It ties in beautifully with Celtic Christianity and the likes of Hildegard and Eckhart. Even the Irish Oran Mor, the Great Song. An Image that I really love. The Creator as a singer or a harpist. And it may just keep one of my  feet on the reservation. At least for now.

Naturally, this attitude doesn't make him very popular with the Catholic fundies in this country but he echoes other Catholic writers from Latin America. Not to mention most of the neopagans out there. Oh, boy has he honked off some of the fundies.  Some folks have entirely too much time on their hands.

I've kind of debated on when to post this, but some of the other material I want to work with will probably make more sense after reading this.

…The Incarnation of God did not happen in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. That is just when we started taking it seriously. The incarnation actually happened 14.5 billion years ago with a moment that we now call "The Big Bang." That is when God actually decided to materialize and to self expose.
Two thousand years ago was the human incarnation of God in Jesus, but before that there was the first and original incarnation through light, water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, fruit, birds, serpents, cattle, fish, and "every kind of wild beast" according to our own creation story (Genesis 1:3-25). This was the "Cosmic Christ" through which God has "let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made from the beginning in Christ" (Ephesians 1:9). Christ is not Jesus' last name, but the title for his life's purpose. (Some believe, as I do myself, that the Hindu love of Krishna, also an incarnation of the divine and a human avatar, was revealing the very same mystery.)

Jesus is the very concrete truth revealing and standing in for the eternal truth of the union between the divine and human, or the Christ mystery – or Krishna. I myself believe this, but just to believe it is not to live it. The living of this love mystery is the important thing and not the correct naming of it. I have met Hasidic Jews, Hesychastic Orthodox, sufi Muslims and “pagan” animists who live it much better than we do. 
…Christ, for John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308) was the very first idea in the mind of God, and God has never stopped thinking, dreaming, and creating the eternal Christ mystery

For most of us, this is a significant shaking of our foundational image of the universe and of our religion I am sad to say. Many Christians have seen the world as sadly inert, non enchanted, unholy and even dangerous and evil. As if God’s Creation could be separate from God!  Yet if any group should have come to this quite simply and naturally, it should have been the three groups of believers that call themselves "monotheists". Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe that the world was created by one God. It would seem to follow therefore that everything, everything without exception, would bear the clear imprint and likeness of the one Creator. Doesn't that seem to follow? How could we miss that? Did Satan, after all, create some of us? We monotheists are the very ones who said “no” to that. After all, we believed that One God created everything out of nothing. (Genesis 1:2)

We could perhaps say that this terrible misperception was a disastrous act of human self congratulation and self absorption. For some reason Christians thought humans were the only creatures God cared about, and all else was just food for our own sustenance and enjoyment – animals, plants, sun, water and earth! This world was just a gratuitous painted backdrop so we could do our “Christian” thing and be saved. Yet god created million of creatures for millions of years before we came along – many we never saw and others we have never seen or discovered – for no human purpose whatsoever. God seems concerned to communicate Himself/Herself as endless beauty, love and fecundity. Almost shocking isn’t it.

For many Judeo-Christians, God created a seemingly “throw away world.” The so called “Stone Age” people, the ancient civilizations, the Persian, Greek, Aztec, Mayan, Inca and Roman Empires, even the poor ones we called barbarians, were merely warm-up acts for us. None of them really mattered to God, neither woman, child, beast or man. God was just biding His time, waiting for good Jews, Christians and Muslims to appear, and most preferably Roman Catholics, conservative Orthodox, or Born Again Evangelicals.

I am not being unfair here; this is quite literally true. A sort of cosmic narcissism, it seems to me. If you do not see the individual ego as a problem, it is almost impossible to recognize the corporate separate self as an even worse problem. Thus nationalism, ethnic cleansing of various sort, burning heretics, persecution of all that is “not me.” Including the rest of creation (animals, growing things, earth and water) were literally “fair game” for us. Poor God must just cry
If nothing else, one would have thought good people would be shocked and scandalized at God’s gross inefficiency and non concern for life. But it only got worse, as Christians were assured that all Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, atheists, communists, unbelievers of any stripe (all “not me”) were also of no interest whatsoever to their Creator. Apparently, God just likes white Christian Americans, preferably Republican – while this very group wastes not a tear on the fact that their worldview leaves 99 percent of what God has created since the beginning of time lost, rejected, and punished for all eternity. And this is the group that dares to call itself “pro-life.”

Christians must realize what a muddle we have got ourselves into by not taking incarnation and the body of God seriously. It is our only Christian trump card, and we have yet to actually play it! As Sally McFague states so powerfully, "salvation is the direction of all of creation, and creation is the very place of salvation." (The Body of God, p. 287) All is God's place, which is our place, which is the only place and every place.

... Wherever we are connected, in right relationship, you might say "in love," there is the Christ, the Body of God, and there is the church. But we whittled that Great Mystery down into something small, exclusive, and manageable too. The church became a Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant private club, and not necessarily with people who were "in communion" with anything else, usually not with the natural world, animals, with non-Christians, or even with other Christians outside their own denomination. It became a very tiny salvation, hardly worthy of the name. God was not very magnanimous or victorious all after all, despite all our songs of “How Great is our God.”

Our very suffering now, our condensed presence on this common nest that we have fouled, will soon be the one thing that we finally share in common. It might well be the one thing that will bring us together. The earth and its life systems on which we all entirely depend (just like God!) might soon become the very thing that will convert us to a simple Gospel lifestyle, to necessary community, and to an inherent and universal sense of the holy.

I know it is no longer words, doctrines, and mental belief systems that can or will reveal the fullness of this Cosmic Christ. This earth indeed is the very Body of God, and it is from this body that we are born, live, suffer, and resurrect to eternal life. Either all is God's Great Project, or we may rightly wonder whether anything is God's Great Project. One wonders if we humans will be the last to accept this…It is only humans who have resisted "the one great act of giving birth," and in fact have frequently chosen death for themselves and for so many others.

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