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"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.

 

The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.


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Monday
Mar032008

"Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh"...I Am…I Said: The unveiling of God in Scripture

                                                                                                                                         

"Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh"    

candle_in_fingers.jpg
"I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE”
—God in the response to Moses question,
“Who shall I say sent me?”

“Anybody who has put it all together has surely got it wrong” is, of course, an accurate statement these days. We (none of us) have a special light, a new revelation about God. But we all have a duty to seek meaning in life and truth. This is what keeps me asking, seeking, and wondering. As an intuitive, narrative theology and literary character absorption is what I do—naturally. I am at ease with these tools. To not embrace them is to ignore something placed deep inside me.

Narrative Theology can be taken as an exhilarating, liberating, imaginative unveiling of the Story of God that changes us when we feel it, by viewing the story as it is passing by. His Story (the Framing Story which over shrouds all metanarrative and gives meaning to personal narrative) is the palate to which my story finds place and deep meaning. I am somehow found in His story and able to understand myself as I watch Him, in all the complexities of His person and personality. When I embrace this type of theology (without disposing of other types of theological constructs) I become a miner searching for gold, a playwright looking for a plot, a pilgrim looking for meaning, and an artists filling an empty canvas.

The satisfaction comes in the surprise of the creation.

That rings true.

The satisfaction comes in the surprise of the creation. Like a songwriter that had no idea that song was in him. Or the lover that is surprised by the depth of their commitment. I am observing all the time, watching His cues. In this way I notice I am like God…that is, created in His image or imaging Him.

Jackson Browne has this great lyric; I have carried it for years. “It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear…that I can’t sing…but I can’t help listening”. And the narrative of God is like that. I may not have it down clearly, and can only sort of sing along, yet subconsciously it is always there, and I am somehow always listening.

Looking at the unfolding story where God discovers himself and solves his personal dilemma of the existence of evil in the creation, is simple fuel for my thoughts. We can walk with Him in this unveiling much like we might a well directed, superbly acted, incredibly written film by embracing narrative and the theology which pleasantly undergirds it. I always find myself looking forward to the release date of the movie, or, to use the language of Paul, the unveiling of God, the announcement of His entrance, the glimpse of His face. The mystery never resolves but the many facets I find along the way are reflections well worth keeping.

Editors note: (My wife worries that I may fall over the edge. She thinks I shouldn’t wander here. What she doesn’t know is that I wander here all the time. It is ‘like a song that I hear playing right in my ear…I may not sing…but I cannot help but listen. It is in my thoughts. I am just now writing them down. It is no more of a risk than it ever was.)

The essence of who I am can be better understood as I understand “how” I am created in His image and discover who he is, as He resolves (for our benefit, perhaps) who He is. It is not as though God needs this…but I most certainly do…if I am going to love Him from an enraptured heart rather than cautious heart. Love must come from a deep place to be real love. Surface, childish love will not do when life’s difficult questions arise without my intentional dampening of the voices that rise in me. I have found resolution to be of more virtue than avoidance. Avoidance, of course, is much easier and in ample commodity in the rat race of the western world I live in. It takes work to be intentional even when at ease with the tools. At some point you have to build something.

Which brings us back to I AM WHAT I AM or better translated I will be what I will be. God is revealing, unveiling, presenting Himself to us in the Bible. He becomes what He will be. The difference between the two similiar translations is important . If the better translation is "I Am" then a steady is-ness is communicated. If the "I will be" translation is accurate then one can easily imagine that God is going to be revealed along the way. Rather than He is, He is becoming or being revealed. That is, He discovers himself. Uncomfortable, those last words, even to me. Yet in the divine story it seems all too true.

For example, consider the first few chapters of this great saga. God barks (my wife hates the word but I feel his power in the verb) orders in creation revealing something of His vast nature. Things are instantly in order and spring forth from nowhere, He is huge. He has command of the situation.

When He interacts with Adam and Eve, He symbolically, bends down, revealing His desire for meaningful relationship with someone, anyone, or perhaps especially this one. He knows it is not good to be alone. I mean, He knows and isn’t guessing at all. Without being irreverant I imagine King Kong tranforming into a loving father with large but gentle hands.

He responds violently, and it appears at first glance, is overly agitated when they eat of the fruit of the garden (as the plot unfolds and the cost of righting this mistake becomes clear we will understand His reaction).

Yet, He seems so tender when He dresses them for expulsion, something to “cover you”, not unlike the young mother putting a yellow raincoat and snapping the rubber boots on her 5 year-old to be sent out into an unsafe world. She can see the thunderstorm out there and hear its crack of thunder, like a cruel whip as she turns him around to the door. She tenderly kisses him as she sends him out.crying20woman20at20window005.jpg

I imagine she cries as he leaves, lightning flashes, revealing her purse lips and worried face. The thunder cracks as another tear falls, not her first—it won’t be her last.

God seems to me the same, perhaps a tear when no one is looking, it may be the first, but this most certainly won’t be His last. It falls as He places the cherubim at the gate of Eden or is that the gate of His heart. The cherubim keep him in as much as it keeps them out. Because, as we shall soon find out, there is something deep inside Him that longs to run after that child. And one day He will. Commanding God, tender mother, One person.

In the words of Jack Dawson on the deck of the Titanic God has committed, “I can’t. I’m involved now.” God is involved now. He is like Jack, or is Jack like Him (indeed He can be found just about anywhere, and in almost any story, if we watch). He is involved. He, the great I am, once the distant is hooked. It all happened rather quickly.

You see, I surmise that God is like all of the above and it makes the story make sense. He cries when his treasure leaves the safety of Eden. This was, is, after all, His prize. Yet he sets them out. He is upset but he isn’t finished. He is like us or we are like Him. You pick.

To me in the end it is all the same. I am less about answers and more about meaning. And narrative theology helps me make sense of it all.

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  • Response
    Awesome Website, Continue the excellent work. Thanks a ton.

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