As a person of faith living on the margins of Church and society I find a Church seeking more to be a credible witness of capitalist oriented frameworks and their limits than of Jesus of Nazareth. This post suggests that the followers of Jesus’ teachings must continue to address the oppressive, lifeless institutions of cultural and societal enslavement, for some, this may include aspects of the Church at least here in the United States. It is also a response to the writings of Cornel West, "The New Cultural Politics of Difference" in which he and other scholars call for a different framework, one I call a day of Pentecost.
As millions upon millions of people yearn for a different hope, I suggest here that as the Church wrestles with various forms and frameworks of identity, that the Church is being prepared for a day of Pentecost, a day of the Lord, if you will, that will re-imagine the Church and what she believes in. That said, I believe that those of us who pray must pray with Pentecost in our hearts, minds and souls and this with intention. Pentecost as experienced in Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31 will be an awakening to a new, albeit a radical consciousness in a world where limitations have the credibility and the sway. The Church of the 21st century must embrace a different call, and break from the staid traditional institutional norms that have blinded the church to the callings and teachings of Jesus. I am calling for the spirit to fall fresh on the Church once again. I am also calling for a Church that hears the radically inclusive love of God. And isn't this what Jesus, the founder of the Church was about, a radical inclusive community. The Church must once again compel the question, "what manner of love is this."
Yes, "what manner of love is this" should denote a Church yielded to Jesus of Nazareth and his radical love that led him to the Cross. Shall the Church forget the teachings of its founder, shall it skew these teachings for the sake of political, economic, or even societal and cultural gain at the altar of human boundaries and limitations? As I write this blog post I reflect on the Cross and the credibility provided by the Cross, becoming evermore cognizant that you, I and the Church can't know real love without reaching beyond our self imposed boundaries and limitations. The rationality of boundaries and limitations can become a barrier to a courageous beloved community. That said we must daily visit Jesus and the Cross to walk this journey.
The Church of the 21st century must release herself from an institutional theology and ethics that enslaves her to a love even a passion for limitation. The Church must embrace a theology of the infinite, even this of grace so that she will once again be that present and persistent hope, the grace and mercy so longed for by people the world over. It is the infinite that the Church must hold and this without sway, it must be her covenant, if it is to be the Church of Jesus in the 21st century. Now reflecting on the work of Jürgen Moltmann, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Emmanuel Levinas, I am mindful that hope, particularly in the life of a Church yielded to God, moves as the voice of the everlasting and this a call from within the infinite. This is a hard teaching yet it is a reality the Church must strive for if it is to be that present and persistent hope.
Beloved what I write here is not easy yet Jesus never said it was. The Church, if it is to be credible witness of Jesus in the world, must strive to hold the infinite with salvation as her witness. I invite all who read this blog to begin the hard work of a transforming theology which is grounded in the infinite mercy of the Cross and in this to continue the work of Jesus of Nazareth.
Rev Monica Joy Cross copyright January 2014