The Cosmic Christ: Week 2
A Bigger Story Line
Monday, April 3, 2017
Christ is the Archetype and Model for the rest of creation as Scripture clearly teaches (Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 1:15-20). Yet Christians have instead focused on proving that Jesus is “God,” which felt necessary to put our group out in front and to solidify our own ranks. By pulling Jesus out of the Trinity and making him a mere “problem solver,” Christianity has no overarching vision or explanation for what it all means. We haven’t fully understood how the Christ “holds all things together” (Colossians 1:17). We were more eager to make Jesus the “top” than to make him the “whole,” and thus we ended up with a religion largely concerned with exclusion.
As a result, Christianity constantly divided into smaller tribes. “Why do you try to parcel up Christ?” Paul asked (see 1 Corinthians 1:13). Jesus became an arguable “text” outside of any larger “context.” If the Eternal Christ is forgotten or ignored, Jesus becomes far too small, a mere local “god” instead of a universal principle. Many Christians still see the universe as incoherent, without inherent sacredness, a center, direction, or purpose beyond personal survival itself. Many Christians focus on “saving their own soul” with little care for the world as a whole. Massive disbelief is the result. It is hard to feel privately holy or good when the universe is neither holy nor good.
No wonder science and reason have now taken over as “the major explainers” of meaning for much of the world. Jesus was indeed a deep and life-changing encounter for some people, but the official Church often showed little evidence of his universal love. Christians brought Jesus to the “New World,” but hardly ever Christ, as we see from our treatment of indigenous peoples and the earth. Most slave owners and proponents of apartheid fully identified as “Christians.” Lots of mop-up work is required of Christianity for the rest of history, after we dragged poor Jesus through our mud.
We failed to offer the world universal meaning, and now we live in a postmodern and largely post-Christian world that denies any “big story line” or purpose to existence. Most progressive people deny all truth claims and metanarratives as mere grabs for power. So instead of universal hope, we live inside of cosmic cynicism and we retreat into small identity politics. This is a major crisis and loss of inherent dignity to the whole human project. All the extravagances, technologies, and entertainments will never be able to fill such a foundational hole in the human psyche. In other words, the world—even most of the Christian world—has yet to hear the Gospel!
Gateway to Silence:
In Christ, with Christ, through Christ
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 215-216.