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Patient Trust

Summary: An Evolving Faith

Patient Trust
Sunday, December 29. 2019

God keeps creation both good and new—which means always going somewhere even better. God keeps creating things from the inside out, so they are forever evolving, yearning, developing, growing, and changing for the good.

If we understand the Eternal Christ Mystery as the symbolic Alpha Point for the beginning of what we call “time,” we can see that history and evolution indeed have an intelligence, a plan, and a trajectory from the very start. Christ is both the Divine Radiance at the Beginning Big Bang and the Divine Allure drawing us into a positive future. We are thus bookended in a Personal Love—coming from Love and moving toward an ever more inclusive Love. This is the Christ Omega (see Revelation 1:8).

Christians believe the final goal does have a shape and meaning. Creation began and continues in its “very goodness” (see Genesis 1:31). Everything that arises seems to converge. The biblical symbol of the Universal and Eternal Christ stands at both ends of cosmic time, assuring us that the clear and full trajectory of the world we know is an unfolding of consciousness with “all creation groaning in this one great act of giving birth” (Romans 8:22).

The New Testament has a clear sense of history working in a way that is both evolutionary and positive. For example, Jesus’ many parables of the Kingdom lean heavily on the language of growth and development. His common metaphors for growth are seeds, sprouting and ripening grain, weeds and wheat growing together, and the rising of yeast. [1] His parables of the “Reign of God” are almost always about finding, discovering, being surprised, experiencing reversals of expectations, changing roles and status. None of these notions are static; they are always about something new and good coming into being.

Why do I think this is so important? Frankly, because without it we become very impatient with ourselves and others. Humans and history both grow slowly and often move three steps forward, two steps back. We expect people to show up at our doors fully transformed and holy before they can be welcomed in. But growth language says it is appropriate to wait, trusting that change of consciousness, what the Bible calls in Greek metanoeite, can only come with time. This patience ends up being the very shape of love. Without an evolutionary worldview, Christianity does not really understand, much less foster, growth or change. Nor does it know how to respect and support where history is heading. 

References:
[1] See Matthew chap. 13 and Mark chap. 4.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 95-96.

Image credit: Healing of a Bleeding Woman (detail), Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter, Rome, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Jesus was about love first and foremost, in word and deed. Jesus began with love for God, but inseparably linked that love with love for neighbor, with the understanding that neighbor includes the other, the outsider, the outcast, the last, the least, the lost, the disgraced, the dispossessed, and the enemy. —Brian McLaren

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