Posted by: dacalu | 26 March 2019

God’s Corset

As someone involved in many communities, I am frequently asked about Christianity and exclusion. Can someone be Christian and X? Can anyone outside of Christianity be saved? Or have a relationship with God, or understand ethics … I believe that these are questions for observation, not abstract analysis. We must come and see. What follows is a brief reflection on Christian exclusion based on the Bible.

Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I believe that all who live, live in Christ, the logos of the cosmos, the fundamental life and truth of the world (John 1:1-5; 14:6).

I do not believe that all who live, live in Christianity. To mistake belief for reality, to mistake worship for the object of worship, to mistake the label for the living being, that is idolatry. The golden calf in Exodus may well have been an image of God. The Israelites did not sin by switching deities; they sinned by preferring the image to the thing itself. They wanted a “God” who would always come when called.

The Father of Jesus is a living God. Few labels appear so consistently or emphatically in Christian scripture (Deut 5.26; Josh 3:10; I Sam 17:36; II Kings 19:4, 16; Ps 42:2; 84.2; Isa 37:4,17; Jer 10:10; 23:36; Dan 6:20,26; Hos 1:10; Mt 16:16; Acts 14:15; Rom 9:26; II Cor 3:3; 6:16; I Tim 3:15; 4:10; Heb 9:14; 12:22; Rev. 7:2).

God’s breath is deep and wide. “The wind (pneuma) blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (pneuma)” (John 3:8).

I will not put a corset on God. I will continue to look for the breath of God in the Church. And, I will continue to look for the breath of God in the wider world. Sometimes it will be in places the Church should go. Sometimes God is doing just fine without Christian interference. Surely as I breathe, God breathes. And the Spirit of God does not stay still.

I have found the breath of God throughout Judaism. I have seen it in corners of Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, and the beliefs of indigenous people in North Americans and the British Isles. I will continue to search, not based on labels, but based on the signs God has given me (Gal 5; I Cor 13). Where ever I find love and truth, wherever I find a life-giving spirit, I will do all that I can to help it move more freely.

If you are looking for the Spirit of God, I am happy to share the inspiration given me: the good news of Christ Jesus. If you’re waiting for me to say that Spirit of God cannot be found elsewhere…don’t hold your breath.

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Responses

  1. […] and colonialism (I believe it has, repeatedly and disastrously), please read the previous post. Life-in-Christ is not the same as […]


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