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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Polarities


On two separate occasions in the past two weeks I was called upon to lead a discussion concerning Christology. Specifically the issue is how we understand Jesus. This is one of many issues on which there is certainly a polarity of understanding. At one pole is the understanding of Jesus as fully divine, and at the other is an understanding of Jesus as fully human. The official position of the church is that Jesus is, at the same time, fully human and fully divine. You may think this is something of an impossible contradiction, however it may help you if you read the Statement on Christology on the world church website.

Polarity is not a word we use every day, nor is Christology a subject I regularly teach. I was surprised therefore (Why am I still surprised?) to open a new book entitled Scattering Seeds: Cultivating Church Vitality, turn to the forward and read the following words.

I think it was the Danish theologian Kierkegaard who said faith is, “Holding the tension of polarity.”

The Christian faith is rich in polarities to be held in tension. A core one is the paradoxical claim that Jesus Christ is “fully human” and “fully God.” How can anyone be fully this and fully that? Because its tough to hold these two together, different traditions and preachers tend to come down on one side or the other. They emphasize Christ’s humanity or Christ’s divinity. But the trick, so to speak, is holding the two together. Looking at a baby born in a manger out back and seeing the Lord of history and eternity. Its like a battery. Without poles, there’s no charge. - Anthony B. Robinson in the Foreword to Scattering Seeds

Robinson then goes on to discuss the polarity inherent in church life between “going and doing” versus “being”, which is another way of expressing that age old tension between faith and works. Of course the two need to be held together. It is not one or the other, it is both.

Scattering Seeds is not specifically about polarity, nor is it directly about Christology. It is the testimony of the authors, Stephen Chapin Garner, the pastor of the United Church of Christ in Norwell, Massachusetts, and Jerry Thornell, a 30 year member and the church’s financial administrator. It is the story of the Norwell church’s journey. (I may reflect on the book’s ideas further assuming I ever get time to actually read it!)

In the meantime, this post is dedicated to the participants of the two classes: the Seventy of Canada East Mission and our CPI Pastors. May these additional thought help you continue thinking, bless your understanding and help you faithfully "hold the tension" inherent in differing ideas.

Posted by Carman

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