Vision, Policy & Practice Adviser, M.P.Aff.
ProSocial Democracy, Engaged Education and Quality of Work Life
Dialogical Jesus Christ
My unique theological thesis of the “Dialogical Jesus Christ” (I will describe triune later) is the twofold theological lyric key for interpreting and engaging with the world “as it really is:” two inspired worlds, one with Jesus in history for liberation, one in Christ the realizing of every utopia, promise and call of our eternal God. This is quite a complex, difficult to explain and deeply cherished theological thesis for me. But as Jefferson once said, “To understand a complex subject is to be able to state it simply.”
And so, I will try at first to be clear and simple for it is of revolutionary and astonishing common sense, a deeply humane clarity that is within every extraordinary friend and original individual among equal peers, but eventually if not very soon, betray the fact that I clearly am inadequate to this task: my embrace of this dialogical Jesus Christ exceeds my understanding and capacity to express it simply and let it be as true, near, dear and clear to you as it is to me.
Thus, I hope and trust, Dear Reader, that we are able, our life together as being this theology, this whole world come alive, to describe, discover, share and realize this unified twofold theology of liberation and utopia, Jesus and Christ, two inspired worlds and histories, not one. For the true joy of a writer is found in the equal joy of readers, each of us fulfilling and surpassing the other, both engaged in the artistry and deep-souled crafting of our shared mysteries and truths together.
My thesis of Jesus Christ as the dialogical lyric key is simple: a Texas Two-Step dance, a Two Mountain metaphor, a great “I Am” and the epic grandeur of “We Are.” We are in and of two independent and whole worlds “as they really are,” and two divinehumane spirits of eternal life, germinal creativity, sheer goodness and all godly truths and mysteries are flowing simultaneously from all directions, within and without all the “total modern world” as if two orchestral movements in a cosmic and everlasting symphony.
Our Life with Jesus in “History” is the sheer joy of salvific liberation and the sacred work of washing away all historical sins, the primary ones are the world’s barbarism of hubris, morality and poverty: ours is a new creation, a starting the world of our eternal God anew when all this is done, all is forgiven, for the first are not wholly free until each and every of the last are. All are extraordinary personhoods and equal friends among peers, each has abundant “new heavens and a good earth” to usher in. Note: “History” as I define it is “one dialectic, totalizing modern world and grand explanatory narrative that encompasses the principles and furthest reaches given of attributes of transcendence, immanence, kairos, Gaia and other universal constants of divine or cosmic underlying reality; whether this narrative is one or infinite, it is just the same self-confinement in self-determining parts of their respective whole cosmic mind, eternal God or absolute truth.
Our Life in Christ of “Utopia” is the impossible but realized utopias of the whole world come alive in the social flourishing of every promise and call of God, justice, love and peace. In Christ, our “Witness to the Beast” is of a far greater daring and agony, our radical thundering democratic revolutionary praxis correspondingly sheer beauty and ecstasy. is in and of a “Dialogical Equal Partnering World, Before, After, Beyond, Outside but Running All the Way Through Totalizing Modern History,
Intimately with Jesus, “I Am” intimately with God, nature, and with every other “I Am”: each a sacred mystery as living subject with subject with subject, I Am and Thou too, one with God, our eternal Thou and I, and all overflowing love within and without us.
Enchanted in Christ, our life together, “We Are” now impossibly, innermost and outermost resonating “wholly other” to the world with Jesus, for my theology is not that of those like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a resentiment of the cheap grace of others and heroic moral virtue of their own “costly discipleship” in the “strenuous life” of being for others: This is the realized utopian world come alive that cannot be in the world with Jesus. This grace and discipleship are neither richer or more, it is simply completely distinctive of another welcome, life, love, sacred work and missio dei. We are not with Christ as Eternal Thou (e.g., Martin Buber); We are in the transcendent, immanent and kairos Christ who is us, each a part in the whole sacred mystery of divinehumane life, each a “wholly other” in every intimate and familiar part (e.g., Karl Barth).
Our Eternal God, Our Life Together is Two Inspired Worlds and Histories, “We Are” Two Everlasting Gospels, One with Jesus, One in Christ: Each supporting, enriching and challenging the other to realizing its distinctive joys of being, loves, works, justice and missio dei, as well as fulfilling, astonishing and surpassing the other in the sacred mystery and sovereign freedom of our eternal God and illimitable Humanity, and thus bringing each to greater flourishing, individually, socially and both knit together.
Thus: Jesus saves, liberates, replenishes our world, gives new life, all is forgiven, all dreams, visions and pursuits of happiness, justice, peace and solidarity are possible; Christ astonishes, embraces, and doubles our world, every life, good, love and truth, every sensibility and imagination, experience and innocence is heightened beyond measure, every suffering now agony, joy ecstasy. My thesis of the Dialogical Jesus Christ is profoundly resonating, true and nourishing to me as it is in and of my own Christian faith but is thoroughly ecumenical, universal and set apart from any particular faith, theology, science or ideology. By this I mean it is a divinehumane welcome and desire for each and every one to find in my public theology that “We Are” drawing upon the same sacred mysteries and living waters that affirm our universal sense of being part of a larger whole, a finite sense of the infinite that stirs within every soul, all creatures, great and small. My intent is everywhere the same, but in this case as flowing out of my spiritual innermost and outermost life, my coming alive in Scripture, all inspired traditions, sacraments, loves, whether ecclesial, secular, natural, literary or scientific.
These two images illustrate the two distinctive worlds of Jesus in history and Christ in utopia, each opposing and outside the other and also mutually interwoven, each enriching, challenging, supporting and fulfilling and surpassing the other, each its own everlasting Gospel of the “way, life and truth,” as well as whole communion, peace, welcome, justice, sacred mystery, miracle, paradox and missio dei. Each is the enchanting grace of our eternal God and liberating love of our illimitable Humanity, all that is vital, good, resonating, beautiful, true, sensual, creative, moral, virtuous and so on.