The Resurrection Reminds Us That We Cannot Be Spiritual Without Being HumanBlog, Essays, Featured, Meditations — By Larry Shallenberger on April 8, 2012 at 7:49 am
This morning I worked out with a good friend. Somehow, at 5 AM, the conversation turned to God. My friend has an awareness of God and Christ, but he wouldn’t call himself a Christian, I don’t think. He is aware, however, of a lot of the weirdness in our subculture. We both agreed that much of Christian music is just hard to take. In his words, there’s this false earnestness in the vocals, like the singer is trying to convince the audience of his passion. Gungor calls this zombie music. There’s something fake about the vocals. It resembles human emotion, but its not quite believable.
He’s also a therapist. In vague, non-identfying terms, he talked about a client who uses a lot of God-talk with him. This client is careful to never own the skill that he is developing. God gets all the credit. My friend’s concern is that the person isn’t going to develop an self-esteem this way. He asked me, “Are you Christians okay with using the tools God gave you to get strong? Do you have to pretend that God’s doing everything for you?”
Great questions. I told him that there’s this intellectual virus in our theology that makes us believe that spirituality is something other than being human before God. It was too early in the morning to reach for the word Gnosticism. But that’s what it is. We have this idea that being a Christian is to renounce, or at least ignore the fact that we were made from the earth.
I had a guy in my office the other week waving the Christian book of the month in his hand, telling me that we need to spend every minute of every day doing kingdom work. I guess it depends how narrow your definition of “Kingdom Work” is. His was narrow. I wasn’t able to get between him and the ideas in that damnable book so I just told him that I played the game his way for the first half of my life and now I’m in therapy.
There’s a conversation killer. Oops.
We Christians rightfully identify Jesus’ Resurrection as the pivotal moment in human history. C.S. Lewis pointed out that Jesus wasn’t resurrected as a disembodied ghost who finally shed his fleshly corpse. He was bodily resurrected.
Flesh and spirit.
I’m soul weary of Christianity’s that are anti-human. A Christianity that cannot allow its followers enjoy a sunrise, the curves of a spouse, laugh with a child, taste hops, appreciate blues, the sweat of a workout, the feel of grass underneath bare feet, a person far from God, a great novel, a poem, or an art museum is an abomination. I can’t bear a Christianity that mistakes propaganda for beauty and truth. A Christianity that sings “this is my Father’s World” and then self-comforts with “its all going to burn” is schizophrenic. I cannot stomach a Christianity that affirms Jesus ‘ command “to love all of who God is with all of who we are” and then promotes dishonesty about who we are. I’m tired of a Christianity that begins with the Fall and ends on Judgment Day but ignores that our story begins and ends in a garden (Thanks, Sean Gladding, for that insight).
And then I remember the Resurrection and reminded me that Jesus does not subscribe to a Christianity like that either. Whatever, Heaven will be like, we’re going to be human there too. We’d be wise to start practicing this skill in the here and now.