It’s possible I might have come on to something. A few weeks ago, an idea hit me pretty strongly. It might simply be some bad pizza from the night before, or I might be on to something. So I’m simply using this as a place to think through some thoughts, a kind of journal, if you will.
A few months ago, I had already written on the problem of our fear-driven biblical interpretation. Not healthy fear, as in reverence for the Lord, but a fear that the Bible really doesn’t fit the paradigm for which many of us argue. But I want to talk about another fear.
What’s that fear. I’m calling it the fear of God’s “earthiness”.
Here’s my thesis and at some point I might take more time to flesh it out: We are afraid of God’s earthiness when it comes to three important components of our Christian life and theology – a) the earthiness of Jesus, b) the earthiness of Scripture and c) the earthiness of the local church.
I don’t know if that sounds super-spiritual or uber-theological, but I’m really starting to believe this. And I’d also propose these 3 things are tied together. Our fear of the earthiness of Jesus leads to our fear of the earthiness of Scripture, which leads to the fear of the earthiness of the church in its own local (“messy”) situation.
We just don’t want God, nor his work, to be authentically human and earthy. We want abstract, fully objective, impervious to what it actually means to be human and part of our world. To get right down to it, we don’t want the messiness of what it means for Jesus, Scripture and church to be fully human in our world. And I believe this affects our understanding of who Jesus is, what Scripture is, and what the church and it’s mission is all about.
That’s my working thesis.