Thursday, August 24, 2006

How Many Jesuses?

A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative,...emergent, unfinished... by Brian McLaren on Amazon

A Generous Orthodoxy coverWell, I'm not reading the chapters in order of appearance in the book, but I sort of read chapter 1 of a Generous Orthodoxy where Brian McLaren describes the seven manifestations (varieties?...try "categories"?) of Jesus he has experienced, so it's time for me to blog about some of my experiences of Jesus. Pastor Brian gets his Jesus-types taxonomy from various traditions and expressions of Christianity and does the biblical number seven with his Jesuses, getting specific with labels like Conservative Protestant, Pentecostal/Charismatic, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Liberal Protestant, Anabaptist and Jesus of the Oppressed, grouping more according to style or worldview rather than doctrinal, theological or confessional propensities. I'll try matching his number, seven, and probably include some sub-types, but without taking time to flesh them out...incarnate them?! Here goes!
  1. Activist Jesus: coupled with fond memories of the activist Christian community that first nurtured by faith and practice.
    • Hand in hand with: Prophetic Jesus
    • Closely yoked with: Iconoclast Jesus
  2. Cosmic Christ: how many times have I mentioned how much I particularly love the Cosmic Christ of Colossians, the Pantocratur, the Oriental Potentate?
  3. Friend Jesus? yes; Jesus reveals my best and my worst to me and helps me change and grow. Besides, most importantly, friend Jesus walks alongside me everywhere I go, even when the rest of the world and church forsakes me—I gotta remember that.
    • Pretty much parallels Teacher Jesus, because friends often are our best teachers and our best teachers sometimes become our friends, too.
  4. Christ Jesus who meets us and whom we meet in the sacraments and in the commonest stuff of creation; the Risen and Ascended One who dwells in, with and under all creation.
  5. The Wandering, Marginalized Man of Sorrows who set out for urban and rural public ministry after being baptized by John the Wilderness Guy and temptations in the desert.
  6. Servant Jesus, living among us as one who served and commanding us to serve. Not far distant from McLaren's Jesus of the Oppressed nor from my Man of Sorrows Jesus 5, nor is Servant Jesus more than an eyeblink away from Jesus of Latin American, Asian, African and North American Liberation, Feminist, Womanist Theologies.
    • Another especially paradoxical manifestation of Wholly Holiness
  7. Jesus desiring to be recalled and Jesus worthy of being remembered: "Do this; remember me..." But how? With unforgettable liturgies? Or with memorable acts of compassion and solidarity?
Have I omitted Springtime Jesus? No, not—I do not claim that Jesus, or at least I don't recall ever meeting him! But slowly I have been learning the Crucified One, the Crucified Jesus, Man of Nazareth become the Risen One at Easter Sunday dawn, which without any doubt is a springtime festival!

I'll end with a quote from one of my own blogs, Transfiguration: Until the Day Dawns, from February 6, 2005:
The Sign of Jonah—Death and Resurrection! For two thousand years, theologians and faith communities have struggled to learn and discern what Jesus means to them. We know Jesus as teacher and Jesus as political prophet; doubtless many of us consider Jesus a social activist, too. Jesus as a healer? Probably. But Jesus, the man of Nazareth, who died outside the city on a cross of shame as the Christ of God? At the very heart of the story of Jesus of Nazareth stands the seven days we call Passion Week: a crucified man – but – then an empty grave, a narrative with no easy answers or clear-cut implications, a series of events so far outside the normally credible many of us would like to dismiss it as legend. But today’s lections are not about death and resurrection but about something else altogether—they’re about a spectacular manifestation of God’s Glory on yet another mountaintop.
Of course, I hope that teaser will lead you to read the entire blog! I'm planning to continue blogging about a Generous Orthodoxy and I'm also working on several more blogs for this site.

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