Why I am liberal, but not LIBERAL! [pt.6]

5. Stereotypical Liberal Assumption: Jesus was not literally (physically) resurrected from the dead.


I have less to say about this incredibly important (in my view) question because I simply haven’t done much personal research on it. Most of my thoughts on it are personal, experiential, and intuitive.

For me, personally, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ may be only one of two non-negotiables I have. The first is that God is love. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t recognize the Christianity of persons of faith who don’t believe in the resurrection. But it’s one of the few areas for me, personally, that I do not question. Faith demands belief beyond reason or proof, and I believe that faith, on many levels, is a deliberate choice. I have chosen to believe (largely based on personal spiritual experience) that Jesus is the only son of God, and that when he died on the cross, he was physically resurrected three days later.

Marcus Borg (among many other) does not believe in the literal, physical resurrection. In a lecture I attended at Oregon State University, he talked about “shared visions” and “collective manifestations” in which disciples manifested the same ethereal images of Jesus. They even heard the same words. To Borg, the disciples’ intense loyalty to Jesus, and their love for him, coupled with their refusal to accept the finality of his death, allowed them to share the same spirituality awareness of Jesus – who continued to live through them in word, mission and deed.

I don’t buy that explanation. In fact, I tend to think that philosophies that remove the potential for supernatural occurrence are deeply uninteresting and symptomatic of modern reductionism. Boring!

But I have personally spoken with Marcus Borg, and I know he is a man of deep love for Christ, and deep faith in God. Yes, he is essentially a deist – so were many of our American “Founding Fathers” (we’ve since retroactively baptized them into Evangelicals the way Mormons keep baptizing Jewish Holocaust survivors). I will not make a personal judgment about his “salvation,” because that is not my role to play in God’s economy. It’s probably not yours, either. God knows the inner workings of Marcus Borg’s heart, and Thomas Jefferson’s heart, and St. Augustine’s [deeply misogynistic] heart, and my own silly, temperamental heart. I’ll trust God to be as gracious to them as God has already been to me.

… But yes, I do believe in Christ’s death and physical, literal resurrection. And I am deeply humbled and thankful for what it means (only a little of which, I understand).

4 comments:

Existential Punk said...

You are correct Pete, in that we cannot judge someone's faith/salvation. This is what is going on the blogosphere and news about Barack Obama's faith.

He believes in Jesus Christ but also believes there are many paths to GOD, as did Pope John Paul II and Billy Graham.

Preacher defends Obama sign 6:22
CNN's Rick Sanchez asks a Kansas minister to explain his church sign declaring "Barack Obama Is A Muslim."

This man's views are very screwy, imho! http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2008/11/20/nr.sanchez.preacher.sign.cnn

Peter said...

I yeah, I totally agree, Adele. I just wrote an article on "allegations of religious trickery" in response to "Secret Muslim" attacks on Obama, and Elizabeth Dole's "Godless" ad.

It should be on www.OffTheMap.com soon. I'll send you a copy, too...

Al said...

Peter, I sometimes think you have more balls than a football team (you can read that one however you like!).
You thoughtfully walk into the lion's den wearing eau de hamburger.
And I love it!
I just read all of your liberal posts, and know that you have stepped on most of my historical evangelical etc. toes. If it wasn't for the grace of God in gradually opening my spirit to a more grace-based understanding of Himself, I would probably be ranting on about the sad state of seminaries, scholars, and 'liberal' Christians.
Instead of ranting against such things, I am moved and challenged, and applaud your honest effort to bring us back to God.
Things like:
"But I will always get it wrong, at least in part. I will never fully understand the truth of who God is, and how Christ lives in me, and how I am supposed to function in the Holy Spirit.

Neither will you."
are incredibly transparent, yet pointed.

And then there is:
"...I believe God is far more gracious than any folks I happen to know... I don’t believe easy lines can be drawn..."
What an awesome statement of faith, theology, and ultimately humility as we all seek to gain a deeper understanding of this God whom we love.

Your prayer for illumination about understanding scripture... Yeah. Makes a lot of sense, and seems to me to come from the kind of heart God loves to love.

The whole discussion of what faith is opens lots of space for more questions. Somehow, God's love for diversity provides places for all of us to have doubts or questions, and still choose to have faith. We don't all have the same questions, or the same answers. But we can (and must) learn to walk this road together.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?(KJV);
or better: Amos 3:3 Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place? (The Message)
Fortunately, even when we don't all have the same understanding, we are going to the same place. If we spend our time together listening and seeking to learn (instead of diatribing) we will grow in the journey, and love the One who started it all.
Thanks again, Peter, for stirring the pot, and doing it well.

Peter said...

Al, I just love your visits, and am thankful for your e-friendship!

I understand the gut reaction you mention, that is probably still there. Sometimes I look at myself and my faith through the eyes of where I've come from, and I think, "dear God, have mercy on me!" Which would be a helpful prayer to pray, no matter what.

But I hear you. I realize as I've reviewed the last seven posts, that to many many Christians, this may sound every bit like the liberalism I've been trying to differentiate myself from.

I just know that ultimately, I have faith that Lord can be everything I thought God was, as well as EVERYTHING I thought God WASN'T. No limitations.

I am open to the evolution of my own faith - even if that seems dangerous - because I TRUST the Lord. More than I trust the Church or the Canon or the world as I see it.

Thanks again Al,
Peter

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