Showing posts with label Miscellanea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miscellanea. Show all posts

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Dance




Thank you for welcoming me back into your home
Thank you for watching my kiddos 
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for raising the best daughter imaginable
Thank you for being a shining example of hospitality
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness 

Thank you for modeling to her what it is to be a godly and virtuous mother
Thank for modeling to me the kind of motherhood I never knew and wish I always had
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for being patient with me these past few years
Thank you for allowing time for redemption and healing
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for considering others more than yourself
Thank you for your empathy toward the weak and vulnerable
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness 

Thank you for inviting my mother into your home
Thank you for spending time with her
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for sharing part of your day with her
Thank you for introducing my children to her
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for telling her your story
Thank you for allowing me to share mine
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for listening to her sincerely
Thank you for leading her to my door, a half-mile away
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Thank you for not letting me know
Thank you for telling my wife about it after it had passed
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Please allow me to express my own appreciation
Please allow me to make one request
I really appreciate your thoughtfulness

Since you appreciate redemption so much
Since I no longer have a mother who will ever be seen again
Please consider another mother whom we both love

This mother cries openly and inconsolably at every wedding 
As I do at the thought of never seeing my mother again
Waiting nearly twenty years with no opportunity for redemption

Hoping and praying for just one chance
This mother loves greatly because she had a lovely model for motherhood
This mother wants nothing more than to have that dance she was robbed of by a mother

It can be any day
In any room
At any time

Blue Moon
Standing alone
With the love of my own

Just one dance
That first dance
Between us all

I really appreciate your thoughtfulness









Friday, October 4, 2019

Between the liens



I wear my emotions on my sleeves
I'm as transparent as it gets
What you see is what you get
Correct me if i'm wrong

Whence did I receive rationalizations galore of righteous indignation?
I got my foolish zeal from you
There I inherited my infatuation for justice

And my great pride?
My boldness in the face of evil?

My extraordinary self-confidence?

All from your example
My phobias come from her 
My pushiness from her
All empathy from her 
My pity from her
My cunning—all hers

Nobody knows as much as you though
She was severely mentally ill
You were completely and stubbornly sane
Her illness would manifest a complete manipulative two-faced bitch at calculated times
You were just a self-aggrandized asshole caring more about the prized stallion more than tony the pony

She received treatments for a time, and then adamantly refused because she was fucking crazy
You never received correction or ever accepted therapy though
Your excuse? 
You didn’t want to lose your kids

Your excuse?
There were no counselors Christian enough for you
Your excuse? 

Secular psychologists couldn’t or wouldn’t empathize with you
Her excuse? 

Does she even need one? 

She was sick
Her natural personality was triune
The frenzied wrath of a father, the fleeting wind-likeness of spirit, and passibility of the son all wound together in one flesh

She was fucked up
She was literally insane most of my life

But you? 

You’re a prized stallion
You’re a former athlete 
You’re a soldier and patriot
You’re sovereign and national
You’re a prophet, priest, and king
You’re a martyr, shepherd, preacher
You’re now a doctor, too

A man after God’s own heart
Look at what you built
Look at what you defended 
Behold what you have sustained 
Your career of presuppositionalist herem had much success
Like the late great Mr. Pink

Sipping communion at home until his dying day because no one was as prized as he was
No one sustained what he had
Not one soul on earth fought tyranny and built walls of estrangement as high as him
Praise Obama 
Remember that letter of her excommunication that my brother and I wrote? 

Me neither
I remember you writing the whole thing and telling us to lie for you to the session 
Remember how good at chemistry, and math, and history I was? 
Me neither

I didn’t have to be
You either left the answer key lying around or you were too busy building God's kingdom to follow through with love and attention
You left all that for an insane woman to take care of—absolutely brilliant

Why did I become an addict at age fifteen? 
She bought me cartons of cigarettes

Bribing me to steal from you

You modeled resentment and bitterness
You sculpted an image of war propheteering
You recited the grace of God's Law
You delivered the real goods nobody else would
You denounced all cowards for their pablum

Whose habits do you think contributed most?
Perhaps that's a false dichotomy?
The great irony of puritans is that they can’t r/e/a/d
The great tragedy: they insist they can

Because they know they’re clever
And they truly are
They wave their God-in-paperback around in ways that would still make John Knox proud

Upon the first blast of the trumpet
Against the monstrous regiment of women

She received the capital punishment you thought she deserved

To which is added
The contents of the second blast

You became sovereign and she became homeless

Death is right here—Be sober o soul, and read between the liens










Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Memory Eternal (my wings part two)



All day I played Wings Part Two on repeat
I didn’t want to hear anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I imagined
You were the light and the way they only read about
I didn’t start the day expecting it to become this way 
I left the post office and opened your purse
I hadn’t seen your face since I was nineteen
And now all I could see was your smile
I wish I had seen it in person since then
I remember it, but from too long ago
I wish I had just one more glance
Or better yet, one hug and kiss
And one for Alison, my angel, too
And one for Jadon, Eden, and Gaius
Or better yet, to spend a whole day with all of us together
To welcome you into my own home
To share a meal or two together
To hear your voice resound
To gaze at your smile next to me
To even cry together
I’m sure there would have been lots of tears
I would have been there holding you in my arms 
But I wasn’t ever given that chance
A son can dream, can’t he? 
I miss you so much
And yet I don’t even know the you in the driver’s license 
Other than what my teenage self last recollected
I’m so happy to have received your little notebook though
I immediately recalled your distinctive cursive handwriting 
It didn’t change a bit over the last two decades
Maybe my strong opinions about cursive need to change
And your faith in the Lord didn’t change either
I can imagine a certain someone still asking, “What faith?”
Forget about him
His faith only has a dozen followers
But yours has the hosts of heaven 
“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord
To what end is it for you?
The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light
Read verses twenty one and twenty two
God himself is saying these verses!”
I didn’t want to read anything else
Just tears poured out whenever I considered
You were the light and the way they only read about
I couldn’t leave the post office 
I stayed parked far beyond my fifteen minute sign limit
Just weeping and praying
More weeping than praying though
Eventually I went to work and didn’t accomplish much
Because I was thinking about your smile and your cursive notes
What an incredible sight to behold
Such a sincere and childlike faith
Not even the most severe tempests of life could loosen your grip
“Hate the evil, and love the good
And establish judgment in the gate
It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph
The prudent shall keep silence in that time
For it is an evil time”
You held on to the very end through an evil time
Which began when he divorced you for another
I wasn’t in a good place to know any better at that time
So please forgive me
And recovery without you was much needed
But now that nearly two decades have passed
All I could recall from him was the mantra
You were to blame, not him
You ruined everything
He needed a secretary
You were demon possessed 
You were the problem
He needed a virtuous wife and never had one
You abandoned him
You were not merely ill
Because illness wasn’t a just enough ground for him
Yet from what the Sheriff mentioned over the phone
According to others in Aberdeen, you were still known to be mentally ill
And in ways just like I remember you being
But that simple, sincere smile of yours still catches me off guard
And your handwritten notes still overwhelm me 
You remained filled with the faith of a child all these years
“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live
And so the Lord the God of hosts shall be with you”
Yet I had no way of knowing this sincere faith of yours all these years
Because you were nowhere to be found
You were remembered as the self proclaimed victim and martyr, abandoned and unloved
And no one taught us how to consider some validity to that
Tears just pour out because I now realize
You were the light and the way they only read about





















Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembrances of Wilma


Below is a very brief speech I gave at my Grandmother's recent funeral service during the time when family and friends went up to the podium to offer any remembrances they had of Wilma:

I want to share with you a few things about Wilma that left a huge impression upon my life. (And for those of you who don't know, I am Wilma and Cyril's second oldest grandson.) 
The first thing about Wilma that I remember is that she radiated generosity, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and love--so much so, in fact, that as I reflected upon the last few days since hearing about Wilma falling asleep in the Lord, it dawned on me just how difficult all people are to love. In general, I think all people are difficult to love. I am difficult to love. All of us here, and also those in this wide world around us, are difficult to love. And Wilma was no perfect exception to that rule. Nonetheless, because of Wilma's generosity, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and love--virtues which all of us here know were characteristic of her--she was that rare someone who I found difficult to not love. In 35 years of knowing the real and raw person of Wilma, her virtues vastly outshined what makes ordinary people difficult to love.  
In all these years I have had many memories with Wilma, from conversations in person and many phone calls, to lots of hand-written cards mailed to my doorstep. (Those of you who ever received a card from her know that she would always personally address the recipient, and never forget to include a passage or two or three from the Scriptures to meditate upon, even as she had done while writing the card.) Again, as I was reflecting this week, I realized that it is really common to think of people you spend a lot of time with as "good" people. As memories are shared and piled up together over time with particular people you enjoy, it's common to think of them as good people. But you know you have found a rare gem when you can look back and identify someone as wise. And from my perspective, Wilma is one of them. It was as though proverbial Wisdom flowed through her veins. The wisdom of God's word was so obviously dear to her that in every single encounter with her that I can remember, I can't honestly describe them as being merely with a good person. Wilma was far more than good. She had what James describes as the "wisdom from above." And that seems, at least to me, to be an increasingly rare description of how people are remembered in these days. 
This brings me to another aspect in which Wilma left a significant impression: God's handwriting was written large through her life. The apostle Paul mentions that Christians ought to be living epistles read by all men. I have known a lot of Christians throughout my life, and, sadly, I am not very comfortable describing the majority of them as living epistles. At best, most of whom I know are living chapters or verses. Not Wilma though. She was living epistles (plural). She made room for God to speak into every area of her life. And she listened. She seriously considered it, wrestling with it and submitting to it.  
Equally beautiful was her willingness to make room for others as well. Through her life, countless numbers of people were invited to taste and see how good the Lord is. Through her thoughtfulness, generosity, loyalty, and love, people came to know God. By imbibing and indwelling the wise life--and not merely the good life--countless people who encountered her encountered true life in Christ. God's handwriting was indeed written large through her life.  
Finally, I just want to share with you all that, in my eyes, Wilma was a Saint. By God's grace, she was a saint. Little did I know, as a small child, that I sat on the lap of a Saint. Books were read to me by a Saint. Hand-written letters and birthday cards were written to me by a Saint. Grocery shopping, car riding, movie watching, church gathering, meal preparing, and perhaps most memorable of all--holiday feasting--were all shared with a Saint. And as I like to think about all the Saints who I know for certain are with the Lord in glory, I can confidently share with us all that because of her beautiful and faithful life lived in Christ, Wilma is feasting at a better table now. Thanks be to God.








Monday, September 3, 2018

Living Epistle (A poem for Wilma Sedlak)







As I write these things my Grandmother, Wilma, is dying. She has reached the point of no return. There is no hope in her being miraculously preserved to live a handful of more years in her mortal body. She has already lived past ninety years. Now she is hospitalized, and unresponsive, yet still alive as of right now. She will die.

I love Wilma. She radiated God's generosity, thoughtfulness, and loyal love. As the only Grandmother I ever knew (my birth mother's side being entirely unknown to me), proverbial Wisdom echoed in every room she resided, in every phone call, in every note and hand-written card. God's handwriting was written large through her life. A "Living Epistle" read by all, is an apt description of all memories I have of her.

I spoke with her last week on the phone. I'm so very glad I answered the phone that day. She lives very far away from me, but very soon she will be nearer than most Christians realize, being with Eternal Life, Who is much nearer than most realize. 

I am at peace with her impending death. Death actually isn't her end. It is for many of us, but certainly not hers. She will continue to live beyond the moment her frail, mortal body "gives up" its life. She will continue to live beyond mortal death because, in Christ, there is no mortality, no eternal death. There is only eternal life, because Christ is God, and only in God is life-eternal, and only through Jesus Christ our God has eternal death been defeated and eternal life secured. Outside of Christ, there is just this mortal life, and just this mortal death. I'm not the judge of those outside of Christ. I'm not even the judge of those inside of Christ. I'm merely expressing, with absolute certainty, that Wilma's life has testified, and continues witnessing to participation in Eternal Life, here and now, and not in eternal death. 

"In dying, you shall die" was the warning given to human life. In Jesus, the resurrected Christ, there is no more warning--only blessing--saying, "In dying, you shall be raised with Me to life."

So then, what else could I say, given my convictions about the life and death of my grandmother? 

Well, I actually have a poem I wrote recently, inspired by a Byzantine hymn that is sung during Saturday morning lenten prayer services in the Byzantine Catholic Church, that I'd like to share, too. Consider it a meditation on what I have noted above, and a pattern of thoughts woven through many of my convictions, hopes, and dreams, all keeping my thoughts in balance in the midst of life's real turmoils:



In dying you will die
Do good
In dying you will die

Don't ask why
Do good
Don't ask why

Don't question who
Do good
Don't question who

There are no but's
Do good
There are no but's

Don't pretend to know better
Do good
Don't pretend to know better

Don't deflect
Don't ignore
Just do good

How, you ask? 

Imagine God
Becoming human
So that you can become divine

Participating
Sharing
Communing 

In the Divine Life
For ever
And ever

Who fashioned you 
Out of nothingness
With the work of His hands

Who honored you 
With the Divine Image 
The likeness of Unutterable Glory.

Whose loyal love cleanses you
Whose homeland of your heart’s desire 
Is bestowed on you






Sunday, July 1, 2018

Image, Likeness, and Nature








Recently I was involved in a discussion about social justice at an eastern catholic monastery. That discussion was immensely fruitful, filling in the void of many things I've considered over the years, as well as revitalizing older, more traditional considerations I had abandoned over the years in my quest for truth. One of the new considerations arising out of that discussion involved human nature, what that is exactly, and how it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherein all things, including human nature, are restored. This post is a result of such considerations.


What is human nature, and how is that "nature" restored according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 


Human “nature” is a description of dynamic capacities. Western Christianity has emphasized that humankind is made in the image of God, describing it with a more scientific addendum called “nature,” being classified alongside the “nature” of all other animal species. This, however, is unfortunate because it appears to be almost completely disconnected from its historic usage, especially that contained within the wide stream of Eastern Christianity. 

Within the various expressions of Eastern Christian thought, it can be argued that to speak of human “nature” at all is to describe an abstraction, a potential. Unlike modern scientific categorization, human “nature” is unique precisely because its primary analog is not mammalians, or even any other creature; its primary analog is the incarnate Son of God. Human “nature” consists not only of being made as God’s image (which is technically more accurate than saying man is made “in” the image), but also after God’s likeness, the likeness of heavenly being itself (Gen 1:26; c.f. Gen 5:1,3 where the language is intentionally inverted, showing Adam “fathering a son” as his own likeness, after his image, thus implying his attempt to restore Seth to the image of God through likeness with his fathering). 

Also, to be found within the tradition of Eastern Christianity is discussion about the uniqueness of human “nature” needing to become realized, not only rationally, but holistically in all actions and contemplation through the assent of a willing subject. Human “nature” necessitates a certain capacity for the reception of God, and such capacity is not a mere auxiliary that can be lost, a kind of addendum, but rather is definitive of human “nature” itself. Unless a human being is in communion with God, actively participating in the Divine life, that person can become and remain less than fully human, even though that person remains fully the image of God throughout one’s mortal existence. Human “nature” within Eastern expressions of the faith, therefore, presuppose this image and likeness of God. In other words, there exists an understanding and dialog about all mortal humanity existing immutably as the image of God, yet with a mutable likeness of God. To the degree that human “nature” ceases to actively participate in the Divine life of God, it ceases to develop and mature in God’s likeness as well; it ceases to share in the glory that it was created to become, and therefore disqualifies itself from eternal life. For some—certainly not most, or all—this mortal life will be the best life in which they exist and image their Creator.

Contemplating such a view of human “nature” also presupposes the reality of God’s grace bestowed. Within the Roman Catholic tradition, mankind was created before “the Fall” with a donum superadditum, a gracious gift of capacity “over and added” to the human capacity left to all mankind after “the Fall”, a gracious gift that must be restored throughout one’s life in order to reach God. (The equivalent of this original “gift” from an Eastern perspective is the “likeness” described above.) Unfortunately, such distinctions are not considered to be helpful for Western conceptions of the human constitution, especially those contained within Protestant confessionalism, which rely heavily on image-bearing through forensic appropriation. However, within the stream of Eastern Christianity, human “nature” presupposes that all humanity, pre and post “fall”, have received grace, and all are favored by being made in the image and likeness of the One who made it. All are born “naturally” with the capacity to receive God, but not all choose to appropriate it through likeness with God. Therefore, to become devoid of grace is to become “unnatural,” sub-human. Human life, by design, implies a necessary motion and growth into the appropriation of the life of the Creator, who is both infinite and eternal, thereby allowing participation in life with Him without end or limitation. Human life devoid of God’s graces results in an unfortunate detachment and distancing away from participation in the Divine life, now and forever. In other words, a life devoid of Grace is a reality, and not merely a potential, for Eastern Catholic thought. And although, from an Eastern perspective, it is not preferred to describe man as losing a gift that was added to him before he fell (as in the Western Catholic trajectory of thought), the most important emphasis of such trajectories of language is to note that man, as originally created, was threatened to lose participation in the Divine life of God itself, at that time and for all eternity thereafter. The Gospel of God dotted throughout the landscape of humanity was, of course, the assurance that human “nature” could and would be restored for all eternity. It was assurance of being raised from the dead-ones in Sheol/Hades, and also the end of Death and Hades itself. How that was to occur was eventually revealed with greater clarity, albeit in “shadows” of the coming reality, through the Divine administration given to Israel, i.e. the Old Covenant.

The historical and eschatological figures known to us in Tradition as “Adam” and “Eve” (narrated symbolically in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as “Human Life”) illustrate this much. They were not created to know (in the intimate, holistic sense of knowing) eternal death, the permanent unraveling of and distancing from the Creator into non-being. The path of knowing intended for them was rather voluntary submission to the divine will, developing into a community of harmony with their Creator, thereby ascending further up the ladder of communion with him, an ever increasing appropriation of God-likeness, a perpetual increase in sharing and maturing thorough the uncreated glory of God. Human life was designed to participate forever in this Divine light and life. Therefore, within Eastern thought, to contemplate what it means to become fully human is to contemplate motion toward God, an ascension with God, and in a mystical eschatological sense (both prior to and after the incarnation and resurrection) to anticipate eternal life through the promised life of the Son of God, thereby sharing increasingly in that glory both now and forever. 

We might, however, do better than most Western forensic notions of restoring human “nature” by considering that God identifies our nature as being fully human only when it is penetrated wholly, body and soul, by the glory of the resurrection of Jesus, our savior, who himself was “plan A”, so to speak, and not an addendum to God’s predestined plan for human glory. In other words, it is favorable to perceive that all human life from the very beginning was created with the potential for infinite maturation in likeness with God, and is called to choose that life as freely as God offers it, to make his own life subsist in that deepest reality, and in such choosing, discover the presence of, and enter into communion with his Creator, now and forever.

At this point it may be suggested that this Eastern trajectory of thought is not helpful or accurate to the “facts” of holy Scripture, for human nature is, allegedly, demonstrably “evil.” Evil, within such a presumptuous framework of language, is considered a “thing” attached to or infused with nature, permeating its essence. But from within the variety of Eastern Catholic perspectives, “evil” is not an attribute of nature, or even “natural” per se. “Evil” is the way we humans, made as God’s image and after God’s likeness, describe a product of choice, a choice relating with human life that has the capacity to participate and mature in the Divine life, both now and forever. “Evil” can also be considered sociologically as an inclination of will contrary to the Divine will, an inclination subject toward that which is not, as apposed to God, who is the very ground and source of all being itself (i.e. what “is”). The “evil” which Christians are prone to describe in their daily lives is woven throughout the narratives of holy Scriptures, and is revealed in a variety of ways through creation as well, but especially and dramatically in the Torah as transgression of participation in the Divine life. 

To speak of the world or God’s creation as being evil in an ontological sense is another byproduct of misunderstanding or misusing the language of evil “nature”. Referring to the world as evil, and not merely an evil “age” or generation, is simply mistaken. However, to describe human “nature” as “evil” is even more problematic, for it disregards the various and punctiliar stages of “Adamic” life recorded throughout the Scriptures that have clearly detached from participation in the Divine life, and instead have (unfortunately) co-opted the Scriptural participatory narrative with an overly generalized and all-pervasive “nature” that, after the Fall, could never have received God, nor can still, except by super-added grace. By this historical co-opting, “being evil” (at least, forensically) is assumed to be the truth everywhere and at all times (at least, for those who are not, theoretically, “forensically” united with God). For both Paul and Eastern Catholic Christianity, we find something very different. We find participation in the Divine life as essential to understanding the history of humanity and the gloriously cosmic restoration of human life through the promised incarnation and resurrection. 

All of creation, Paul says, has been subjected unwillingly to the corruption of humanity for whom it had been created, and such was decided by God “in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20). Such “corruption”, according to Paul, indicates this created capacity of all human beings that we’ve been describing from the beginning. Corruption is as equally holistic in Paul’s thought as glorification is. Corruption, therefore, describes not only the definitive end of this mortal existence, i.e. eternal death and non-being, but also the disordered desires that accompany a mind fixated on the flesh—a mind enveloped within mortal existence in such a way that it is distanced enough from communion with eternal glory, and thereby hostile to God, and because of such cannot submit to God’s instruction and thereby please Him (Rom. 8:6-8). Nevertheless, through the promised incarnation, human “nature” has been, and continues to be, restored holistically.

One might then ask, ‘What are we to do with the statements of Paul and other Scriptures that seem to describe all of humanity fixated on the flesh?’ The answer to that question is actually quite simple: take them seriously, and interpret them within their own limited historical context. Historically, it would have been impossible and counterproductive for Paul to presume omniscience for all, especially the “nature” of all, for his letters clearly reflect a limited knowledge base, which allows for both human free will and Divine intervention. Paul seems, rather, to be interested in describing the generation in which he lived, that generation within the “last days” of the Old Covenant administration. He comments frequently about first century Israel’s antiChristian activities being thoroughly corrupt, so much so that Jesus promised to come and destroy their idolatrous temple to bring about peace for the world and allow salvation for all through such terrible judgments. That generation, according to Paul, was even worse than previous generations of Israel’s history that also had corrupted themselves and been judged by the Lord. But not all generations had become thoroughly corrupt. The Scriptures clearly teach cycles of reform. Not perfect reform, but blessed reform, to be sure; and such reform always necessitated drawing near to the Lord in his holy House, and fixating their minds on the things of God’s Spirit, drawing near to Him who worked miracles and wonders in their midst, Who secured the promise of future resurrection from the dead-ones for them. Such a hope was surely taught, but sadly faded away in numerous generations as the people increasingly fell away again and again into the bondage of fleshly corruption. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, reverses such misfortunes, primarily through his actual resurrection from the dead-ones and the subsequent outpouring of his Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, quite literally the whole world began to change. 

The Old Covenant had begun to become obsolete, and thereby was ready to vanish away, the promised “end” of which occurred in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, as well as Hades and its power over death, leaving only the New Covenant administration of eternal life in Christ. Under the New Covenant, all nations are being drawn into the hope which is ultimately contained in the resurrected life of Christ alone. Under the new Covenant, all nations are being drawn into the Body of Christ, in which absolute assurance of salvation is found, and participation in the Divine life is manifest. Outside of Christ and his Body there is no absolute assurance, only relative assurance, filled with doubts and plagued with autonomous reasoning. However confident one’s own faith or hope in “afterlife” might be, it is most assuredly subject to scrutiny apart from participation in the embodied life of Christ’s Body. For God did not pour out his Spirit in the first century in order to produce a copy of himself in paperback. Rather, it was to produce living epistles read by all men. The deposit of faith and life in Christ is contained in the pillar and ground of the truth: the Church (1 Tim 3:15). That doesn’t mean that all human beings discovered outside of the Christian Church cannot or will not ultimately be saved by Jesus and granted eternal life. What it means is that all human beings outside of the Church can only be saved by Jesus, for he alone is the first fruit of resurrection, the absolute assurance of which is received through participation in the Divine life of his Body, the Church. Most unfortunate, however, are those generations in which human beings seek the Church for absolute assurance and yet find absolute confusion and corruption. Such is, sadly, a reality as well; and such corruption will be judged by Jesus in history, leaving the many tender mercies of our God to be granted unto those outside, and not inside, such assemblies.

Much more needs to be said about that, but most importantly it must be clearly stated that the Christian Church is the pillar and foundation of God’s truth revealed to mankind. All human beings, even those outside the Church, have the capacity to receive God and become fully human in union with him. However, with that said, it’s a sad and obvious gamble to remain outside the Body of Christ (even when it seems as if every visible and accessible Christian assembly is thoroughly corrupt), for such a description entails fixation upon life in the flesh, including a false, imaginary, and misleading view away from the Divine life, which ends in death, and not toward life in the Spirit of God who raises the dead, or even the Son of God who became man and was raised and vindicated, who sits enthroned in the heavens, thereby securing life eternal for mankind. 


It is through such activity—living with hope and absolute assurance in the Divine Life—that mankind collectively learns to share in the glory of God, and ascend the ladder of Divinity. Through holiness, the light and life of God permeates the darkness of every domain, of every generation. Such was not possible prior to Pentecost, for it is at Pentecost that the light of eternal life—resurrection life—began to penetrate and illumine the pitch-blackness of Israel’s story and the gloomy shadows across the world. Prior to Pentecost there was only hope that somehow, some way, God would grant eternal life with Him. The so-called underworld of Hades, Sheol, etc. was all that was known and anticipated. However, after Pentecost there was absolute assurance of future resurrection and vindication for all who died in Christ, because God had become man, had died, and was raised from the dead-ones for them. Moreover, in AD 70, the resurrection of all the saints from Hades had been fulfilled. After AD 70 the actualization of eternal life in Christ meant that after their mortal bodies had faded away, their participation in the kingdom of God would be secured. The hope that the Christian Church teaches is not that human beings get to escape “this world” into the next, only to magically wake up on some final day along with all the dead-ones of history and finally escape the despair of mortality forever. They do escape upon death, but not this world. They escape this age, this generation, yet they continue to live in and with this world, in this kingdom of God where heaven and earth have already joined under the New Covenant, being active in its continual renewal and reform, assisting all of human life in its motion toward God as it was originally created to be. In Christ the great reversal has begun. The dynamics of human “nature”, including its image and likeness, are being restored in union with God, sharing in the glory that it was created to become, both now and forever.