rethinking the kingdom and taking out the recycling

The paper I’m working on this semester in divinity school is on my new hero, theologian Sallie McFague.  She has two major bodies of research. The first of these is one from a slightly feminist point of view which critiques the metaphor which we are all used to which equates God with an earthly father.  That is what my paper is about and I am humbly stumbling through her two major books, feeling both in awe of her insights and lacking in my own. 

When I’m through with this paper I would like to read up on her other main focus of work,  which is about the Earth and how as Christians we are responsible for treating it with the utmost respect.  One essay I read of hers blew me away.  In it she states,

“What if we did not insist on radical dualism between God and the world, with God being all spirit and the world being all matter or body, but imagined a model with God and the world being both?  That is, what if the world were seen to be “within” God,  not identical with God (as our own bodies are not identical with us, for we can reflect about them, guide them, direct them, etc.), but very, very intimately connected…”

The repurcussions for this are twofold.  First, if one embraced this way of thinking they would have to pay more attention the world we’re in here and now, and place more importance on the immediate.  I’m all for a kingdom-focus in my own thought and in the way that the community participates in the act of worship, but if the kingdom is focused on too much one can excuse thoughtlessness in daily, wordly life. 

 Secondly, this focus emphasizes the charge that God gave to Adam and Eve and that we too must take on:  to tend the garden, the world that was set down.  The will of God was for the creation he/she made to flourish.  In order for this to happen, says McFague, there must be distributive justice.  We should infer that God wishes all creation to thrive, leading us to distributive justice and sustainability as our responsibility.

This feeds into the things which have been on my mind lately as I try to move from superficial to sacrificial living.  I am cluttered in the physical and emotional sense and am trying to escape the Stuff-a-holic sense that is all around us.  In the New York Times today there is a story of a minister in Texas living out ecological mindfullness which I found inspiring and bookmarked.  You can find the full text here.

Speaking of, I should get the recycling ready for tomorrow’s pickup.


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