The Incarnational Christian

I read over at Tony Jones' blog Theoblogy, of his choosing to prefer to refer to himself as an Incarnational Christian, emphasizing the Incarnation as the most important work of God.  He joins many of the Christian mystics throughout history and those of the Orthodox Church.  As a Thomasine Christian, I applaud him.  While there are probably many things we disagree on there is this that as Christians we CAN agree on.  God, the light, came to humanity, to seek and save us.  In the Gospel of Thomas we hear from the words of Jesus, ""I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained." (Saying 77)  Jesus is God come to us in flesh.  Somehow, someway God is in Jesus teaching us, calling us home.  His words and way become our ladder to God.  We become Christ having entered into Christ.  In the Hymn of the Pearl you see the Father, Mother, and Son calling us home.  In the Gospel of Thomas we see one come from the light, willing to guide any who will wake up from their drunkenness long enough to return to God. While our incarnational theology may not be as complex or defined as some Christians choose to do, ours is a simple message.  And it really does fit with the image painted in the book of Philippians in the Bible - this self-emptying of God.  We are called into the bridal chamber with the Beloved.  We are called to union!

The Thomasine message is not an exclusionary one.  There are no claims to be the only way.  No human sacrifice teaching to appease an angry God.  No talk of damnation and fire for those who cannot believe.  In fact, the invitation is simply to taste and see.  To return to God who we speak of as our Father and our Mother! But that is not to say that God cannot reach people's hearts and minds any way God chooses.  If a Jewish person opens to the Divine Presence through the Torah, or a Sufi Muslim through whirling opens their heart to God...God will awaken within that person and crown them with God's own Spirit.

For so long I ran.  I ran from Jesus.  I did not want to allot him any real value in the Thomasine path.  A valued teacher yes, but speaking and living and even being the life and voice of God to me?  I still had prejudice against Jesus.  I could not truly open to the idea of Trinity (however it may be defined), I could not open to the idea of Jesus as coming from God without sin, without having ever fallen asleep (metaphorically speaking).  I could not see Jesus as savior apart from the images of a human sacrifice that repulsed me.  Yet the Gnostic scriptures DO speak of Jesus as savior.  They do speak of Jesus as Divine and a teacher, guide, and friend.  We are invited to be Jesus so to speak.  We are invited to union with Jesus as he is simply a face of God.

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