Hello one and all, something that I’m sure that you’ve noticed already is that, recently, I have felt a strong commitment to non-dual, unifying practices; focusing on how I am similar with my opposite, rather than how I am different than them. However, that brings up the sticky issue of figuring out when it is appropriate to say “Okay, this is just part of who they are and I need to accept that” and when it is appropriate to say “No, that is wrong, and it must be adjusted. In other words, we live in the tension between using unifying language and prophetic language as we interact with our fellow human beings, so let’s unpack that shall we?
I want to first start with Unifying language, which will resemble much of my previous posts to date in regards to being in community with one another. Unifying language seeks to find harmony with those that are different than us. Unifying language seeks to break down walls that have been built up. It seeks to restore what was broken and make opposite ends meet in the middle. It looks to bring people in and gather people around. Unifying language is that used by Paul in I Corinthians when he spoke about being a part of the Body of Christ. Jesus also used it in John 17:20-24, which is a prayer in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus gave, yearning for others to be one with each other and with the Divine. Unity sees that we are all one in some way, shape, or form, and it desires for us all to be caught up in the sacred flow. Not only that, it is extremely important, however, there are times when we must say “no” and stand in the same tradition as the many prophetic voices that have gone before us such as such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., The Ancient Prophets, and so many more. We must have the proper lenses to view what is destructive and what is not. We must see what is different theology and what is bad theology. (hence the picture at the top!)
My definition for sin/evil is “That which is destructive to the self, the earth, and the surrounding community.” Why is this important you ask? The prophetic voice seeks to stand against sin and evil. The prophetic voice is a criticizing voice that yearns for justice and goodness. The Prophetic voice sees violence and seeks peace; sees oppression and seeks equality; sees destruction and seeks creation and restoration. The tradition of the Old Testament Prophets was that of a social criticism, speaking out against Israel’s corruption, oppression, disregard for the poor, and idol worship. Funny enough, we still have those things today. MLK fought against oppression in the form of voting laws that kept Black Americans from voting. Gandhi fought, non-violently, against the oppression of the British Raj that sought to keep the peoples of India under it’s boot. The prophetic voice seeks evil and destruction and speaks out against it. As I said, we live in the tension of being a prophetic voice and being a unifying voice. The simple fact is, there is evil that exists in this world still. There are powers that seek to oppress and destroy. There is corruption, there is “bad theology” (Theology that simply is not supported by God or the Bible) or “oppressive theology” (Theology based on maintaining oppression upon the other) in our very churches. We must speak out against oppressive and bad theology. We must stand against the tide of evil that sometimes seems to run rampant through our streets and homes.
However,in order to be a prophetic voice, however, we must first be grounded in the divine being itself. We must be grounded in the trinitarian sacred flow that springs forth life and love. This is why partaking in the sacred flow is so utterly important. When we are one with the spirit of the divine then we are better able to analyze and read the situations where unifying and prophetic language is needed. Time and time again many (not all!) churches will say that “We should admonish people out of love” which is basically saying “I think you are wrong, so you need to change in order to be loved” for many church communities (again, not all!). That simply is not correct, how can we correct out of love if we don’t fully understand what Love is. Love holds no records of wrongs, it bears all things, and it endures all things. Jesus’ example was not one of “I am telling you your wrong out of love, so if you shape up, then I will accept you and share my love with you”! Of course not! Jesus’ first response was ALWAYS, “I love you, there is nothing that will change that love, NOW here is what you use do. Follow me in my footsteps, live out of love first and foremost.” When we love out of love, we are able to see when people are being destructive to themselves, to the earth and others. Those corrupt practices, that oppression, it resounds so loudly that one cannot ignore it! When we live out of love, we are able to accept what is good. A monogamous relationship between two men is good. They are not causing harm to themselves or the earth or others. Their relationship reflects the fact that they are emotionally healthy indoviduals. Not only that, their monogamous relationship that centers around self-giving love is in fact a reflection of the divine! Someone who is going around getting drunk and sleeping around instead of spending time with their spouse (even if it is a straight white male) is not good. They are damaging themselves and their spouse emotionally and physically (through continual drunkenness). It causes destruction at every turn.
“But what about Morals Eric? What about ethics? They change from age to age and this is just simply the moral code and ethical code of this age and the Bible’s morals should hold above all else?”
I agree, and the Moral and ethical code of the Bible, time and time again, is that of Love. Everything comes out of love and God, throughout the ages, has called his creation to love time and time again. There is a reason that Jesus’ core message was that of loving God and loving others. There is a reason that Jesus said the entirety of the law rested on those two things. It is all about love.
So, in terms of Unifying and Prophetic language, both come inherently out of the process of love. Unifying comes from the desire to bring harmony out of love. Prophetic voices seek to restore because there is an absence of love, and instead destruction and evil reigns. We reside in the tension between the crossroads. So if you are confused about what voice you should be using, (and these are most assuredly not the ONLY voices that we speak with, otherwise we would be living in dualism) make sure that you are steeping yourself in the tradition of love. Seek to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Seek to be a disciple to love, living humbly. Be prophetic and seek justice. Be unifying and love mercy.
Grace and Peace,
This is a personal blog and does not necessarily represent the views of Community Church or any groups mentioned here