Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dirt-stained Jesus shows us how to live soulfully

Author and speaker, Sally Morgenthaler introduces ideas about, "A More Soulful Religion" at Gifted for Leadership: A community for Christian women, with quotes from Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, including Moore’s observation,
"Tradition teaches that soul is in the middle (between the material and the spiritual) holding together mind and body, ideas and life, spirituality and the world. And it remains patiently in the present, close to life as it presents itself day by day..."
Morgenthaler imagines a more soulful approach within Christianity:
"The Jesus we see in the Gospels seems so very soulful. Present and close to life. At ease with the dust on his sandals, between his toes, embedded in his clothes. So amazingly earthy as he mixes dirt with spit and rubs it on the blind man’s eyes. If soul is midway between the non-material and the material, then I guess Jesus would come by that naturally. Incarnation is, after all, the ultimate meeting of the two.

As I muse about the Church in this era and how those outside its doors seem to be craving a dustier God, I wonder how long we can keep offering the distant, sanitized, unreachable Jesus. The Jesus sanitized and removed by moralism, finger-pointing politics and big-top shows. I suppose it’s easier and safer to offer this floating, disconnected version of God. If we offered the connected, dirt-stained Jesus, we might have to follow suit. We might actually have to stay close, be present, and meet people where they are. Soulfully. Entering the mess and embracing people in the midst of darkness and light, mingled."
Her conclusions also echo Thomas Moore. She says,
"... my search for a more soulful Christ-following must begin with me. I may teach pastors, consult with churches, and write about what congregations need to be doing now that the world has turned on its end. But am I really leading a dusty, spittle-mixed-with-dirt life?

It is time that my own faith becomes more imagination than mental reduction; more human, humane, and therefore, gracious; more poetry than principle."

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