Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Process theologians see Jesus as a reflection of God's aim toward creative transformation, calling humankind forward from what is to what can become.  Christ calls us to be open to God now and in the future.  While God's aim at creative transformation is present in all things, seeking beauty, intensity, and community, God is specifically present in Jesus Christ in ways that create a life-transforming field of force among those who hear his message.  The interplay of divine-human call and response resonates in all things, but Jesus Christ's life and mission creates an intensified field fo force that transformed persons in the first century and still transforms persons today.  Jesus Christ 'saves' us, to use traditional language, by opening and empowering us to experience God's vision for our lives in new and lively ways.  Jesus' life, death, and resurrection do not transform God's attitude toward us, involve Jesus paying ransom to demonic forces to liberate us, or require his suffering on our behalf in order to appease God's wrath.  Rather, as the model for what we can be in our time and place, in every century, Jesus Christ calls us to become fully human as we embody in a variety of ways our vocation as God's healing partners in  our world.
Although deeply rooted in the Jewish faith of his parents, Jesus nevertheless challenged his tradition to reflect God's all-embracing realm of Shalom, that included oppressed and oppressor, outcast and righteous, and foreigner and neighbor.  Jesus' message and mission, process theologians assert, was not supernaturally-oriented toward life beyond the grave, but a call to embody God's vision for this life and this world.   In this regard, Jesus embodied the prophetic vision of Shalom, God's alternative vision of reality in contrast to the injustices and oppression of the world in which we live.
Faithfulness to Jesus' vision challenges us to challenge and transform our own faith tradition as Christians in light of God's call to Shalom in our time."

--Bruce G. Epperly, Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed


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