The belief that God is “out there” is the basic dualism that is tearing us all apart. Our view of God as separate and distant has harmed our relationships with sexuality, food, possessions, money, animals, nature, politics, and our own incarnate selves. This loss explains why we live such distraught and divided lives. Jesus came to put it all together for us and in us. He was saying, in effect, “To be human is good! The material and the physical can be trusted and enjoyed. This physical world is the hiding place of God and the revelation place of God!”
.. All are beloved. Everyone—Catholic and Protestant, Christian and Muslim, black and white, gay and straight, able-bodied and disabled, male and female, Republican and Democrat—all are children of God. We are all members of the Body of Christ, made in God’s image, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, whether or not we are aware of this gift.
Can you see the image of Christ in the least of your brothers and sisters? This is Jesus’ only description of the final judgment (Matthew 25). But some say, “They smell. They’re a nuisance. They’re on welfare. They are a drain on our tax money.” Can we see Christ in all people, even the so-called “nobodies” who can’t or won’t play our game of success? When we can see the image of God where we don’t want to see the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own.
.. Jesus says we have to love and recognize the divine image even in our enemies. Either we see the divine image in all created things, or we don’t see it at all.
God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness.” —Genesis 1:26
My dear people, we are already children of God; what we will be in the future has not yet been fully revealed, and all I do know is that we shall be like God.—1 John 3:2
.. We have heard the phrase so often that we don’t get the existential shock of what “created in the image and likeness of God” is saying about us. If this is true—and I believe it is—our family of origin is divine. We were created by a loving God to be love in the world. Our core is original blessing, not original sin. Our starting point is “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and surely not “total depravity” or “sinners in the hands of an angry god.” All the good theology in the world cannot make up for a basically negative anthropology.
Christianity has far too easily called individual, private behaviors sins while usually ignoring or even supporting structural and systemic evils such as war, colonization, corporate greed, slavery, and abuse of the Earth. All of the seven capital sins were admired at the corporate level and shamed at the individual level.
.. This left us utterly split in our morality, dealing with symptoms instead of causes, shaming people while glorifying systems that were themselves selfish, greedy, lustful, ambitious, lazy, prideful, and deceitful. We can’t have it both ways. Evil lurks powerfully in the shadows, in our unconscious complicity with systems that serve us at others’ expense. It has created worldviews of entitlement and privilege that were largely unrecognized until rather recently.
.. Only contemplative, nondual consciousness is capable of seeing things like this without also being negative or self-righteous. Once you can clear away the web of illusion you will be able to see that every created thing is still made in the image of God
.. There is no profane place, person, or creature. We can even find the sacred in seemingly secular human endeavors like sex, food, work, economics, and politics, as we’ll see later this year.
.. “Christ is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). To see this is to have “the mind of Christ.”
Or if you prefer pop culture to polling statistics, think about it this way: God used to look like Charlton Heston, but now He looks like Morgan Freeman, and I think this matters.
.. O.K., I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. I’ve had much to be thankful for — but every one of those good things is now very much under assault.
.. Meanwhile, everything this president and this Congress are doing on economic policy seems designed, not just to widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else, but to lock in plutocrats’ advantages, making it easier to ensure that their heirs remain on top and the rest stay down.
.. according to Pew, 58 percent of Republicans now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, versus only 36 percent who see a positive effect.
And I don’t believe for a minute that this turn against education is a reaction to political correctness. It’s about the nasty habit scholarship has of telling you things you don’t want to hear, like the fact that climate change is real.
.. In other words, America has given me a lot to be thankful for. But it looks, more and more, as if that was a different country from the one we live in now.