the division of humanity is the suffering of God

the suffering of god cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
You can purchase a print of this cartoon in my store!

Unity isn’t to be achieved but believed. We are all one. But we are not all as one. The manifestation does not match the reality. This is clear.

The Spirit is not only within the human collective, incarnationally it is the human collective. I suggest our divisiveness is therefore the suffering of Spirit.

I read Zach Hoag’s post, “Resolved: Quitting the Progressive Christian Internet in 2014”. This concerns me because I am a part of the Patheos Progressive Christian network. His disappointments are that it has lost its way, does not reflect essential Christian values, is defensive and entitled, and is schismatic and divisive. I cannot disagree with him. I think it is floundering. I think it does get very nasty. I think it is full of annoying personal maneuvering. It is embarrassingly competitive. It is, in many ways, just downright mean. Generally speaking, it appears to me progressives are fighting over the biggest piece of the pie for personal gain. Few seem really interested in exploring, discovering and articulating a unified and unifying theory. I’m trying with my z-theory, but I have much more work to do there.

But I won’t quit the conversation. It is too important to throw in the towel now because of its potential. I wrote a post a few weeks ago “How the Progressive Christian Movement Can Move Forward” in which I suggest that we should appreciate:

  1. Diversity instead of division.
  2. Cooperation instead of competition.
  3. Joy instead of joylessness.

It wasn’t one of my most popular posts. It could be that it is poorly written, irrelevant, or, among other reasons, uninteresting to those involved in the conversation. But I still stand by these values. I think they would be helpful guides that might lead us to a more joyful and cooperative appreciation of diversity. Yes we must continue to challenge and overthrow stupid and damaging beliefs and behaviors. Like weeding the garden to make room for the good stuff. But I want to do this hopeful that the reality of our unity will eventually become apparent to us all.

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
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nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

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  • Graphic comic. Powerful.

    Part of it, is we always have to be ‘right’. Because if we’re not right, then that means we’ve been believing wrong for so long. So we hang onto our misguided beliefs in an attempt to justify ourselves.

    It’s a hard thing to say, “I was wrong.” It makes us feel less. Smaller. When in reality it just means we’re as human as the next person.

    And of course, when I say ‘we’ and ‘us’…I am of course talking about myself first and foremost. LOL

  • I really like this drawing, especially in light of your call for “diversity instead of division.” It’s definitely one of your more meaningful ones for me. Thanks.

    Fwiw, I guess I don’t see the PC “movement” as struggling. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a part of the online conversations, but I suspect it’s more because of how I view the PC movement. I separate it into progressive evangelicals and progressive revisionists. (Note that this is similar, if not the same, as the way Howard Pepper in the other thread breaks the category out.) What I see is a growing possibility for the progressive revisionist perspective (which I come from). My sense is that there is forward momentum there. The progressive evangelicals, however, do indeed seem to be struggling, and I admit I really don’t see a lot of potential in where they are going. (Then again, I don’t come from that perspective, and that may be why I don’t see it.)

    Therefore, I intend to engage in what I consider to be relevant conversations revolving around a growing revisionist agenda and not be bogged down in conversations that simply aren’t of interest to me, especially if they are laden in unnecessary drama-hype (aka, engagement stimulus).

  • Caryn LeMur

    May I offer that many wars start in the same paradigm that was successful in the last war. Thus, when Germany switched to Blitzkrieg-style warfare, the surrounding nations assumed that Trench-warfare would soon develop, and responded with Trench tactics… and lost many first battles.

    In the USA, we have an entire history of debating ‘doctrine’ among each other.
    So, I offer that we are perhaps fighting in the same style we have always fought: ‘what do you believe?’ is the #1 question from the elders or board towards a new leader (from within or during a pastoral search). The Book of Doctrine is next discussed. These are ‘creed-based’ (or Creedal) churches. This is Trench-warfare…. an ugly way to live, and an ugly way to die.

    Yet, when I read Matt 25, Parable of the Sheep and Goats, I see that the first concern of Jesus was transformation (from goat to sheep prior to His judgment). The second concern is ‘what do you do to the least that believe?’.

    Calling on Christ for salvation, calling on the Father for forgiveness, that is the Transformation Experience, is an area of worthy debate. Yet, this Blitzkrieg is a settled question among the Evangelicals and others. These are Transformational churches.

    ‘What and how shall we work among the least?’ – this is the neglected style of warfare, even though it was key to the Judgment by Christ. These are the Covenantal Churches, that ask, ‘whom did you encourage this week?’ ‘Whom did you help that was hungry, thirsty, sick, in prison, naked, or homeless?’ ‘We truly do not care what you believe… we care about enabling you to do what matters.’

    We have no name for this style of warfare…. I am afraid this style of warfare is a relative unknown in the USA. For example, in the last church we attended of about 100 adults, I counted only 6 people one night from that church working among the hungry that came for food. Only 6% involvement in what matters to Christ so highly that He repeated this 4 times in one parable?
    Hopefully, the progressive church will define this new style of warfare, and then instead of attacking each other, will find that diversity, cooperation, joy, and love are there in abundance.

    I believe we are asking the wrong questions; we are refining old styles of warfare and producing the same deadening results.

    Much love in Christ always and unconditionally; Caryn

  • ccws

    Too bad so many people don’t realize that what’s being torn off isn’t pieces of God – it’s pieces of their CONCEPT of God.

  • klhayes

    That is a powerful drawing…it made me flinch. Any movement no matter what the intention, can go bad. As I have said in a different way before, many of the tactics used in the conservative movement are being used by progressives. We have to show a different way.