Years ago, I proposed that those of us looking for an alternative to the labels “evangelical,” “mainline,” and “liberal,” instead rally around the term Incarnational Christian. In today’s email meditation, Richard Rohr writes something along those lines:
Paul, a good Jew, quotes Deuteronomy, “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Romans 10:8), and begins with a challenge that we still need today: “Do not tell yourself that you have to bring Christ down!” (Romans 10:6). He knew that God had overcome the human-divine gap in the Christ Mystery once and for all. God is henceforth here, and not just there.
This is Christianity’s only completely unique message. Full incarnation is what distinguishes us from all other religions. This is our only real trump card, and for the most part, we have not yet played it. History, the planet—and other religions—have only suffered as a result. Incarnationalism does not put you in competition with any other religions but, in fact, allows you to see God in all things, including them! It mandates that you love and respect all others.
The mystery of the Incarnation is precisely the repositioning of God in the human and material world and not just part of that world. Common variety top-down religion often creates very passive, and even passive-dependent and passive-aggressive Christians. Certainly that is very common in my own Roman Church. Bottom-up, or incarnational, religion offers a God we can experience for ourselves and a God we can see—and must see—in everyone else. Any God on a throne does not achieve that purpose, but merely makes you fight other “thrones.”
HT: Rollie Bible