Hearty Heresy


From the Historical Jesus to the Cosmic Christ
June 14, 2007, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion, Theology

Just wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve just finished Frend’s The Rise of Christianity, which I was reading along with Crossan’s The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (Frend’s book had four sections and Crossan’s had three, so I alternated between them: a little confusing, but I really felt immersed in the centuries leading up to, and following, Jesus’ time on earth). I have to report that I found nothing in either book make me believe that Jesus was nothing more than one of those rare individuals who are both theological geniuses and spiritual exemplars (like Buddha, Gandhi, etc.). Which is why I thought I’d take on Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ as my next reading project. Once again, there’s nothing that I’ve read so far that would lead me to believe that Jesus was anything more than a human being. Of course, having faith that Jesus was the Christ (or an incarnation of the Christ-nature) is another story, and I’m sure I’ll get into that later. I’m glad I’m reading Fox for a lot of reasons. I’ve read Original Blessing a couple of times in the past, and I pretty much agree with his approach to religion and spirituality. But reading Cosmic Christ has been a real blessing because Fox helped to clarify something that’s been bugging me: the use of the phrase “the people of God.” Here’s what he has to say:

When we incorporate a Cosmic Christ into our theology an interesting question arises for ecclesiology: Is the definition of Church as “people of God” too anthropocentric? The authors we have been reading–and the hymns sung by the earliest Christian believers–celebrate Christ within the cosmos, and persons “in Christ” and the Church as a microcosm of Christ within the cosmos. To omit this trivializes our concept of Church and invites institutional sins and divisions that have haunted the Church for centuries. Arrogance abounds when the cosmos is left out or appropriated unconsciously to oneself or one’s institutions. Humans, as individuals and as communities, are more likely to celebrate diversity and to be creative if they live within a cosmos rather than limited human assemblies upon which they strive to invoke the grace of God.

See what happens when you’re got a Masters Degrees in both philosophy and theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology and a Ph.D. in spirituality, summa cum laude, from the Institut Catholique de Paris! You can be very articulate about extremely complex subjects. I think Fox really gets to the root of my discomfort here, and he says it better than I possibly could.

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4 Comments so far
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Interesting :)This talk of “Cosmic Christ” reminds me of an observation once made by a logician: “When Jesus said ‘I and the Father are One’, he did NOT say: ‘and you and the Father are seperate’.”

Comment by The Imugi

Indeed! Fox is always careful to point out that what was incarnate in Jesus as the Cosmic Christ is available to all of creation as well. Thanks for the comment!

Comment by heartyheretic

Happy reading! I am still compiling my summer list. We are traveling the the Grand Canyon, Nashville and I am staying with the Benedictines in Big Sur. So, I want to make sure that I take along some good stuff. I think you are swaying me in a Matthew Fox direction. I will stick it next to Ovid, Steinbeck and Brautigan.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

You know, Brautigan had completely slipped my mind for a while. Then I saw the cover of one of his books and had a rush of nostalgia. It may be heretical, but I think I prefer him to Vonnegut!

Comment by heartyheretic




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