For their own safety and future development, children need a world of black and white. As they get older they perceive that few things are as cut and dried as their infant minds believed. There are shades of grey, colours and different measures of light. In adolescence the maturing adult perceives that life consists of ambiguity, paradox and anomaly. If the young adult has a strong identity and moderate boldness they can progress through life accumulating wisdom and discernment. If not they will live in a forty-four gallon drum of their own making and shout, ‘Don’t Change Anything!’ through the bung-hole.
Good parenting can prepare children to flourish in life and become people of integrity. Or not. Bad parenting or the embrace of illusions will see them captured in locked and concrete frameworks where they are unable to adapt or relate to the world as it is. So wounded, they do much harm to themselves and to others as they strenuously try to fit themselves and those they attempt to love into cages and grids. Grids that were figments of their parents minds and now their own. But Jesus came to set such captives free.
‘And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life’ Matt 19.29 NIV.
WHY JESUS HAS COME IN YOUR FLESH
Richard Rohr writes, ‘I am deeply aware of the damage that misuse of law, custom, authority, and tradition has done in human history and to personal development. I know the destructive and immature state that mere reliance on structure and authority has engendered. The anger and blindness it often brings is devastating, because it often takes away both a necessary self-confidence and a necessary self-questioning.’
Locked and concrete thinking or an encompassing ideological miasma legitimated by an authority figure or a ‘prophet’ can contain people in an alternative reality that paralyses thought and immunises them to objective truth. It becomes a lens that dulls perception and distorts reality so that people just do not perceive truth. Even if truth climbs onto their face and stares through their eyes into their soul. Thus a ‘another gospel’ becomes ‘the gospel’ the kingdom of God becomes the promotion of their beliefs and Christ your life becomes ‘what I have always believed.’ The symptoms of such imprisonment are loss of spiritual eye-sight and the decay of spiritual hearing.
DOOR AND LENS
For the Christian to enter a realm of growth, a realm of self-questioning and progress from glory to glory it is necessary to be born again. This change of life is never a transition from one mode of morality to another. It’s never ‘Once I had fifteen beers and now I have one.’ It is a change from living in structures of morality and systems of belief to living in God. By this I do not mean living Godly or living ‘as a Christian.’ The new birth is Christ as you. It is you in union with God. It means leaving behind Adamic concepts of good and evil in order to be embraced by Christ and a life in God. Here we transcend categories of good and evil. We have become a son.
Retained in the law we remain outside the spirit of sonship and dwarfed as persons. The morality we have is inferior and often contradictory. We are bereft of spirit and life and spiritual insight.
Richard Rohr observes that old covenant mindsets become, ‘Substitutes for any real adult formation of conscience. The superego feels like God, because people have had nothing else to guide them. Such a bogus conscience is a terrible substitute for authentic morality. What reveals its bogus character is its major resistance to change and growth..’
Major resistance to change and growth or subtle resistance to revelation and truth in favour of ‘what we have always believed’ impedes the life of God. This obstinacy has profound spiritual effects. It expunges the spirit of sonship. It prevents genuine re-birth from the life of Adam into the life of Jesus. There is no development and maturation for Believers as sons and daughters of God. People are estranged from God in their inmost being, separated from themselves and limited in their relationships with others. The result is that we are diminished. The church is crippled and what could have been the new creation remains old and chaotic.
The structured life of the law/old covenant has but one purpose: Its own abandonment. It prepares the path for us to live in a radically different mode of being – of living in God. We have been drawn into the trinity. We live in a new and living way with our hearts and spirits in the most holy place of fellowship in the trinity. And the trinity lives in us. This is your life in God. Christ in you. You in Christ. You and Father being one. This is His Kingdom come.