conjectural navel gazing; jesus in lint form

Resurrection: Get In Your Body

Posted April 10, 2012 @ 9:57am | by Tripp

I've been a part of some conversations lately that have helped me articulate some thoughts of my own. Specifically these conversations have been about the idea of resurrection. Sure, it's Easter and some of us have been walking about saying "The Lord is risen!" and things like that. As one might imagine, this tends to bring the subject to the fore. But the struggles many people have with the notion have been on my mind for a long time, spefically how they relate to issues of congregational health, evangelism, mystical theology, and how all of this translates to people. 

Once upon a time (at least this is what many of us tell ourselves), evangelists walked this world and shared the Gospel. By this I mean they told the story about how Jesus' Passion...his execution, death, and then his surprising resurrection...and, of course, how this same resurrection fixed things between humanity and the divine on a cosmic level. I still find people who believe that this is their job as ministers...to convince people of the truth of this story, the historicity of this story. I'm not the first to say this, but it's no longer a viable way to tell the story. There's simply too much in the way. Zombie Jesus, anyone?

I know that some who are well versed in this conversation have "a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles" (1 Cor. 1:23) at their beck and call. Fine. This isn't a new struggle. But it is the way that this story is a stumbling block and foolishness that we're not considering. In the information age, when knowledge is everything and scientific thinking is lauded (and rightly so) as the only sane way to navigate the world. If there is no proof then there is no point. And, no, the Bible is not proof. The Bible is just as likely to be received as a symbol of oppresion as it is liberation. It's been the subject of so many literature or history critics that it simply has no weight in this conversation. The Bible has no authority. None. "For the Bible tells me so" is actually an internal theological claim now. 

None of this is new, of course. This is from a 1922 sermon by Harry Emerson Fosdick:

A great mass of new knowledge has come into man’s possession—new knowledge about the physical universe, its origin, its forces, its laws; new knowledge about human history and in particular about the ways in which the ancient peoples used to think in matters of religion and the methods by which they phrased and explained their spiritual experiences; and new knowledge, also, about other religions and the strangely similar ways in which men’s faiths and religious practices have developed everywhere. . . .

Now, there are multitudes of reverent Christians who have been unable to keep this new knowledge in one compartment of their minds and the Christian faith in another.

So, then what? What's the story we should tell? I don't know yet. I'm working on that, but it has something to do with how resurrection is about our own bodies and not the historical Jesus. That project should be abandoned as anything but a curiosity. Resurrection is somthing that is promised to all people...it's about getting in our own bodies now, about living in these bodies, about (re)incarnating the Holy in the bodies we have been given here. It's about Breath. It's about bodies...relationships, love. These aren't implication of resurrection, but the very story itself. 

I'm still working this out. Your thoughts?

Relatedly, Bishop Catherine A. Caimano says that without "Jesus is risen from the dead"
Christianity just doesn't make any sense at all. This is a helpful foil.

 
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