The Walking Tree

You have to wonder about the Jew and the Samaritan and what it means to “accept” Christ. If you think it means “I have to believe Jesus was the Son of God who died to take away my sin and believing this keeps me from Hell”, then it’s simplistic and literally meaningless; no more than empty tribalism.

Why would God care what you think of Jesus’ ontology? Properly too, belief is not a choice in the sense that we can make ourselves think something is the case. Either things appear to be what they and we already accept that reality from experience, or when something is truly unknown, we actually do have a choice and it is an ethical one, ie benefit of the doubt for example.

In Mark 8, the entire chapter is about absolutely no one knowing who Jesus is including Peter. And right in the middle of that, Jesus heals a blind man.

This is Christianity: that Jesus came to the world to ask who we think we are. At the onset, we’re blind when he asks. Then Jesus says “Look again, let me show you”. He asks again, “Who do you say you are?” and we mutter, “I see men walking around like trees.”

“Look again, I’ll show you.” He needn’t ask a third time because it has been revealed. John explains Jesus is logos, hodos, alethea, zoe. Jesus is the way God intended humanity to be. Jesus is the existential way to be in the world. Jesus is the reality of what it means to be human. Jesus is how we’re to be in the world.

“Accepting Christ” is no more than accepting we are more than we think and becoming what we were meant to be. This has nothing to do with religious, tribal systems or holding certain creedal beliefs, which are not proper beliefs in any meaningful sense. It certainly isn’t anything like Augustine’s pagan Manichean musings such as having a totally depraved nature or election or imputation and cosmic penalty payments. That’s all literally anti Christ.

The Jew and Samaritan and every other human being need not confess Christ nor “believe in him” as if that is efficacious for anything at all, save binding communities at the exclusion of others; that belief is also a work!

Through our nature, we begin to see. Being drawn to the good and participating in it, we see. We are not saved because we have done some good thing. We are transformed in participating in the good because the good is what God is. We lose our shame having already been forgiven in the garden when we felt insufficient to be one with God, naked, ie just as we are. This is “accepting Christ”, and “Christian” is then participation in humanity, in the solidarity of human well being, undivided and bound by love rather than tribal systems and power; which chiefly is the only language Christians largely seem capable of, and is far too small for any concept of God the ineffable.

Just a thought.

Oh, and neither the Jew nor Samaritan need worry about their lot in eternity.

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