Sometimes the full implications of an idea don’t hit you until much later. At Christmas this year, I posted about the Jewishness of the birth of Christ; the symbols in the narratives.
Again, the traditional Hebrew thought about humanity isn’t at all focused around the nature of man or in earning salvation, be that through “proper” or “correct” beliefs or through acts going by the category of “righteousness”. It is centered around the idea of fullness of human life through participation with God.
The symbols in the birth narrative, to remind, reflect that idea through Mary, a young woman which is wisdom, and Jesus, the logos of God, and the in between, the space between wisdom and truth, being Mary’s participation with God; the center of that tradition.
Thinking about how we generally ask ourselves what Jesus would do, or having in mind we need to emulate or “be like” Christ, I think it’s a mistake. In doing so, what we seek to do is find justification in acts, however closely they do or do not resemble Christ.
If Christ is an event, or some experience, in our inner-lives, then in the process of “becoming Christ” (which is the basis of that line of thinking) we have no good way toward it. Action cannot easily do more than hasten an experience. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to understand the mind of Christ that way I suppose, aside from the natural difficulty in saying we understand our own minds much less someone else’s. I don’t think many would want to suggest that Christianity is about some peculiar beliefs and being good actors anyway, but this is the thrust of it for many.
Instead, taking the Jewish tradition, we aren’t figuratively guessing what Jesus was about. We only ask “What did Mary do, and what happened because of what she did?” and the answer is clear. Our theology rights itself then because when we participate with God, Christ is born in us; that wisdom that sees the reality, the truth of things. We needn’t seek Christ as Christ is the consequence of God in our lives. And rather than chasing after “Jesus behaviorisms”, we act within the reality we now understand within ourselves.
There are more theological implications but that’s likely to bore most folks to death. Maybe this will ripple for you at least while you chew on it.
Just a thought.