”For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
By the time we get to Hosea, we have the prototypical Christ and humanity; Hosea and Gomer. If we view the whole of scripture as a Historian would view music or art, we should expect a seed of an idea, not well defined, grow to have elements which typify the idea, and then we should see that idea have those noting elements brought into high relief. This is generally prototypical, typical, and exaggeration. In Hosea, we find an unfailing love just as in the parable of the Prodigal. Carried into an ethic, since God so loves us, we should too; as a famous Rabbi once summed up as the whole Torah while on one leg.
In fact, we see this exactly, from Mark through the other three Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. In Christianity as well, from a hoard of diverse ideas about Jesus until its typical nature begins to solidify as Irenaeus writes “Against Heresies” and his canonical work begins in response to those like Marcion.
To skip ahead nearly 2,000 years, Christianity is at the end of its exaggerated period. For all but a few oddly situated souls, as interpreted popularly, Christianity is irrelevant to more and more people today. Worse, the popular variety which is the exact thing meant in using the word “exaggerated” is seen as abhorrent morally, intellectually, and culturally.
What has begun in prototypical fashion in theologies such as Open Theism, Emergent and Progressive theologies is revisiting the origins and meanings of that first spark of an idea, taking us from Job, Micha, Isaiah, and Hosea and re-asking the question again: Who is Jesus, to me, to us, just as Jesus asked his disciples long ago, each having their own answers from their own expectations, their own particular troubles.
It seems that the pad answers to tough questions, often amounting to nothing but empty “deepities”, are taken as being dishonest, as they should, and the dominant, rampant theologies repulsively illogical and clearly immoral to any objective, disinterested interlocutor.
What is emerging is a Jesus of social justice and praxis rather than the figurehead of lofty ideas which purport to change lives, but often deliver the truth of it in scathing peoples out to commit everyone to Hell for their own slice of Heaven; neighbors be damned.
I say fair well, let the dust of time cover your blemishes.