Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quote: Richard Gaillardetz

The fundamental insight of the doctrine of the Trinity is that God's being is essentially relational. The Johannine tradition expresses this (without, of course, anything like a developed Trinitarian theology) in its simplest and yet most ontologically profound affirmation: "God is love." It follows that, as beings created in the image and likeness of God, our salvation comes as we "put on Christ" and allow our lives to be patterned after the loving, generative and reciprocal relationality that is the very being of God as revealed to us in Christ by the power of the Spirit.

In the Eastern Christian tradition, this account of our salvation is called theosis or divinization. We might also call this capacity to share in the divine life of God spiritual communion. But this spiritual communion does not demand an escape from our world. Rather, our participation in spiritual communion comes in our authentic engagement in the multi-faceted web of human relationships that constitute our historical existence. This life of communion is disclosed in the creation stories of the Book of Genesis, in which we discover the call to the life of communion in our basic need for human companionship and in the demand for faithful stewardship of the earth itself. Salvation is concerned with the transformation and empowerment of our capacity for authentic engagement with God, others and the world itself.

The arena in which we work out our salvation and seek after God is bounded by the patterns and practices of daily living. Consequently, the Gospel of salvation stands in direct confrontation to the overarching ethos of our consumerist culture. It stands as a challenge to the seduction of modern technology, which seeks to render the world around us and time itself subject to our manipulation and control. It is this Gospel of salvation that must be proclaimed with renewed vigor by the church. The effective proclamation of this Gospel demands the cultivation of a new Christian mystagogy and a new asceticism.
Richard R. Gaillardetz, America, December 7, 1996

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