Wednesday, December 20, 2006


The second in a series of meditations on heresies. I was identified as tending Nestorian in my heresy quiz. Wikipedia sez: "Nestorianism is the Christian doctrine that Jesus exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as a unified person."

Friends, I was shocked! shocked! to be so identified. I am born and bred into the firm conviction that Jesus' natures-- human and divine-- are seamlessly wed in him, and that we try to separate those out at our peril.

I taught a class using Marcus Borg's Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time at my last church. One very open-minded and good-hearted man got completely hung up on the following hypothetical questions: Did Jesus know the theory of relativity? Did he know that the earth circles the sun and not vice versa? Did he know about the circulatory and nervous systems, how the brain works, what the thyroid gland does? My answers to all these are, No, if Jesus is like the rest of us humans in every respect save sin, then he did not have special knowledge that extended beyond the realm of his contemporaries, except perhaps insofar as his own identity was concerned.

This bothered me about the Anne Rice book, Out of Egypt; the child Jesus figures out who he is at around the age of 7. I can't fathom such a thing. I believe that God limited God's self-expression in Jesus. If not, the incarnation is empty-- it's simply God play-acting. What's saving there?



more cows than people said...

yay- thanks for helping me brush up on my heresies. umm... i don't think your a nestorian, dear. fear not. please, dear, fear not.

i don't think you're especially pelagian either... though we progressive types have a bit of pelagius in us, we occasionally seem to think that by our best thinking and best doing we can bring the kingdom in.

Gannet Girl said...

I'm with you -- in accepting the limitations of being human, God excluded from ther experience of Christ all the things that are excluded from our experience. But that didn't stop Christ from being fully human and fully divine. A mystery. I can live with it.

steve said...

I took a course on personality disorders during graduate school. And as the professor started going through the various disorders -- how these people act, think, feel, etc. -- he observantly noticed some worried looks amongst the students.

"I don't worry," he said "if people tell me that they find parts of themselves in all of these disorders. That's healthy. That means your mind can think about things in a variety of ways and be flexible. What I worry about is the person who points to just one disorder and says 'yep, that's totally me.'"

Maybe the same thing applies to some extent when it comes to theological perspectives.

Magdalene6127 said...

More Cows, I connect with what you say about progressive Pelagianism. Yes, if only we could bring in the kingdom on our own steam!
Thank Godde we don't have to...

Gannet Girl, I think you and I are in the minority judging by the things I hear around the church. Folks still seem scandalized by a genuinely human Jesus. but that's the only Jesus who works for me!

Steve, I really love this idea... I'm a Jungian at heart, I think, and I connect with a shadow side concept (thought I don't like the hard duality of it: I prefer to think of it as more rainbow-like!).

Blessings all.