Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Messiah Complex

A few comments the last few days have either indirectly insinuated or directly asked if I have a messiah complex. I'm sure it's true. I do. That is not really in question. What is in question is the validity and health of it.

This post really just follows the thoughts of the previous posts. I have wondered most of my life just how much of our world really depends on us. Not to overstate, but in my youth, I was primarily under the assumption that the important stuff that happens in the world is somehow dictated by God in either a direct or indirect way.

In college I began to ask the question of our active role in faith? Was it merely enough to have faith in God to bring goodness and healing and salvation into our world, or was it up to us, or was it some sort of partnership?

After college, I began to deconstruct the word salvation and have ended up with a much more robust understanding of the world that is much more all-encompassing than mere "life after death in heaven" mumbo-jumbo.

I wonder, as people of faith, who are mysteriously called this "body of Messiah", aren't we to have messiah complexes? Or is that missing the point?

Last Friday a friend and I came up with this phrase: "No one person is another's messiah; we are all collectively each other's." Yes. I believe this to be true. And it takes some of the pressure off. But it doesn't let us off the hook with little to no responsibility.

We are collectively the salt and light in our world, preserving it and helping in God's healing. We are messiahs (wasn't the early term Christian merely "little christs" or "little messiahs"?). This is all of our birthright and responsibility. It would seem that in order to embrace an approach to spirituality that is integrated and whole, we must embrace this...with it's far-reaching implications.

But still I wonder if that isn't missing the point. I wonder if that is merely "us getting in the way of God" as I used to say. I also wonder if the horrific things of our past (like manifest destiny or other forms of colonization) come from this very notion that we are God in our world.

Perhaps there is some tension to be found...that we are fully responsible–yet not fully capable–for bringing about goodness, beauty and life into our world.

PS - That is not me in the picture. It is a rendering of Jesus. Multiple people have asked me this. Ha. Oh, and Jenn has some good thoughts continuing this conversation here.

1 comment:

Mike Stavlund said...

Oh, man, you weren't fooling me with that picture-- you have way, way more hair than Jesus.

Hey, 'Hairier Than Jesus' could make a great album title, don't you think?