To begin re-imagining God, let’s consider a couple of the absurd things Jesus taught.
Love your neighbor with the same passion with which you love yourself.
Love your enemies; pray for those who hurt or use you.
These words aren’t absurd because they are difficult. Transformative things are by nature, difficult. No. These words are absurd because they are impossible.
Let’s go back to the skin-bag assumptions we began with a few posts ago.
– I am me… over here… in this bag of skin.
– You are you, over there, in your bag.
– We exist as discreet packages of otherness.
This framework makes Jesus absurd.
He insists I love you with the same passion I do myself. I have X amount of love for me… and now I have to double it; X for me, and another X for you. Demanding; but doable.
However, a long time ago, somebody figured out how absurd this really is. “Who is my neighbor?” they demanded (Lk.10). In other words, “put some limits on this, Jesus!”
Imagine you live next door to me. You are my neighbor. Sincere in my desire to follow Jesus, I measure out the love I have for myself, and then double it to give to you. But another guy moves in on the other side of my house. Now I have to measure out the love I have for myself and triple it! Ok, I’ll try (hopefully, he’s not a jerk). But there’s a neighbor across the street… and down the street… and where does it end?! Jesus, there has to be a limit!
I am finite. I can only muster a finite amount of love. There are 7 billion “neighbors” on the planet. I simply cannot love them all with the same passion.
But limitless love seemed to be the very essence of Jesus’ message.
So I’m left with a dilemma. I can either ignore Jesus as pie-in-the-sky idealism…
Or I can begin to question my framing reality.
Did Jesus see reality in a way that makes limitless love not absurd?
In a roundabout way, and with a pinch of quantum physics, over the next few posts, I’ll suggest this is exactly the case. Jesus, Paul, and our saints did not imagine reality in separate skin-bag terms.
But since it will be a roundabout path; here’s a teaser…
We… being many… are nevertheless one…
We are one body.
Every one of us is a member of the other.
That’s the way Christ has shown us things are. (Rom.12:5)
With a different framing reality, in a very real way, loving the other is loving myself.