Shhhhhhhh! listen, you can hear it...rocks moving around, grating and grinding. Look, down at your feet...they are wet. You can hear that faint trickle of water in the background. Yeah, I know, I can hear you asking...what is it?
It's that dam you've built early on in your faith journey. You might not even remember consciously doing it, but you did. All those facts, the stones of certitude that you nicely stacked with precision, interlocking with one another. Your dam was thick, and high. You built your levee, thinking you'd keep faith on one side, and the world on the other. You were pretty darn confident it would hold.
The urge is to poke your finger into the leaking hole. But do you really think that is going to work? There is an ocean on the other side. It's literally a Tsunami of humanity...of plurality, of color, of language, of politics, of faiths, of culture, of injustice, of environmental devastation and exploitation, of philosophy and ideologies... ... ...
Scared, don't be. Get ready to be immersed, engulfed, get ready to be in the midst of it all. The biggest question of all, will your faith survive in this tsunami of humanity.
The other day,while having coffee with a friend my imagination was held captive by Paul's analogy of Jesus, as the second Adam, or the last Adam. So that evening, I read;
The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
The thought of Jesus being the last Adam, a life-giving spirit causes the hard drive encased in my skull to spin, whirling like crazy. The neurons, the microprocessors spark, igniting each other. It's as if the dark space of my mind is lighting up like a starry night. This is where I discover redemptive imagination.
Adam, in Hebrew, means " earth ". And it is also ascribed to Phoenician and Babylonian origins, meaning " man, or mankind."
What does it mean for Christianity today, to have Paul drag Jesus back down the corridor of history, and metaphorically call Jesus, the last Adam...a life-giving spirit. For me, it opens the the flood gates of something so redemptive-ly profound it leaves me awestruck and breathless.
A new vision for " earth " and " mankind " is unavoidably apart of this new life-giving spirit.
Adam in the story of Genesis was pre-religion, it was a relationship that was profoundly communal. It was God, man and creation. Adam would hear the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze. This is not a God that confines his existence in any religion, but is consumed by a relationship with all humanity, and with the fullness and diversity of all creation.
If Paul wants to drag Jesus metaphorically back to Adam, does he not have to bring him back to the reality of this relationship? Jesus becomes pre-religion, and post-religion. He becomes not concerned in a relationship with religion...but, a relationship with all humanity, and all creation.
Another thought comes to mind. If Paul brings Jesus back to Adam, Jesus comes carrying some heavy baggage. Jesus can not be separated from the reality of the Kingdom. Jesus without the Kingdom is like life without the force of gravity. Without gravity, life falls apart, it spins off into infinite space into an infinite void. The same is for Jesus, without the Kingdom there is no redemptive imagination, there is no hope, there is no abundant life...the story ends.
So now incredibly, the garden becomes the Kingdom and the stewardship that humanity was given for the garden, for all creation...becomes the stewardship of the Kingdom. It is the mind blowing reality of, " May your Kingdom come on earth, as in heaven." Now! And the stewardship explodes in to the divine redemptive imagination of Jesus. It becomes the abundant life for " all " not just some. As in Genesis, the rivers that flowed out of the garden to nourish creation, now become rivers of justice flowing from the infinite divine redemptive imagination of the Kingdom. All humanity becomes stewards of the Kingdom. We cultivate, we plant, we nurture the reality of God's justice and compassion into the midst of a broken and fallen humanity. It is the Kingdom becoming tangible, coming into fullness.
Jesus being the new Adam, the last Adam fills my mind with redemptive imagination. It can become a profound story that engages all humanity beyond religion to a profound beautifully mysterious communal relationship between mankind, earth and God, but also engages all creation to be consumed by a vividly breath taking vision of the Kingdom beyond heaven.
I leave you with a short video of a guy whose mind has been filled with the same redemptive imagination for years, calling " US " all humanity to re-think everything.
"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."~ Martin Luther King, Jr.