Family? Who is your mother?

Ever been in a situation where you meet those who are ‘born again’, quote the same Bible, but something troubles you? Probably troubles you about how they talk about those who ‘need to be saved’ and in their approach to evangelise treat such people as objects, not seeing the other as a person and someone to walk with regardless of their response to what is termed the ‘gospel’. Or perhaps in the current scenario of Gaza / Israel? I have been there many times and often leave asking the question – are they my ‘brother / sister’? Do they know the same God (acknowledging that we all have a ‘sub-God’… for the one and true God is the one who ’emptied himself’ as the one who manifested that did so ‘being in the form of God’).

Recently with some major perspectives from VIctor Lorenzo I understand that in Abrham’s family there were a number of descendents. Ishmael and Isaac we are well acquainted with, but after the death of Sarah there were another ‘batch’ born:

Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country (Gen. 25:1-6).

At least another 6… same father, and at least 3 different mothers; descendents from a different womb.

In John 3 Jesus has a dialogue about being ‘born again’ (the only time recorded he had such a dialogue so the context is important) with Nicodemus. He was a significant person within Israel, a member of the Sanhedrin, and over the course of John’s Gospel we can see how he moves from visiting Jesus ‘at night’ to being one of two men who bury Jesus’ body, surely a path to clear discipleship. Nicodemus asks if he has to enter his mother’s womb again… To enter the same womb again (physically) is impossible but to enter the same womb again metaphorically would not bring about a birth from above.The womb to be entered is the womb of the Holy Spirit. [The virigin birth is just that – there is nothing in common with ancient mythological gods having intercourse with a woman, such as in the founding story of Europe; the Holy Spirit comes upon / overshadows suggests the concept of two wombs – that of a yielded young woman and a nurturing protective Spirit of God.]

Unless one enters the womb of the Holy Spirit one cannot see nor even enter the kingdom of God. To come from another womb might not mean we are not of the same ‘Father’ but we might not see the nature of the kingdom of God. Surely that is what we often encounter when we meet fellow ‘believers’. Even when the talk is of the ‘kingdom’ the nature of what is described is different. Maybe all of us are ‘children’ but perhaps many of us are related to one another as ‘half-brothers/sisters’. And of course, as always it has less to do with others than it has to do with ourselves, with our visit to Jesus ‘at night’ and we find ourselves entering not the womb of our mother again, but the womb of the Holy Spirit again. I need to see the ‘upside kingdom of God’ more clearly than yesterday… if I am to be transformed from glory to glory then the process has to continue.

I certainly do not need to be arrogant, labelling others as ‘half-sisters/brothers’, but neither do I have to accept when others speak of those who are ‘outside’ as less than ‘us’ that this is family talk. And in the current situation in Gaza where there is little pain displayed when we read of Palestinians losing their lives, but there is plenty of noise made outside an abortion clinic, surely even I can see the discrepancy. We must be within a different ‘segment’ of the family at that point – and to each ‘segement’ there are gifts available, for Abraham gave to each offspring from the concubines ‘gifts’.

As always it seems less about salvation from, but far more about salvation for, which always is about what I manifest… Manifesting a family likeness?

One thought on “Family? Who is your mother?

  1. I think it depends on who you talk to about the catastrophe in Gaza as to whether people are protesting about it or not. A lot of evangelical Christians particularly in the US where Christian Zionism is very evident would be less concerned about the civilians who are dying in appalling numbers in Gaza than the Israelis attacked and massacred on 7/10 and babies dying in abortion clinics. Look outside that paradigm then there are plenty Christian voices obviously Muslim especially and secular ones calling for a ceasefire and beyond. There are even Jews on the marches for Gaza which are absolutely huge in London anyway which is incredible considering the antisemitism in the Arab world and here. I think Jews are being sidelined and demonised the most because of what is happening at least in the UK? Still Half brothers/sisters standing together sometimes even despite the horror. I totally disagree with the Israeli response and think it is an act of profound lack of judgment and cruelty and will only feed the monster of hatred and dehumanising of the other in Israel and the Arab world it is as some commentators have suggested an act of self harm in long term too in addition to being incredibly destructive and dreadful for the people of Gaza. I don’t know what they ‘should’ have done but clearly not this. However I don’t see any sizeable marches for Israel or much talk about the victims of 7/10 and the hostages on the media particularly. I would like to hold a vigil for all killed in this terrible conflict in London but don’t know what that would look like or how to do it given the policing problems etc.and my health!! Somehow the narrative needs to change and we need to bring to earth the true kingdom of God which values life and hates death and destruction. Christianity has to be a life movement and to bring about peace and reconciliation. Preaching the gospel can only ever be done through actions and service with ultimate possibility that we will even lose our lives in the process. I have felt led to repent as a Christian and on behalf of us all for allowing this to happen on our watch. I don’t know if I have discerned this correctly and know I could be way off track as most Christians who’ve I told this don’t resonate with it at all as a way of interceding? I feel if we had truly prayed for the kingdom to come hard enough and demonstrated the true gospel in the world instead of jumping on political bandwagons and empire building in the name of the gospel etc. then this couldn’t have happened. All blood cries out and desires to be appeased but it is only Jesus blood that is the true appeasement and speaks a better word! As you say the kingdom is about bringing heaven to earth and we have clearly not ushered that in through our actions and hearts as the body of Christ. So innocents die and blood is endlessly shed again and again and again. So all we can do for now is lament and hope that is prayer. Thank you Martin for opening up the discussion on this/these issues.

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