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The arc of the books

I am not seeking to write a classic (and very amateur) systematic theology, one that might start with God, creation, Trinity, Jesus, humanity, salvation, and on to eschatology. Rather the books spring from a time in my life when I have more-or-less arrived at some settled convictions, expressed within a few fixed points. They provide me a window through which I can view God, the world, and through which I should probably also see myself. I cannot profess to be faithful to the above as theory is a lot easier than practice!

Book 1 ‘Humanising the Divine’ develops from God’s gift to humanity and therefore humanity’s high privileged position being that of image. Hence God is known through what is imaged… but only Jesus is truly human, so he is central to know who God is (as well as revealing humanity as should / could be). Anything that falls short of this is ‘sin’, to miss the mark, to fall short of the glory of God.

God’s ‘desire’ is to live with and among humanity, to be the animating life-source that is drawn upon. This is not something that will be imposed, but through a ‘chosen’ people who will model something and take responsibility for the ‘non-chosen’. (Language of chosen / non-chosen is difficult here, but it is not a term of who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, but related to responsibility. Maybe better put a minority enabling the majority through servanthood to discover destiny, even if the destiny is not fully achieved.)

At the end of book 1 there is a short look at the cross - through two aspects. It happens at a specific time (‘fullness of times’) and to deal with a complex issue / multi-layered issues. The central two elements related to the ‘problem’ being addressed are Jewish and male. (What I do not cover in the books - Jesus has to attain to ‘true human’ status to deal with this - not enough for him to be fully human.)

Book 2 ‘Significant Other’ then sets the body of Christ in the position of being political - a movement that is taking responsibility for what is not perceived of as being within that body. Not there to judge, for any judgement is within, but to take responsibility for the space so that humanity can live healthily.

Book 3 follows this with a macro exploration of the values that should inform anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ, as well as emphasising that it is the multiplication of the small (hence micro) that makes the difference. (Between the lines here is that these acts are what provide the ‘building blocks’ for the age to come.)

Then book 4 lands on some perspectives as to what the ‘Gospel’ is, what the message is that will inform the vision for the world. This vision is described as ‘new creation’. The message is unmistakably political, embracing a harmonious human community with all its differences, hence the end of the divides; ethnic (Jew/Gentile); class (slave/free) and very importantly even prior distinctions from creation (‘male and female’) are no longer valid ‘boxes’. Here will be some exploration of God cannot be male, and post-resurrection (or at least Ascension) Jesus also not as male (nor Jewish).

Inadequately I have tried to build from one book to the next. Questions and suggestions are between the lines of previous books and gradually are filled out… with many ‘between the lines’ and possible implications continuing, thus not all loose ends are tied up… There is room to develop what is there in directions that might be logical from what I have written (for example, gender issues) and there is plenty of room for push back on anything I suggest. They are simply a set of perspectives that I present.

I intend to complete the series with either 2 or 3 books on ‘the hope’ expressed within the Christian faith. This I see as foundational and perhaps should have started with them, as where we perceive we are headed determines the direction. They are pending as I am not sure how to write them, but they will be consistent with the other books - God’s desire to live with, among humanity and be the ultimate life-source. Hence a denial of classic themes such as ‘Armageddon’, ‘antiChrist’, 'one-world-government', ‘rapture’, ‘going to heaven when I die’ etc.

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