I’m blogging my way through Neighbors & Wisemen for Lent. Here are 3 quick reflections from chapter 8.Neighbors & Wisemen

This reoccurring theme of 2 teams provides some challenging implications.

“I was raised to believe in a two world team consisting of the spiritual haves and have-nots. Christians are the “haves.” Everyone else are the “have-nots.”

When there are 2 teams – all sort of problem from. Some are little, some are major. Some are ethical, some have to do with identity.

  • Giving to beggars. I who have much am concerned with what they might do with a little that I give them. That they might be irresponsible. I do not want to feed into or enable that dis-function.  I do not worry nearly as much (or if at all) about my own irresponsibility. I rarely question my excess and my surplus – they are so easy to justify since there is so much to work with.  (I am confessing here)
  • Other Religions. I don’t need to look into the differences between Islam or Hinduism to see where there might be some mutual-informing with Christianity. It doesn’t matter. Neither of them is true so it doesn’t matter. They are both on the other team.
  • Denominations. Last week I attempted to say that there were significant and good differences between Conservatives, Liberals, Evangelicals, Emergents, and Progressives. I was struck that in a 2 team system these differences are not as significant as what I was attempting to say, and also that folks have not generally thought much about the subject.


What’s My Name? 

I had a classmate from the Asian side of the Pacific Rim. He taught me a valuable lesson about names. In his culture you say your family name first, then your father’s name, then your own.  He told me that it didn’t make sense any other way. If it was not for your family, and then your father – there would be no you.

The way that we order our name is telling.  I have another friend who comes from a proud line of Europeans. He is a third generation American and he is only the second person in his family to have the same last name as his father. In his culture your last name is your dad’s first name + son.
So he would be Jake Mortenson. His father was Morten Hanson. His grandfather was Han Svenson or something.  But of course that gets complicated in U.S. America. So they ceased the practice.

This stuff is important because it is not just the way we speak.  It is the way that we conceptualize identity.

 God’s Identity 

“I was starting the process of reading my Bible through from beginning to end, when I came upon these words on my Bible’s first page: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image.’”

God’s self-declared identity is communal. Could it be that our identity is communal as well?

I love this question – but would take it a step further.

God’s identity is not just communal it is relational. We need to not just conceptualize god as communal (multiple) but a communing. It has to be inter-related. Our conceptions don’t just stand apart in perfect essences … we need to conceptualize God as interacting.

If this were a paper for school I would say: It is not just in multiplicity. It is in relationality. 


Let me know what you think about any of this:

  • the implication of a 2 team system
  • the name game 
  • God as mutual relatedness