Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Mere Incarnation

With a tip of the pointy Druidic hat to the Anglican Continuum blog, which provides the link to Mere Orthodoxy's  rather nice post on CS Lewis, the "Invisible Anglican".

This remarks on Lewis's rooting within one tradition - he was a relatively conservative, relatively central Anglican - which therefore enables him to speak to and draw from many other traditions.

I'd argue that it's also true of another great predecessor in our faith, the definitive one, Jesus himself.

It's crucial to the faith that Jesus was a specific human being. With a race; a gender; a sexuality; a religion (fairly orthodox, Pharisaic, Judaism); a country; a family; a context; an education; a personal history. We could not be saved by God being all Humanity. It's meaningless, fleshless, unearthed, and therefore unredeeming.

To save all humans, Jesus had to be a human, not all humans. This fact put him on certain sides of the divisions with which we break up our world - all the things in the list above, and others. It therefore gave us the chance to make all sorts of dodgy rules based on what he happened to be - and what he wasn't (female, ginger, Caucasian). But it was a price that had to be paid. A Cosmic, Abstrated, All-humanity Christ cannot have oil poured on him by a weeping woman, cry at a tomb, be born of a woman, die on a cross. Only a specific Jesus can do that.

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