How do I see God at work in my life? How does my dependence on God translate into my relationship to those around me? Or the world in my midst? What does this have to do with sex, ‘glorious’ or not?
These are questions that arose from Paul Cumin’s workshop, Glorious Sex.
A pastor in Pemberton, B.C., Paul Cumin challenges us to consider whether we have fallen for a message of deism in both our theology and practice within the church today. If you are not familiar with the term, deism is the philosophy that holds God at a distance. God is the “watchmaker” of the universe, having aligned all things and set them in motion to continue forward. There is little need for intervention or adaptation as all systems are in place for the world to turn.
Deism seems to be alive and well.
This line of thought means little interaction in day-to-day life. God is distant, and we as people are simply living where we might bump into one another, but no personal community is necessary. All moral and ethical decision making is to the benefit of the individual, whichever path will create the best outcome for them.
This includes salvation. It is only an end result promised by the divine watchmaker.
But this is not the way of the incarnational Christ, who transcends the material of this world, and the spiritual realm we so crave. He is the marriage of what was described as ‘me-ism’ and deism. The complete human, and the complete God, completely whole. He is both timeless, unhindered by the effects of time; and yet present in our time. Christ is our starting point in understanding wholeness in communion, where the Spirit seeks to dwell.
So much of what ails our world is in the separation. We desire to find space with the other, but struggle with how we should then live together. We desire to know God, but settle for keeping him at a safe distance. The incarnational Christ starts in the gap, in the revelation of God to his people. As we see in Colossians 1:15–20, the starting point is truly, Christ is “all things”.
This moves beyond a mere view on sex. It is about how we view communion as Christ’s body, how we see the incarnate Christ as near and calling us to communion with him together, today.
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks Peter in Matthew 16. Today, we too must answer as we take stock of our thoughts on sexuality and growing in community.
As with Peter, our response should solicit the same response he received from Jesus: “…this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father…” The Spirit prompts us to reflect on what is being revealed to us in how we live as the church today.
—Eric Friesen is pastor of discipleship at North Kildonan MB Church, Winnipeg. He is husband to 1, father to 4, experiencing the joy of being a father-in-law for the first time. You can check out his blog here.