This post is part of the
Week of Mutuality synchroblog
My vision of God used to be something like:
- God, the elderly white guy on the throne.
- Jesus, his trusty sidekick or assistant or secretary or something.
The point is, it was always quite clear which one was “in charge.” This was always emphasized to me as being very important—knowing who was in charge and who wasn’t. Because ultimately, humans are made in the image of God, and “being-in-charge” is super-important to God (so much so that those who don’t like it get eternally barbecued), so when I dominate other people, I am being godly. Right?
This vision of God informed my early attempts at being married, but I quickly found that didn’t work. I quickly found that what DID work was collaboration, shared responsibility, and each of us submitting to each other in different situations at different times—what my friend Rachel Held Evans is calling “MUTUALITY.”
Something I love about THE SHACK is the way Papa, Jesus & Sarayu submit to one another. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that this is just good theology, it is a vision that rings true to real life for me. I have never seen domination systems work without chewing people up—crucifying them, if you will.
What I have seen work is relationships where authority is fluid, moving from person to person under the dictates of love and wisdom and shared purpose, not according to religiously inspired pecking orders or who can pee standing up.
P.S. – Here is the ShackBible interpretive reading of a Bible text relevant to this issue:
(21) Jesus lays down his life for you and for everyone around you. To share in his glorious life is to share in his self-emptying, to put it on every day like a garment. So lay down your lives for one another; SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER. Here are some examples of what I mean:
(22) Wives, look at how Jesus lays down his life for your husband. Join him in doing that. (23) As Jesus takes care of the church, as the head takes care of the body, your husband’s job is to take care of you. (24) Receive your husband’s care for you, as the church receives care from Jesus.
(25) Husbands, look at how Jesus lays down his life for your wife. Join him in doing that. Love her like Jesus loves the church. Jesus gave himself up for her, (26) telling her the truth about herself so as to make her whole, (27) beautiful, flawless, glorious. (28) Husbands, love your wives like that. Care for her like you care for your own body. (29) Nourish and tenderly care for her, just like Jesus does for the church, (30) because we are his body.