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John 16.20-28 – Face-to-face with Papa

You will weep while the crowds cheer.  But your grief will give way to joy. (21) Giving birth is painful, but the pain is nothing compared to the joy of having a new baby. (22) You will have pain, but when I see you again on the third day, you will have joy, and no one will be able to take it away from you.

(23) On that day, you will not ask me for things.  Instead, you will ask Papa in my name, and she will give to you.  (24) This will be a change from how things were before.  You will be a full participant in the Triune conversation.  You will ask, you will receive, and you will overflow with our joy.

(25) I’ve been using figures of speech.  But soon you will be able to hear me speak of Papa more simply. (26) That is when you will ask for what you want in my name.  Let me be perfectly clear:  This does NOT mean I will ask Papa FOR you.  You won’t need to hide behind me as we live face-to-face with Papa together, (27) for Papa loves you just like I do.  You will know her love more and more as you continue to love me and believe that she sent me.  (28) Papa sent me to be present with you in the world in this way, but this phase of the plan is almost over.  My current mode of presence will end.  When I ascend as a man to Papa’s right hand, I will be with you in a new way.  A better way.


“End-Timey” stuff in The Shack Bible

Dear ShackBible readers,

You may have noticed that The Shack Bible approaches “end-times” stuff a little differently than what some of us are used to.  For an example, look at my paraphrase of Matthew 24 and compare it to what you hear on Christian radio.  Anyway, The Shack itself doesn’t really address this topic.  But there is a coherent vision of God behind it all, and I have tried to take that way of thinking and use it to approach the various biblical texts that talk about this kind of thing.

Just in case this sort of thing is interesting to some of you (and even though I know many of you would find this to be a total snooze), I just posted on the Trinity and Humanity blog about how I read the “end-timey” parts of the Bible, and how I think it fits with the theology behind The Shack.


John 1.1-18 – Live inside the omnipotent bear hug, you will.

ImageFrom behind and above and before all things was The Force, surrounding us and binding us.  The Force was with Papa, and The Force was God together with Papa and Sarayu (2) from the very beginning. (3) Everything that exists, came into being because The Force called it forth. (4) The Force is the beginning of aliveness, the Life that is the key that unlocks all knowledge. (5)  The  Force has invaded the Dark Side, and the Dark Side has lost.

(6) Papa sent a man named John (7) to tell everybody about the Force. (8) [And for the sake of those confused people out there, John himself was not the Force. Duh].

(9) The True Force, the One who illuminates everything, was entering into the world. (10) He is the origin and destiny of the universe, but the universe didn’t notice him. (11) All belong to him, but not all welcomed him.

(12) But some did welcome and learn from him. They received his true vision of reality and his ability to function in life as Papa’s beloved child—(13) because that is exactly what you are, not by human decision but because Papa has decided it for you.

(14) So REALLY—The Force really did become a guy who hung out with us.  We have looked The Force in the eye, and nothing of him is now hidden from us, because we have him, Papa’s Boy, the One source and destiny of all life and all knowledge.

(15) He is the one John meant when he so clearly and non-confusingly said:

He goes beyond me because he was before me, even though he will come after me.

(16) Yes, Papa has already given us a lot. But now, in giving us the One, Papa has given us EVERYTHING. (17) Through Moses, Papa gave us Torah. Through Jesus, Papa has given us Life and Light.

(18) The only One who really knows Papa is her one and only Son, the One who lives forever inside her omnipotent bear hug.  This One is taking his life of knowing-and-living-forever-with-Papa, and he is giving it to us.

Ascended to the kitchen

I get a lot out of The Shack‘s emotionally satisfying vision of God, but I’m a thinker, as well as a feeler.  I’m a scientist; I’m interested in finding the structures and patterns of how the real world works.  So when I read The Shack, I’m also asking questions like: “Is this the way things really are?  How do we know?  Why do they work this way and not some other way?”

I bring it up because today (May 17, 2012) is a celebration of an historical event that changed the nature of the cosmos into the basic situation we see in The Shack (human fellowship with the Triune God).  It’s the Ascension of the resurrected Jesus. At Easter, the human race became something bigger than Death.  On Ascension day, the human race became something that hangs out at God’s kitchen table.

Remember, the whole Jesus drama had a singular goal–the inclusion of the human race (and all of Creation) at the kitchen table of Infinity.  Jesus came to be with us in all the depths of our glorious crap, including the 6-feet-under depth for which we are all destined. And with him we were raised from those depths, not just to the level of life we had before, but to the aliveness of the very heavens.  To that eternal kitchen table of banter, butter and beans.

It is in the Ascension that Jesus accomplished this.  We live in the Shack with Papa, Jesus & Sarayu, whether we see it or not.  We feast at that kitchen table, whether we believe it or not.  Jesus was happy to carry us here himself. And it really did happen.

I like to think I’m beginning to wake up and smell the beans.

(If these ideas are new to you, my friend Jonathan today has a post that goes into more depth).

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