Friday, June 11, 2010

James McClendon on "the fundamental love story of Christian faith"

"The Christian story in its primal form tells of a God who (unlike gods of human fabrication) is the very Ground of Adventure, the Weaver of society's Web, the Holy Source of nature in its concreteness -- the one and only God, who, when time began, began to be God for a world that in its orderly constitution finally came by his will and choice to include also -- ourselves. We human beings, having our natural frame and basis, with our own (it seemed our own) penchant for community, and (it seemed) our own hankerings after adventure, found ourselves before long in trouble. Our very adventurousness led us astray; our drive to cohesion fostered monstrous imperial alternatives to the adventure and the sociality of the Way God had intended; our continuity with nature became an excuse to despise ourselves and whatever was the cause of us. We sin. In his loving concern, God set among us, by every means infinite wisdom could propose, the foundations of a new human society; in his patience he sent messengers to recall the people of his Way to their way; in the first bright glimmers of opportunity he sent -- himself, incognito, sans splendor and fanfare, the Maker amid the things made, the fundamental Web as if a single fiber, the Ground of Adventure risking everything in his adventure. His purpose -- sheer love; his means -- pure faith; his promise -- unquenchable hope. In that love he lived a life of love; by that faith he died a faithful death; from that death he rose to fructify hope for the people of his Way, newly gathered, newly equipped. The rest of the story is still his -- yet it can also be ours, yours.

"That is the fundamental love story of Christian faith, or rather a brief allusion to that story whose telling in full must exhaust all skill and consume all words (see John 21:25). To outsiders the story is sure to count as a myth among myths, but to us it is no myth, but our only way of telling the whole truth."

--James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Ethics: Systematic Theology: Volume 1 (2d ed.; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 152-53


  1. "unlike the gods of human fabrication" -- This statement is the primary conceit that mis-informs all self-righteous Christians. And of course Islamic true believers claim the same for their religion.

    The entire Christian tradition is a fabrication ABOUT Jesus, none of which was created by either "God" or Jesus

    Me-thinks you should read the essays available via this reference.

  2. Methinks James McClendon is stellar-an often overlooked voice. I am reading this same volume right now.