2.23.2006

Theological reflections with Diane Cluck

I've been tossing this around in my head for a few days now and I'm not sure what to make of it. I was walking to work the other day, listening to Diane Cluck's 'Countless Times'. There was something about the calm and isolation of the morning walk that caused me to notice the lyrics of one particular song--A Phoenix & Doves. I don't quite recall the exact line but it went somthing like, "Someone said to die daily implies being born daily."

These notions of re-birth and dying to self, sins, etc. are powerful themes for me. I'm not sure what they mean but I am certain that they are full of meaning. Several biblical images come to mind with both ideas, but I will not mention any texts here, mainly because I can't bring any to mind at the moment (if I weren't just 'shooting from the hip' I would take the time to allow my reflections to lead me into the texts of Scripture). I do, however, know that death and re-birth are images embedded in my theology.

Isn't that the way it goes most times? We (those of use brought up in the Bible-believin' traditions) get caught up in trying to tie a verse to every theological reflection that crosses our mind, when sometimes it may be best to just let the reflection rest for a while, ruminate, mature, work in and on us. I do not want to imply that therefore the bible is unnecessary. To the contrary. Many times I think that our quiet reflections can illuminate the texts for us. I have, for as long as I can remember, had the images of death and re-birth in my theological template. I just never thought to put them together as I did on my morning walk. I think now, when I return to Scripture I will read it with the images connected in a way they have never been connected for me before.

In general, it seems to me, that the traditions of which I have been a part emphasize the need for being 'born again.' But, this idea ceases to have meaning once that specific moment of re-birth occurs. That's one of the reasons I don't like to be identified as 'born again.' That and the fact that the term in today's parlance identifies one with a particular style of Christian with whom I do not always care to be identified. Dying, on the other hand, is something we re-born believers must do every day. We have to die to sin on a regular basis. Being born on a regular basis is rarely mentioned. There is something illogical, even un-theological, about all of this. Shouldn't I experience re-birth on a daily basis if I am expected to die on a daily basis?

In addition to re-connecting these images, I also think it is important to get them in the proper order. The daily re-birth comes after the daily death. Otherwise we would lead a very bleak life that begins with re-birth and ends in death. Just the opposite is the case. Just the opposite is in fact the gospel, is it not? Death leads to new life NOT new life leads to death! This idea is reflected in how Judaism views days. They begin at sundown, the death of the day. They end with the re-birth of the day.

I haven't processed all of this fully. I may never. Do any of you have thoughts on the matter?

1 comment:

B-W said...

I found a bumper sticker recently that read "Born OK the first time around."

While I tend to be irritated by such stickers that are obviously intended simply to irriate "a certain type" of Christian, it seems relevant to these musings....