Sunday, February 17, 2008

Holy Skin and Bone Kickoff

Dirt. The biblical story of our origins is one of dust and ashes—earth, mud and breath. We are made from the dust of the ground, says the writer of Genesis.

Then the Lord God formed Adam from the dust of the ground... (Gen. 2.7)

Adam, Adamah, the Hebrew word for ground. We human beings are dirt-people, of a piece with shrub and shrew, mountain and mollusk, armadillo and ant. Earth-people is what we are; made of flesh and bone, sinew and socket. We develop from an astonishingly small, hollow sphere through an equally astonishing process of cell-division and growth. From zygote to morula, from blastocyst to the development of body form, all the way through to the appearance of a fetus—the miraculous process of our biological development takes place amid an earthy mix of urine and blood.

While some may regard this carnal tale with horror and disgust, let me remind you that the urine and blood, this earth and dirt, is God-breathed, God-loved, God-blessed, holy stuff. Indeed the biologically incarnated life of Jesus unfolded just like ours. His geneology is equally soiled, including as it does adulterers (King David) prostitutes (Rahab) and other assorted outcasts and sinners. Like all collisions, the beautiful collision of heaven and earth is messy business. It's holy business. Holy and messy. Wholly messy.

This is a blog whose author is made of mud, whose author lives in the mud and whose author hopes and dreams in the mud and who expects those hopes and dreams ultimately to be realized on the surface of a little round planet made of mud. This is a blog, therefore, that is ultimately about the kingdom of God. Don't be surprised. The kingdom of God is ultimately all about the dirt and mud, once beautiful, now twisted, but on its way to glory. That kingdom is a future that has collided and intersected with this little round planet, a future that has come and is coming still. It's a future some of us long for, work for and eagerly and actively anticipate. Since this blog is about that kingdom, this blog will be about politics, sex, music, literature, science, community and all those earthly realities that delight us, frustrate us, confuse us, fascinate us and ultimately make us hunger and thirst for the consummation of all things.

I'll plan just to say what's on my mind when the mood strikes. And maybe, if you're interested, you will respond and there will be born a conversation that will make us all better human beings or more informed human beings or more enriched human beings than we would otherwise have been.

So here's to skin and bone set apart for the most exciting task on earth--heralding a kingdom that is at once "not of this world" but every bit "of the earth."


Bryan K. said...

You have my attention with your introduction. I look forward to future posts.

Angie said...

You had me at "dirt!" You have a way with words my friend. Throughout our days I believe we experience a variety of Kingdom-collisions and yet we seem to miss the meaning...or maybe we miss the mud so to speak. Living in the mud does not necessarily equate to being stuck...sometimes it takes the down and dirty things of life to remind us of the beauty and grace of God. After a heated argument this weekend, our family was able to move beyond the issue and come to a place of appreciation. Our teenage son shared his thoughts, "I'm so glad you're still willing to hug me at the end of a bad fight." It was a beautiful collision!
God Bless!!

Jason Clark said...

> postmodern analytic ecclesiological philosopher

Sounds like a compliment to me :-)

Lori said...

Minutes after I read your post, I read this in Signs of Emergence: " African American reporter from the New York Times is questioning the theologian Matthew Fox on the relevance of his 'creation spirituality' to her thoroughly inner-city roots. He asks here to look out of the window and describe what she sees: bricks. He continues to question: what are bricks? Just clay hoisted hundreds of feet by humans, supported by frameworks of steel mined from the earth, with cars below running on rubber tires, burning fuel distilled from the residue of dead plants from millions of years ago. He goes on, trying to get her to see the essential naturalness in the city, and concludes: 'A city--as awesome a place as it is--is also earth, earth recyled by humans who themselves are earth standing on two legs with moveable thumbs and immense imaginations.'"

Mud is everywhere; thanks for reminding us to look for it, to acknowledge it, and to find the promise in it, as well.

Kevin Corcoran said...



Dan Brennan said...

I am thrilled that you have entered into blogdom. I am looking forward to seeing you this Spring!

Greg said...

I recently read your Re-thinking Human Nature, and as I attempt to disentanlge the webs of reading, I recall it had something to do with being dirt-people. Excellent mixture of urine and blood.

Seems as if we'll have another visit from the well known JKAS in a couple of weeks time. Looking forward to hooking up with him again.

Your comment on, "The kingdom of God is ultimately all about the dirt and mud, once beautiful, now twisted, but on its way to glory." raises a question for me. What does "once beautiful" mean?

Kevin Corcoran said...

Hi Greg!

Thanks for commenting. Well, there was no urine and blood in the book, but it may have made you think of both for reasons we needn't go into here. (-:

Thanks for asking about the "once beautiful". One might infer from that that I think it now ugly or otherwise not so beautiful. Not so. The earth is still chock full of beauty. But it is now too twisted and mixed, sad to say, with ugliness. I don't want to deny either the beauty or the ugliness. I'd like, however, to contribute more beauty and less ugliness.

I'd also say that for some it's easier to see the ugliness than it is the beauty. But for those with eyes to see there is an awful lot of beauty all around. But we need training to spot it. We need to cultivate, I think, ways of seeing the world that are more informed by the new reality brought about by Christ than by the media and a contemporary culture of death and ugliness.

Cheers, my friend!

rpg said...

Your mate Dr Matheson mentioned this place, so I popped over.

You may have won yourself a(nother) new reader.

mike rucker said...

postmodern analytic ecclesiological philosopher

is it a coincidence that popeye and God have the same tag line?


not the "pope", but the "paep".

i like it.

mike rucker
fairburn, georgia, usa