Wisdom’s Child — The Human Being by Walter Wink

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.47.01 AMWink, Walter, The Human Being: Jesus and the, Enigma of the Son of the Man (Fortress Press, 2002).

Wink was a colleague of Elizabeth Boyden Howes. What she does not do at any length in Jesus’ answer to God, Wink does in this work — namely, provide a deep scholarly study of the “son of man” passages in scripture and other sources.

His aim is to discover what went into this designation that Yeshua* used for himself — apparently the only title Jesus claimed for himself. Moreover, Yeshua’s* self-understanding and living out of that image begins to give us parameters for understanding what it means to be truly human. The amazing thing about this title is that it not only applies to Yeshua*, it can also apply to you and me. While this is a serious study, it is an enjoyable read.

Following are a few quotations from the book:

Something was about to happen to humanity as a species. A new mutation was seeking to emerge. The womb of the world was pregnant with God waiting to be born, in a human, as a human, as human. (p. 58)

It is indeed awesome how Christology has been used to avoid the clear intent of Jesus. So the astonishing freedom of the Human Being was sabotaged in the interest of institutional harmony and rule by law. (page 74)

The Human Being* seems to function as the mediator of God’s intent for our becoming whole. (p. 80)

The son of the man was not just Jesus, but any and all who were in touch with Jesus’ ‘Abba’ (‘Daddy’ in Aramaic). Because it is still evolving, incomplete, imperfect, unknown, and virtual, the Human Being straddles consciousness and unconsciousness. It is a partial revelation, partially hidden, partially disclosed, and still emerging. Because it is not a symbol of perfection, Sophie’s [Wisdom’s] Child embraces all previously excluded from the Beloved Community.

The Human Being, like the Christ, is an archetypal realty, But as an archetype of humanness, the Human Being makes people whole, not perfect. It exercises power, not through compulsion, but by nonviolence. It defines as human, not prowess in battle or beauty of body or achievement of high office, but that which is left when the desire for these has been crucified. It offers us the secret of our individuality.

At stake are the entrenched values of the Domination System and its gospel corrective. The goal is not to transcend or surpass the human, but simply to be the humans we were created to be.

Jesus could not tell others he was the Messiah. For if he told them, they would not have to discover the Messiah within themselves. And if they did not discover the Messiah within themselves, they would not learn that they had such powers of discovery within themselves. And if Jesus did not enable them to discover such powers within themselves, he was not the Messiah.

It can be terrible to fall into the hands of the living God. But that seems to be the price  for authentic life. (p. 147)

The ascension was the entry Jesus into the archetypal realm. (p. 152)

The ascension was a fact on the imaginal plane, not just an assertion of faith. It irreversibly altered the nature of the disciples’ consciousness. They would never again be able to think of God apart from Jesus. (p. 153)

Personally, I have found the church’s elevating Yeshua to being the “god” of salvation to be distasteful and not helpful. It has robbed every one of us the capacity to move toward the wholeness that human life intends — instead, making us beggars for our own salvation at the foot of the throne of God. For me, the Christological richness resides in designating Yeshua as the preeminent Human Being who energizes, catalyzes the messianic impulse within each of us. He was the first fruit of a rich harvest of human wholeness. What Yeshua incarnated he made available to all humanity – namely, the reality of a God-filled life of compassion, peace, and justice. As Wink concludes:

The gist of this book is, simply, that Jesus was the son of the man is enough. What this lean and pared-back Christianity has to give to the world is not its creeds, dogmas, doctrines, liturgies, and devotions, though some of these traditions still hold great validity for many. It offers, simply — Jesus. And the Jesus it has to give is not the Jesus of the two natures, or the second person of the Trinity, or the one who is of one being (homoousious) with the Father, though people within certain belief traditions may value all these concepts. If the Human Being archetype is carry out the transformative task, we will need to develop new theologies, liturgies, prayer forms, and devotional practices that can help people tap that luminosity.  But I want to worship the God Jesus worshiped, not Jesus as God. (p. 259)

Amen and Amen!

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