Thursday, August 25, 2011

A spacious environment

This is a repeat from a while back. But I think it is actually quite timely given the political and religious climate of today. And so I offer it again.

It has grieved me for some time now that the fundamentalist expression of Christianity has held sway in the public imagination and has conditioned many people in our society to believe that Christianity is all about condemning others and controlling its own. And so I really loved this quotation when I stumbled upon it - particularly the last sentence:

There are a number of Hebrew words about salvation which also mean "to bring into a spacious environment", "to be at one's ease", "to be free to develop". "Salvation" can be seen then as the new life in Christ, in which we are to be "free to develop" into Christ-like people. For this maturing to take place, there needs to be a breaking down of barriers, a breaking up of the soil of our personalities, and a healing of inner wounds and hurts. The soil is softened, the clay becomes malleable through the experience of the tender love of God and the accepting, non-judgmental love of Christians. We cannot be beaten into shape.

--Michael Harper


  1. What wonderful images for salvation. How have I managed to get through 32 years of ordination and well over 60 years of experience in Christianity and never heard a religious/spiritual definition of salvation that didn't have at the center of it something about the necessity to "believe" some creedal type statement or other? I long ago quit even making "salvation" a priority in my spiritual/faith life because of that. These images are, for me, like highways into a new world about which I can preach and teach. Thank you Ellie for posting this again. Maybe you should post it once a year?

  2. Oh, I'm so glad you like this! Yes, posting once a year would not be a bad idea for this one.

  3. Yes I agree, wonderful imagery. It is better that we are concerned with EXPANDING the Kingdom, not making at small and as insular as possible. Such thinking and preaching can be incredible damaging. I think some of those who preach this stuff are themselves hurt and in pain and see trying to control others as a way of dealing with their own wounds


  4. May I add my voice to the above mentioned sentiments...what a truly and wonderfully healing message along with your posted "vision" of a new idea of salvation. Thank you for posting's my first time!

    annie c

  5. Oh my, oh my, oh my. As someone who has all kinds of very negative knee jerk reactions to "salvation" this is like a breath of fresh air. I think I shall print this to re-read and ponder upon on a regular basis.
    Thank you, Ellie.
    Carolyn L.

  6. See? More than enough reason to repost annually. ; )

  7. Caro, Annie, Carolyn: I'm glad you each found this quotation helpful and meaningful.

    Tom: Right you are!


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