Dr. Gordon E. Carkner has published a 12-part series on Incarnational Sprituality. With his permission, we have published the first article here, along with links to Part 2-12.
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon Part 1
Figuratively speaking, we ascending a great mountain. We are dissatisfied with a mediocre life (mere getting and spending, paying taxes) and long for something more: more adventure, more hope, more truth, beauty, goodness, more reason for living. Our trajectory involves a transcendent philosophical turn towards incarnational spiritual wholeness. We want to see better, think better, live better. This series builds on our previous discussion of agape love in the Qualities of the Will series. This present quest (similar to The Medieval Quest for the Holy Grail) we believe offers an interpretive key to recover a thick, resilient identity, and wins through to a whole new social imaginary: ability to see, interpret and experience reality with fresh eyes.
As we ascend, we can perhaps escape the trap of damaging and restrictive ideologies and cultural Gnosticism. This kind of incarnational humanism has a scholarly reach all the way back to Saint Augustine, it is sourced in the biblical religions, and it is very much alive today. The integrative hermeneutic at hand concurrently provides both a challenge that pushes us to our limits, and an inspiration to pull us forward as towards a magnet. We are feeling very alive, our imagination is on fire.
The journey begins with a conversation, an I-Thou dialogue. We are addressed by the transcendent. There is a high degree of resonance with the Creator’s dialogue with his creation, despite the contemporary cacophony of conflicting voices. We are addressed, invited to open our hearts and minds to fresh wisdom and self-understanding, to new levels of attentiveness to our divine interlocutor. Such communication is writ large in the incarnation. In fact, the incarnation of Jesus the Christ is a great gift to humans, God’s grand masterpiece, the apogee of his revelational speech acts. It draws us upwards into a new dimension of life, a new caliber of thinking and living, opens us up to reality in fresh ways.
The increased awareness is similar to the way that the Hubble space telescope expands human sight out into 13.8 billion light years of universe with its billions of galaxies and stars. Perseverance and patience are in order if we wish to discover what we came for–the fulfilment of our deepest spiritual longings. We dare not rest until we have captured a full perspective on our new home, one where our hearts can rest with a thrilling sense of peace and ongoing adventure. Thank you for travelling with us. We believe that your endurance will be rewarded. Like in the Camino de Santiago reflective pilgrimage, we must name our fears and hesitations, and then set them aside in the name of powerful discovery and tangible personal growth. It may involve suffering and struggle to get to truth, but we will not remain the same at the end.
In Christ, we have both immanence and transcendence, physical and spiritual, earth and heaven. Brilliant UK hermeneutics scholar Anthony Thiselton says that the mystery of the incarnation is too profound for human discovery by reason alone, it requires divine revelation. It is beyond our limited imagination to capture. But open-minded reasoning engages, and is engaged by, such an epiphany. The right posture and intellectual virtues can help us fathom the profound implications. It can change our perception like a paradigm shift in science from an earth-centred to sun-centred solar system.
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 2
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 3
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 4
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 5
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 6
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 7
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 8
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 9
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 10
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 11
Incarnational Spirituality: A New Horizon: Part 12
Dr. Gordon E. Carkner, Meta-Educator with UBC Postgraduate Students, YouTube Webinar Leader, Author, Blogger.