i have just started reading a book called ‘Exiles – Living Missionally in a Post Christian Culture’ by Michael Frost and wow i am really digging it – read it!

christians like to throw around the phrase ‘Jesus was fully man and fully God’ and that has never made sense to me – i understand that a carrot can be fully a vegetable and fully a food because both things are the same and one is actually a subcategory of the other (um if you’re not sure which one is which then this blog probly isn’t for you – go find something with pictures you can ‘ooh aah’ at) – but being fully God contradicts being fully man and vice versa. And so it has never sat well with me and it is also something that can’t – i don’t think – be backed up by scripture – it’s just one of those things that someone heard once from someone else and so it’s true and so we hold to its being true but we don’t really know why and we don’t really question

[and just to fully p.s. myself i don’t think it really matters either way – feels like one of those christian arguments people might fight duels to the death over like predestination and how the end times are going to play out which don’t really have any effect on how we live now so it doesn’t really matter but is an interesting thort to get your head round all the same]

anyways i really like how this book describes the whole concept. picture a picture (ooh, come back picture bloggists, this is for you after all) of a circle with Jesus in it and fully human and fully divine in it – that seems to be how the majority of people view this thing. then, the picture that i ascribe more to [which, yes, really doesn’t matter] is a picture of two circles – one with Jesus as human, one with Jesus as Divine – which overlap each other in the middle – so some bits of Jesus that were simply Jesus as Divine and some bits of Jesus that were Jesus as human and then this middle section which overlaps where Jesus is shown to be a bit of both

Michael Frost talks about how the place of incarnation (divine becoming human, so the overlap) is a dangerous place:

‘Probably the most dangerous aspect of the Christ story is the very nature of the incarnation itself. Jesus models that it is possible to be both God and human at the same time. This is for us, certainly, the most terrifying thought. Throughout history the church has retreated into deifying Jesus so thoroughly that the human Christ can’t be seen [actually maybe this is where this line of thinking actually does make a difference – brett]. If indeed Jesus is too human (or barely human at all) He calls from me a worrying response. He challenges my humanness and demands more from me than I can imagine offering. An overly deified Christ reduces my perceived response. To this otherworldly, superspiritual Jesus I simply have to offer my devotion, my worship, my adoration. By the grubby, human, peasant Jesus I am challenged that maybe it is possible to be human and Godlike after all. Nowhere in Scripture is this more disturbingly presented than in Jesus’ return to His hometown after the beginning of His messianic ministry. There, Jesus began teaching in the synagogue and received what to me has always seemed a deeply shocking response. The locals, His old boyhood friends and neighbours, are offended and say,

“Where did this man get the wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” [Matthew 13.54b-56]

How distressing to us that Jesus could be the Messiah, the human incarnation of God, second person of the Trinity for thirty years and no one at home noticed! No one in Nazareth smiles knowingly and says, “I always suspected there was something strange about that kid.” Instead they wonder where he got all this messianic stuff. Somehow Jesus could be fully God and blend into Galilean society – hardly the most pious or sophisticated culture – without creating a ripple. This perspective on the incarnation bothers us because it dangerously invites us to follow Christ in all his ordinariness as well as His righteousness. The incarnation demands that we neither retreat into a holier-than-thou Christian ghetto nor give ourselves over to the values of secular culture. And let’s be honest: this is the most dangerous place of all. It is easier to imagine and embrace a closed fundamentalism that retreats into a Christ-against-culture mindset. We can picture Jesus there, all holy and pure, unsullied by the world around Him. We can also understand the capitulation to our host culture that some christians make. It would be easy to join those christians who abandon themselves to materialism, greed, and selfishness.

When responding as exiles in a post-Christian world, we are used to seeing some respond with despair and grief (the fundamentalists) and others with assimilation to the dominant values. What is much more disturbing to us is the example of a God who does neither, but instead answers with a fresh, imaginative, theological response. Jesus neither slides into compromise and sinfulness, nor fulfils our expectations of the holier-than-thou guru. The fact that both Matthew and Mark include this episode in their biographies of Jesus is remarkable. The story almost completely undermines claims about the divinity of Jesus. It is included because it is a dangerous memory for followers of Christ. We are called, like Christ, to be godly, but we are expected to live it out fully in the midst of others. There is no more dangerous path than the one trodden by Jesus.’

wow. wow. wow.

to sum up my feelings on the circle overlap – for me the fact that Jesus had to eat and drink and go to the toilet makes Him human and not God (God doesn’t have to do that) and the fact that He performed miracles and was resurrected makes Him God and not human (humans can’t do that) but the fact that He did the miraculous stuff while doing the every day stuff while limited to a human body makes Him both God and human with bits of overlap. semantics perhaps but perhaps also not – he showed that it is possible to live that life which is the thing that needs to hit me squarely . between the eyes, and does.