Jesus Inside

In How can I be a good husband? I wrote:

Jesus is inside her and when she speaks to me, Jesus speaks to me. Loving and supporting my wife is loving and supporting Jesus.

What do I mean by that?

First of all I use it as a metaphor to promote a way of treating people — how to listen or attend; how to value them, even in their weakness.

But I do think it is more than a metaphor, that it is true in some way.

Here are two ways:

  • I think of the “body of Christ” as humanity as a whole. So every person — Christian or not — is part of the body of Christ.
  • One way I think of Jesus is as the perfect human. Jesus is the ideal in whose image we are all created, and which we strive (knowingly or not, Christian or not, consistently and effectively or not) to realise.

In both senses every person has Jesus inside them in some way.

The force of the argument is similar (imho) to Romans 2:15 when Paul writes of the Gentiles that, “the work of the law is written on their hearts”.

I would say the Holy Spirit inspires everyone too (to a greater or lesser extent, etc.). This is manifested in the “striving” I mention in the second point above. Sometimes I think of the Holy Spirit as a kind of force, like a force of gravity, that wants to pull or turn us toward the light.

Obviously God acts on everyone too.

Part of “being a Christian” (imho) is being conscious of this reality — while secular thinkers will be unconscious of it, or describe it in other ways, or deny it — and to try and live in accordance with it.

Breath

More on the Holy Spirit.

In my Big Book about the Bible, it says the Holy Spirit is described mostly as a kind of breath or wind. It also said that Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

The book doesn’t say so explicitly but the descriptions are undeniably sensual, even sexual (obviously in the case of Mary).

This is striking for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t think of Christianity as a sensual religion at all. Compared with almost any other religion I can think of it seems very un-sensual indeed. Just think of the food (Jewish food, Muslim food, Hindu food, Buddhist food, … Christian food?). Attempts by Christian bloggers (e.g., Intentional Today) to celebrate sex “within marriage” are not convincing.
  • I like sensuality (obvious to long term readers of my sex-mad blog). I think sensuality is good. Part of the point of this new perfect71ps persona is to unify spiritual and sensual feeling. I love exercise like Yoga and Pilates.
  • Submitting myself in prayer, or even doing more mundane things like writing here or reading religious writing, seems to involve more than just my mind or my emotions. It seems to involve me completely. My body feels it too, almost a faint arousal. I don’t know if that’s an inappropriate intervention from some other part of my psyche. But it feels like it’s part *of* what’s happening rather than taking away from what’s happening.

[update 2015/06/23: I crossed out that sentence about Intentional Today as it just comes over as sniffy and unkind.]

I like the idea of breath being Holy Spirit. Just like the feeling of falling into it, I like the feeling of breathing it in. But what is breathing out?

Passion

I wrote about the Holy Spirit yesterday, and last night in bed praying I think I finally understood something.

For Spinoza passion is very bad. In Spinoza’s system it means passivity, being controlled by outside forces, forces that you don’t control and probably are not even aware of.

So far I’ve been more or less of the same opinion — and consequently very suspicious when I hear Christians talk about passion and what a good thing it is.

Surely to try and follow Jesus, to try and be like him, you need to be wide awake and conscious of how you act.

But the passion that these Christians are talking about isn’t an ordinary passion, like a passion for collecting stamps or eating or wearing frilly knickers under your business suit.

This passion is modelled on Christ’s Passion, when Jesus gave himself up to the powers pulling him to the cross. The Christian wish for passion is a wish to abandon oneself fully to the Holy Spirit, to be swept away entirely.

The image that brought all this to me was the apple falling from the tree, completely abandoned to the force of gravity pulling it to earth.

It’s an image that helped me get to sleep too: abandon myself, fall like an apple into sleep, into God’s care.

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