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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The Tomorrow People: longing for somewhen else

The idea that Christians are "just passin' through" this world and that we do not belong here seems to be deeply ingrained in Christian spirituality. We hope that when we die we will go to our true home - heaven. One thing is clear - is not our real home. We are like exiles living in a foreign land.

I think that this is mistaken. This is God's good creation and its destiny is not death but new life. Humans were made to inhabit this earth and the resurrection of the dead will be accompanied by the liberation of all creation. So Christians do belong here on earth but we don't belong here yet.

We who have received the eschatological Spirit of God belong to the future not the present. We are exiles in time not in space. We are the tomorrow people. We are temporally displaced refugees thrown into a past where we do not (or, at least, should not) quite fit in.

We await the fullness of a new age not a new stage. So let's not long to be somewhere else but, as they say in Wiltshire, somewhen else.

8 comments:

Rafael said...

Very good point. I wonder (and this may not be a very important thing to wonder): Are we the "what" that is out of place, or is it the present? When you say, we don't belong here yet, I think the problem is with here rather than with we (pardon the grammatical awkwardness). This helps me, at least, frame the purpose of the church and my place in it.

simon said...

Richard Mouw in his wonderful little book 'When the Kings Come Marching in' speaks about this in terms of the filling of the earth. We are creative people filling the earth but our 'fillings' are tainted with our rebellion. God is not only redeeming us and th planet we live on but also the stuff that we have been filling it with so that when the city of God comes and the God's king is enthroned at the centre of it, all the stuff that we have filled the world with will be brought in cleansed and purified and fit for the service of our God. it's an exciting hope.

Chris! said...

Woot woot! I just wrote a paper on Neo-Gnosticism in the Church! Love this!

Anonymous said...

This chimes in with my disquiet with the sermon I heard on Sunday about the christian telos being heaven. Rather misses the point!

Gary Manders

Jim Deardorff said...

This is God's good creation and its destiny is not death but new life. Humans were made to inhabit this earth and the resurrection of the dead will be accompanied by the liberation of all creation.

Does "all creation" include those ET souls inhabiting beings on other planets in our galaxy and in a hundred billion other galaxies?

Robin Parry said...

Rafael

What an interesting thought. I like it.

Robin

Robin Parry said...

Simon

I found Darrell Cosden's book "The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work" to be very good on that issue as well.

Robin

Robin Parry said...

Jim

If there are any ET souls then it would include them.

Robin