Thursday, December 22, 2011
Theology 101: Incarnation
Olson shows that after the rise of modern humans in the Great Rift Valley in Africa circa 65,000 years ago, humanity followed a couple of paths: one up into the plains of the Middle East and another by water routes to Southeast Asia and ultimately to Australia. It is fascinating to know that these migrations can be charted in the DNA of wandering groups.
From the time of my youth I have dabbled in genealogy. I was interested in knowing how my family had arrived in the Midwest and who fought on what side of the Civil War. I found that we were basically farming people who followed where good land could be found. My appreciation for cultural movements began to expand when I found that it was the Industrial Revolution that moved parts of my family from Connecticut to Missouri or from Virginia into the Missouri Valley or from enclosed England and Scotland to America.
Humanity has been far more mobile than most of us are aware. The "Journey" is at the heart of what it means to be human, it seems. However, if we stand in the history of a people who repeated to themselves "A wandering Aramean was my father..." before they offered sacrifice to their God, we know ourselves to be a species that is constantly moving. Jesus would have repeated those words mindful of his forebears who had been herders and wanders in the vast wilderness of the Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent for millennia. He would have known himself to be of the lineage of kings yet still a "country bumpkin" from Galilee. He wandered from town to town reminding people that life as they knew it needed to change to know God's pleasure, to know the goodness of God and to know their own goodness before God.