Rich Paxson

How is Isaiah creating a new possibility for human community and for understanding what God is doing among us?

I’ve been vacationing these past few weeks, which accounts for my absence at Forgiving Victim forum. The summer break both helps and hinders a return to studying Israel’s evolving understanding of monotheism.

I’m hindered because the break makes it tough to return to thinking about the times and meanings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. However, I’m helped because the effort required to reach that mindset makes the subject fresh again. In some ways I feel, ‘Oh, so that’s what this was all about!’

Like the silent movies of a century ago, new images for God’s presence flicker onto the screen of my life, but in a place constructed by decades of cultural conditioning. I find I’m continually weighed down by a background of personal stereotypes telling me what ‘religion really is about.’ It’s one thing to understand James’s arguments for Israel’s progressive understanding of “God Who is not one of the gods;” but on a feeling level, it’s quite a another matter to really integrate similar progressive enlightenment into personal daily action and outlook.

I seek the nexus between Forgiving Victim insights about “what God is doing among us,” and expanding awareness of a growing, loving presence underpinning and motivating personal thoughts and actions. The answer lies, I suspect, in following the trails blazed primarily by Isaiah, but also by Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Initial steps may be heavy and clumsy, and yet as I continue to walk these trails, my steps become lighter and quicker. Dawning awareness of “new possibility for human community and for understanding what God is doing among us” comes in the alternation between walking and then reflecting on the direction the path is taking me.