Journeying with Pastor Manny
Salvation comes in a just, respectful, empathetic, and hospitable relationship with the Other. It is grounded in the God of interrelationship who wills the flourishing of the entire creation. Because salvation means the healing and well-being of the whole, it inevitably includes the redemption of the most vulnerable and powerless of God’s creation. In other words, salvation can never happen apart from the well-being of the Other. Who are the others? They are the people we don’t like, take for granted, ridicule, discriminate, exclude, abuse, subjugate, demonize, hate, hurt, or are those who are simply different from us. The Other can be a Syrian refugee, a Muslim woman, an undocumented immigrant, a Black male ex-convict, a homeless old White man, a transgender youth, a Palestinian girl, a Native at Standing Rock, or a young boy with a mental disability. These and all other people on the margins are the ones whom God reveals Godself most profoundly in the depths of human evil, despair and suffering.
In the incarnation of Christ, God becomes the weak Other. The Jesus of the Gospels is the transgressive Other. He does not fit the socio-political and religious construct of the dominating system in his time. He touches and heals the sick, lepers, disabled, and demon-possessed. He liberates and transforms sinners, prostitutes, tax-collectors, the poor, and the oppressed. He was brutally executed by the dominating system as a tragic consequence of proclaiming and practicing an alternative community of love and compassion with others. In his resurrection, Jesus comes out as the all-embracing and allencompassing cosmic Other who ultimately brings grace, hope, justice, mercy, and love in the planet. His life-giving presence as the Spirit of God offers and gives salvation to all. Seeing the Other from the perspective of panentheism (God is in all) and of our “shared creatureliness,” helps us to realize that our life and salvation are inseparable from the Other and the whole creation.