Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand
Seedbed Publishing, 2013
Exploring the Christian Imagination
It is worth repeating that Harrity is not doing theology, here, but writing to a broad audience who may not always be comfortable with writing. He thus speaks sometimes provocatively, sometimes comfortingly, and oftentimes metaphorically. I can imagine an intelligent reader raising three main objections: that the language of co-creation imputes too much authority to humans; that the language of revision suggests God changes His mind; and that all the self-reflection is too egotistical and self-indulgent. These are only apparent problems. "Co-creation" is arguably an inapt choice, as Harrity uses it to mean what Tolkien called "sub-creation" as opposed to, say, creation ex nihilo. Similarly, Harrity nowhere suggests God changes His mind or that His revision is of the same kind as ours. "Revision" is simply a metaphor from the discourse of writing, just as "redemption" is from economic discourse; one would no more claim God changes His mind in revision than that He calculated Christ's worth in denarii. As for egotism, Harrity rarely lets one forget that the purpose of self-reflection is the purification of the heart and imagination so that we are freer to do the kingdom work of co-creation—and Harrity understands Kingdom work as a work not just in our own lives but in our social groups and public and private institutions.
Harrity recently learned that many couples have started working through Making Manifest together. How wonderful to use this book as a tool to both deepen their intimacy and to imagine their role as a couple in shaping God's Kingdom on earth. If intellectual Christianity does not expand itself for the sake of fellowship, the other members of the body will find the full-image nourishment they need elsewhere. With a solid grounding in the doctrines of the goodness of God and Creation, we need not worry about Harrity "going too far" here. We would do better to follow where God leads us into a fuller life as Kingdom people.
Brad Fruhauff teaches English at Trinity International University and is Editor-in-Chief of Relief: A Christian Literary Expression.
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