On Saturday My Joy and I were invited to a picnic in Grandpa’s Woods for former members of the Kern Road Mennonite Church. After the picnic I sat with several senior men who reminisced about old cars. I asked one of them when he began to learn so much about cars. He replied that he grew up in his father’s garage.
My followup question was how did he become a minister. He told me of the influence of a stint overseas, the advice of J. C. Wenger, assignment with a large church that was fussing (about to split), ordination, and seven years of study in the Goshen College Bible department. He is writing his life story for his grandchildren. Perhaps it should be published for all to read.
I’m intrigued by life stories. On my kindle, I have read “Longing for Home” by Frederick Buechner, “Lost in America, A Journey with My Father,” by Sherwin B. Nuland, “How I became an Atheist who Believes in God” by Francis Shaeffer, “Faith Unraveled, How a Girl who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions,” by Rachel Held Evans, and now I am reading, “Just Jesus, My Struggle to Become Human,” by Walter Wink.
I first learned of Walter Wink as a scholar who wrote books about “the powers” that were studied in seminaries. Sojourners Magazine introduced Wink to me as a political and social activist who promoted nonviolence as a strategy for peaceful change.
“Just Jesus” is the last of Wink’s books written while he was fading away during the onset of Lewy Body Dementia. When memory of a word or event eluded him he walked till the thought came back to him and then he would rush to his study to record it. Transformation of himself and society was the goal of Wink’s life.
What he meant by struggling to become human is carefully explained by Wink within an exposition of Ezekiel’s first chapter where Ezekiel is shown a complex vision of god’s glory. This segment describing activity below an expanse fascinated me:
When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved;
When the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, Because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
When the creatures moved, they also moved;
When the creatures stood still, they also stood still;
When the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them,
Because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. (From Ezekiel 1:19, 20)
Wink was captivated by the vision of a man elevated above the expanse. He understood this to represent all that we as humans are meant to be. When Wink struggled to be human, he was struggling to be like that human. He argues that if man/woman is the image of God, then God must be marvelously human-like.