Take a Walk with Wink

When Walter Wink’s dementia caused a thought to leaveJust Jesus him he went for a walk till the word or thought returned to him. Then he rushed to his office lest it leave him. He wanted to give context to his life by the vignettes he wrote.

Wink put down seventy or more vignettes in  “Just Jesus – My Struggle to become Human.” His mother was a gentle scholar; his father was an insecure, unforgiving disciplinarian who eventually committed suicide. Under such influences their son became a perfectionist. In all of his adult life, Wink gave attention to minute details.

Wink was a scholar and I am a simple preacher of the Gospel. Some vignettes on science are beyond my grasp. Perhaps I feel more at home with him as biblical scholar because he appears to approach the Bible in the way of my father. He accepted the Bible as a progressive revelation. Read it from the  beginning and then review it through the lens of the life and teaching of Jesus. Wink believed that the Bible critiques itself as its story unfolds.

walter wink

Walter Wink

Wink gave attention to detail when reading Ezekiel 1. As noted before, Wink was captivated by the Human seated on the throne. (Ezekiel 1:26)  To Wink, this Human in heaven is not a metaphor, but is truly Human. Adam and Eve were creatures formed in the image of the Human who created them, but they and we are imperfectly human.

With this understanding, Wink’s struggle is not to be Godly in the usual sense, but to live humanly on earth just like the Human that Ezekiel saw in his vision. Wink is drawn to Jesus as having been the one on earth who most clearly revealed the Human in heaven. We often say that Jesus was like God, but according to Wink, it is better to say God is like Jesus.

nonviolence1This is a view worth pondering. It could be transforming. In his  struggle to be human Wink became an advocate of nonviolence in support of Martin Luther King, Jr. and later he traveled to Chile, Argentina, and South Africa to confront dominating powers.

When Ezekiel had the vision of God’s glory, he fell on his face.  But a voice called him to his feet.  It was as though the Human in heaven would not speak to a prostrate human on earth. The Human wished to speak face to face, human to human, man to man.  Wink believes that we should not worship Jesus, instead we should live as he lived, be the kind of human that he was. In that way we too may be “the son of the Man,” a name Jesus gave to himself.  Wink discovered that “just Jesus” is the key to becoming human.  Just Jesus.  Just Jesus.  (Repetition Winks)

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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3 Responses to Take a Walk with Wink

  1. Raymond Martin says:

    This walk with Wink made me think. It tugged hard on my theology. I’m not a theologian. Never the less, theology is simply “reason in support of faith.” I do not know whose definition that is but it works for me. So I reason that God being human cannot mean that God is not also the Divine One. This brings my reasoning and my heart together and the mystery of God and of being is still a mystery and that is quite ok. I love the description of God in our confession of faith. I suppose Marlin Miller had a strong influence in that wording. It works for me. Once in the 60’s I struggled to understand God as the”ground of our being” and somehow came to suppose that God is less than Divine Being. I could not pray to one who is less than Divine Being and I was miserable. Finally I prayed in desperation and my heart said “never do that again”-meaning, “suppose that God is less than Divine Being.”
    Thank you to Martin and Wink for making me think.

  2. Raymond Martin says:

    Hey, I went back over this and see that I was missing the “H” in the “Human in heaven”. But I loved the ride and I have no regrets.

    • Who among humanity has not struggled and failed to fully understand the mystery of God. The concept that God is like Jesus intensified the mystery for me personally. I think Wink wanted the world to better understand and to behave like the human beings we are meant to be. I failed to tell you that Wink was a Friend.

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