"And the Word became flesh and lived among us." (John 1:14). This is how the Gospel of John speaks of the meaning of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. It speaks of the deepest mystery at the core of a Christian understanding of God. The Greek word for "word" is "logos." You can easily see that this is the root of the english word, "logic." Wisdom, reason, knowledge...all of these words are connected with "logos." At the heart of Christianity is the profound claim that, in Jesus, the Logos of God became flesh--became embodied. The theological word for this is "incarnation." From this flows all distinctively Christian thought about God and, by implication, Christian thought about what it means to be truly human. Humanity and Divinity are bound up as never before and ever after in Jesus.
That was a very short paragraph summarizing a very long history of theological reflection. You may be wondering why this in the midst of our reflections on the impact of technology on our everyday lives and on our effort to live a vital spirituality. Several decades go, the cultural critic, Marshall McLuhan wrote about the impact of technology on our lives. Writing in the 1960's, McLuhan proposed that the significance of the telephone was that it enabled us to experience what he called "disembodied presence." This, he thought was worthy of serious theological consideration: “Electric man has no bodily being. He is literally dis-carnate. But a discarnate world, like the one we now live in, is a tremendous menace to an incarnate Church, and its theologians haven’t deemed it worthwhile to examine the fact."
Stay with me here...over the next few days, I want to think further about the importance of physical, embodied presence and why it matters so much to the quality of our lives--and why this is of such importance to our spiritual lives.