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December 27, 2009

Gardeners also idolize pioneers, innovators and midwives of the future. Gardeners believe the overall story of the Bible is one of birthing, of moving from womb to wilderness to wow! In the Bible, the pattern is of someone or a group leaving the familiar (a womb), going out across an unknown desert or wilderness and creating something new for God on the other side—or God creating something new for them (the wow!). One translation states that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, but the original Hebrew verb is also the one used for being born. In the original, Adam and Eve are born—expelled—from the womb of the Garden. (Genesis 3:23-24, RSV).

For Gardeners, the biblical pattern is of God’s people leaving the womb, crossing a wilderness, and creating a “wow”—an awe-inspiring future with God. Adam and Eve left the Garden and created humanity. Cain went east of Eden and created the first civilization. Noah went out across unknown waters and created a new beginning. Moses took his people out of Egypt across a desert to the Promised Land. Jesus left his home, went out into the wilderness and came back with the vision of the Kingdom of God. Paul went into the wilderness of his own blindness and came back with the vision of the Christian church. For Gardeners, refusal to leave the womb, to cross the wilderness and birth a “wow” results in spiritual death or frozenness—just like Lot’s wife, who became a pillar of salt when she would not leave her past behind.

Gardeners use these stories to interpret the rest of the Bible as the epic story of God’s Ongoing Creation in which all creatures participate. Seen in this light, Jesus is the Great Redeemer, Great Healer, and Great Visionary who came to save souls so they can rejoin God’s creating process, both in this life and the next. For Gardeners, Jesus’ miracles were not evidence of power, but of God’s intention to restore people to their ability to participate in his Creation. Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection show God’s supreme desire to remove all the obstacles to Creation and show that life never ends. And that God’s infinite vitality would not allow Jesus to stay dead.

Many Gardeners believe the future is not fixed. For them, God has broad intentions for the future—that it be filled with kindness, that all of Creation should grow and overflow with life—but has no fixed plan for how that will be realized. We have free will to choose whether or not to cultivate the garden.

Gardeners’ primarily ask What womb am I called to leave? What wilderness am I called to cross? What “wow” am I called to give birth to?

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