Jesus matters. The person of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Cathedral—the piece that matters most. If we get this piece of theology right, we will give future generations a vision of God incarnate that can carry them through the twenty-first century and beyond. If we drop this piece of theology there’s no compass to show the way. Miaphysite (The Jesus Paradox) is the precise compass that keeps us from slipping into muddled new age thinking on the one hand or fundamentalism on the other.
Miaphysite theology/the Jesus Paradox is the cornerstone of Christian mysticism. That’s why the Syrian and Egyptian monks staked their lives on it, risking banishment and death rather than renunciation of this lofty word. Mystics are the primary authority for any religious tradition worth its salt. If we lose the essential understanding of the mystics, we lose the essence of our faith.
The Desert Fathers and Mothers experienced the dynamic unity of Jesus first-hand in prolonged periods of silent prayer. And the Jesus Paradox reflected their experience of deep desert silences. The primary insight of the monks is reflected in the words of George Fox (d. 1691): “(I had) come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal Being (George Fox Journal, page 27).” The Jesus Paradox also spoke to the deep silences of the Syrian and Egyptian monks as nothing else could.
The Alexandrian monks understood God in the unqualified sense that is apprehended in mystical experience beyond all utterance. Yet, when the monks returned from those mountaintop experiences, they returned to worship God’s human form: Jesus. The ultimate truth for these Alexandrian Mystics was somewhere in-between the mystical silences and the name Jesus. And this balancing act was contained in the word Miaphysite (Greek for “one united dynamic nature”). For the Christian, to understand Jesus’ person is the culmination of the spiritual journey—the point when the mystic cries out, “I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). The Jesus Paradox is how I’ve come to embrace Jesus without reservation. Without the Jesus Paradox as my point of reference, I can’t fully embrace Jesus with both my head and heart.
Understanding The Jesus Paradox can make sense of the deepest and most subtle forms of prayer. Understanding Jesus’ person can also guide the practical concerns of everyday life, giving us words and forms that complete our holistic awareness. The Jesus Paradox holds the sacred silence and the sacred utterances in exquisite creative tension.