Reading the gospels I am often struck with how Jesus identified with the alienated. But I’ve come to wonder whether our habitual explanation for this, the compassion of Jesus, is entirely adequate. Could it be that there was more to it? Something our affluent eyes have blinded us to? Could it be that there was also recognition of a common condition, of mutual alienation?
You see, Gnostics sometimes speak of ‘the alien God’, but I wonder if we Christians should be speaking of ‘the alienated God’. The gospel of John tells us, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
It prompts me to ask, to what extent are holiness and alienation interrelated?