The wild dream in which God is
The wild dream in which ‘God is’, rejects the subduing and dominating mission that human beings have pursued in the world, Sathianathan “Sathi” Clarke, Bishop Sundo Kim Chair in World Christianity and Professor of Theology, Culture, and Mission at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC has told Synod 2021.
In the final of a three-part bible study, spread over the three stanzas of Synod 2021, Dr Clarke moved from the ‘wild space’ of the kingdom of God to the ‘wild synergy of God’ that interweaves a radically open human ‘kin-dom’ and finally to the ‘wild dream’ in which God is.
“We learn from this biblical creation story that the wild dream in which God is … envisions and enhances the mission of God that entwines humanity with the beasts and the birds, as well as the land, minerals, vegetation, and waters that constitute Mother earth,” he said.
“If human beings do not repent from our ego-centric, me-first and Anthropos-only historical trajectory, which is not in sync with the design of the divine creator, the wild dream of God will continue to be a nightmare for all those who wish to share life together on our blessed earth.”
In this study, Dr Clarke drew upon Genesis 2 and its call on humanity as the principal agents of the affliction and health of our planet to “turn around” and “return” to God’s original wild dream for all of God’s creation? He challenged Synod 2021 with two key thoughts.
“To start with, human beings need to realign with God’s original wild dream by taking our rightful place in creation. Genesis 2 offers us a way to “turn around” and “return” to the wild dream in which God is still invested. It describes the intrinsic kinship between human beings and the rest of creation.
Dr Clarke said we had much to learn from the deep and expansive interrelationship indigenous Australian communities have with creation.
“A second lesson from Genesis 2 also has enormous relevance to us. It charges human beings to reclaim our mission within God’s original wild dream by joining in with the Divine to tend and keep the earth.” he said.
“It is important to notice that Genesis 1 has God doing all the work of creation by the power of a somewhat distant Word with human beings as the last culminating act.”
Dr Clarke spoke of his disappointment in not being able to join Synod 2021 in person having travelled to Australia and undergone quarantine only to be foiled by Sydney’s latest COVID-19 inspired lockdown.
As well as his role at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., Dr Clarke serves as Assisting Clergy at the Church of the Epiphany, Diocese of Washington, where he facilitated a bible study among homeless friends from 2010.
His vocation has been a unique blend of the joy of Church ministry, passion for working with communities of the poor and other religious faiths, and love of academic research and teaching. From the very beginning of his ministry, Clarke has worked passionately for justice for the poor and has travelled extensively to educate and encourage inter-religious dialogue.
He started his ministry in the Church of South India as a social worker and priest for the Diocese of Madras among oppressed Dalit communities in rural India. Clarke bridges the world between establishment and the marginalised, the global and the local, and academy and the congregation. For the last twenty years, he has taught and lectured on global Christianity, contextual theology, World Christianity, Christian mission, and interreligious dialogue in various countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South and North America.