Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Shaking of the Foundations*

Yeah, I haven't been around in a while. Some anonymous hack called me a 'slacker' in the comments section of my last blog entry. :-/ My vocation, even though I'm not currently working full-time, requires reading and reflection, the fruits of which do not coalesce on a whim. My full-time profession of mother and wife often does not allow me enough solitude for the former. If readers are expecting something worth reading, then you will have to wait patiently. An alum from seminary, who writes a blog entitled "blooming cactus" containing brilliant theological reflection on scripture readings for a given Sunday, has Crohn's disease and sometimes cannot keep up with his blog. I don't have his excuse, however I do this for my enjoyment and my own sense of purpose and meaning, so kindly bug off.

Lately I have been reading Diarmuid O'Murchu's Evolutionary Faith. Reading this book is a response to the musings and feelings I have been having a long time about just what it is I believe in. The Jesus I follow would be one to say that in order for God to be God, there must also be no God. What we need to know to live as human beings has to be observable in the world and cosmos around us and within every life-form: the Spirit incarnate in every fiber of being, continuously creating, the Ground of all Being. This may sound like pantheism but really it's not. It's panentheism: God is immanent in the universe and yet also transcendent.

This quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer haunts me:

Our coming of age leads us to a true recognition of our situation before God. God would have us know that we must live as those who manage our lives without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us. The God who lets us live in the world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continuously. Before God and with God we live without God.

...God is weak and powerless in the world and that is
precisely the way, the only way in which is he is with us to help us.
(from Letters and Papers in Prison, p. 360)

These thoughts and feelings become particularly acute around Christmas. I tire of seeing and hearing the Christmas story as though it was written history. The movie The Nativity Story was much of the same thing, even creating a tableau of the shepherds, the light of the star, and the three Magi that would befit any suburban mantelpiece. Blech!

The power of the Christmas story is not in its literalism but in its metaphor and imagery, just like the rest of the Christian narrative. What has been missing from much of the popular discussion about this unique inbreaking of God is its place in the cosmic scheme reaching back billions of years that is not yet complete, that is still evolving.

In this age of violence we can no longer afford the luxury of being sectarian. There are worlds unknown whose inhabitants must also be asking the same questions of "Who am I?" and "What is my purpose?"; whose attempts at answering those questions must vary like the stars in the heavens.

It is time once again that our notions of who God is evolve and change.

"God is Spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth." John 4: 24

(*Blog title borrowed from Paul Tillich's book of the same.)


Andy said...

"In order for God to be God, there must also be no God." - This is a truly facinating topic to explore at length. What religion (if any) does Diarmuid O'Murchu follow? His statements seem very Buddhist in nature?

So many questions...

And welcome back, Cindy. I've missed your worldview.

Cynthia said...

Actually, he's a priest in the Sacred Heart Missionary Order. The statement about God also not being God is mine. Atheism, in my opinion, has to be a viable alternative if grace is true.

There's another life-altering book: If Grace is True by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland.

You can find out more about O'Murchu at his website:


Mystical Seeker said...

Process theology is a panentheistic theology that has always interested me, in particular because it rejects the traditional idea of divine intervention (or divine omnipotence).

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia said...

Welcome, Mystical Seeker! I checked out your blog--you are well-read and articulate your thoughts in a way that engages the reader. I shall be returning to read more.

I read your profile and wondered, since you're from S.F., if you've ever worshipped at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church? The Christian Century had an intriguing article about them about five or so years ago.

Congrats on your nomination from the UUA!

Mystical Seeker said...

Hi Cynthia,

Yes, I've been to St. Gregory a couple of times, and I really like what they are doing there. I would like to visit them again soon, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Mystical Seeker said...

Oh, and also, thank you for the compliments!

Mary said...

Welcome back RobWoman. Have missed you.
Am hoping to truly engage in conversation this year on your blog.
Atheism has to be a viable alternative if grace is true. I'll be able to introduce that into some of the discussions here!

Cynthia said...

Yo, Mare!

What is the title of your blog? So GOOD to hear from you!

P.S. Met Bob Livingston at a COM training meeting this past weekend. His humor was true to form.