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.)