+ Some Quotes +

A trinity of quotes today. 

One from a scientist. One from a philosopher. And the final from a priest. Somehow they speak to the foundation I sense I’m standing on. It is, to be sure, a weak foundation.  I’m not looking for a strong or obscenely certain one.  The weakness of the foundation is as weak as Love itself–something that calls to us, that draws us, urging us to be fall forward, to take the leap, propelling us ahead, but without force. In the end my affirmation is a simple one, to quote Gianni Vattimo when asked if he still “believed”, he answered “I believe so.”  I believe that I believe. 

You have a choice… I don’t think anyone can prove that God exists or that God doesn’t exist–we’re in an area far to deep for mere proof…a big fundamental question like belief in God (or disbelief) is not settled by a single argument. It’s too complicated for that. What one has to do is consider lots of different issues and see whether or not the answers one gets add up to a total picture that makes sense–but also gives meaning, beauty, depth, joy and hope.  In other words do you like the panting that you’ve just created or not?–Polkinghorne, pg 36

 

Who do I love when I love my God?  I love this question because it assumes that anybody worth their salt loves God. If you do not love God what good are you?  You are too caught up in the meanness of self-love and self-gratification to be worth a tinker’s damn. Your soul soars only with a spike in the Dow Jones Industrial average; your heart leaps only at the prospect of a new tax break. The devil take you.  Religion is for lovers, for men and women of passion, for real people with real passion for something other than utilitarian gains, people who believe on something, who hope like mad in something, who love something with a love that surpasses understanding…but again, we must ask then “Who do I love when I love my God?”(Caputo, pg 2)

 

Dear friend, being beloved is the origin and fulfillment of the life of the spirit.  I say this because as soon as we catch a glimpse of this truth, we are put on a journey in search of the fullness of that truth and we will not rest until we rest in that truth.  From the moment we claim the truth of being beloved we are faced with the call to become who we are.  Becoming the Beloved is the spiritual journey we have to make. (Nouwen, pg 41)

4 Responses

  1. Brittian, I’ve been struggling to understand the implications of the worldview you’ve been describing. It is intriguing, although sometimes for me, it is a bridge too far. I think I can understand and affirm you in the idea that certainty is dangerous because it too commonly certainty in an incorrect or uncertain object. But sometimes you stretch that idea to places I’m not ready to go. For example, I resonate with your first quote today until I reach the final question. Then Polkinghorne seems to suggest that the best God is the one made in my image. My likes and dislikes are a poor standard by which to measure the God that I follow. The statement seems to downplay the ineffability of God in favor of a God that makes everything coherent and cozy.

    • First Chris, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the journey with me–for trying to understand the implications of the world view I’m attempting to describe. In that regard, I suspect you and I are in the same shoes. I too am struggling to understand those implications. In a sense I’m doing a great deal of wrestling in general. In moments like these, I’d love nothing more than to go grab a coffee or a pint with you and we could have a good old fashion face to face conversation about these things and do our struggling together, from the same place.

      First: I’m attempting to find some sort of working model of what Bonhoeffer called “religionless Christianity” and Derrida called “religion without religion”. Those seem, to me, to be very important concepts–and they resonate with me, they speak to me. Can God, in Jesus, be the good news of the religionless without converting them to being religionFULL–I would say, yes…and I’m trying to flesh out what that means…and as you say, it’s implications. Part of what my war on certainty has affirmed is that almost everything requires a choice–a value decision. There really isn’t anything that is just “plain truth”, no matter how much science or their kissing cousins fundamentalists believe so. They are choosing the narratives that make sense to them. I believe this is Polkinghornes point (by the way–his charge was, i believe, more or less leveled at rationalists who come up with a utilitarian model of a clocklike universe…that lacks any sort of life, beauty, mystery, or wonder…).

      God is wholly other. In other words, we mostly fail to see God. Our intellect, our very ability to perceive God, is what is ill-equipped to witness God. Another way of thinking about this is that our imaged thoughts of God do not allow for God. This is why Meister Eckhardt cries out, “God, rid me of God!” Our concepts of God prevent us from experiencing God…often. However, God cannot be wholly other…else we would miss God altogether. There is an element that lies within our constructs causing an awareness. This is a critical choice…on one hand you could say that the human species has evolved this collective consciousness of God…it cannot exist without having an Other to live with…but that is hardly the only assumption to be drawn. And, it’s not even an assumption that bears out in our normal existence. Far more common sense, frankly, is that the thing which we desire, and can sense (if not altogether perceive) is communicated by that which desires us (and wishes us to sense it). This to me, makes God, once more–loving, relational, and personal. I recognize it as a subjective choice, a value decision…but it paints a much more beautiful picture than the other subjective choice that opts for the other side of things.

      Second: Having said that, I’ve taken up the Augustinian question, that Caputo alliterates, “who do I love when I love my God?” And I’m trying to find a working articulation of what exactly I mean when I speak of God. Personally, I am coming to the Johannian (as in the epistle writer) view, that the first name of God, is love. That love, in all its forms, pure love is God. Love is something intangeble…always drawing us into action, but never quite resolving in that event…it requires more of us. God is that which we desire, but also that which desires us and pulls and propells us towards the event of love. Love in this case is so deeply intimate that to describe it impersonal, or unrelational, would be to demote it. Love requires such relating and such personhood.

      Third: “If Love is the first name of God, then ‘of God’ is the name of those who love”. We’re always looking for who’s in and who’s out… To me, love, is the dividing line…always. This is why a secular person who’s life is for the other, is always a religious or God filled life. And a religious person who is only for themselves and what they consider right and wrong is not at all religious and God filled. The people of God are those who are lovers.

      Fourth: The spiritual journey then is discovering that love…both in terms of our own sense of Belovedness and in terms of being a channel through which that love may flow.

      So…these are the places I am coming to…I’m using, perhaps, overly vague language…and doing so because I deeply believe that the Christinese that we have so often used, no longer has place in this world. It has lost the right to speak. it has, to often, been complicit in evil for to speak of lofty good. It’s words are poison. So, this is the project I’m attempting to develop.

      As I said…I don’t know how that plays out friend…. And, I’d give anything to work it out together with you. I’m sure you have insights I do not and would gladly share in those with you.

      Cheers!

  2. Just picked up a polkinghorne book. I think I was referred through Joel who was referred through you, if I’m not mistaken. Looking forward to it, though my book list is retardedly long these days.

  3. Also, “I believe that I believe” sums it up so well.

    thanks for this, my friend

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