Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Evan Almighty, God, and the Meaning of Life



More on the series Conversations with Bob! My turn....

Hi Bob!

I have had a pretty full day, so I don't have time for a long post. Your concerns about progressivism are well-founded. Let me say a bit more how I understand progressive Christianity.

1) I think of progressive in the sense that God is intimately involved in all Creation. God is not separate from us, but immanently connected with all of life. This does not mean that God is not transcendent, but God is immanent as well. Therefore, I don't see a big distinction between it is up to us or up to God. God is active within us, inviting us to aspire to that which is good, beautiful, and just.

My spouse and I saw the film,
Evan Almighty. It was a commentary on the story of Noah. Anyway, in one scene, the character God speaks to Evan's wife. God says:

"When you pray for patience. God does not give you patience. God gives you the opportunity to be patient. When you pray for your family to be close, God does not make your family close. God gives you the opportunity to make your family close."

I found that quite insightful. The issues we are facing as human beings on Earth that I elaborated in my last post are opportunities to aspire to our higher nature. It isn't that God is not active, nor that God controls events, but God is active in all events offering us the invitation to participate--to choose the better path.

I think God is calling us to awaken. God is inviting us to awaken to the crises facing us and to awaken to who we are as human beings, as part of nature, and as intimately connected with God. It is really a spiritual matter. The crises are symptoms of our unwillingness to recognize that we own nothing. The Earth is God's and it belongs to all.

2) Also, being a progressive Christian means that I am open to wisdom where ever it may be found. This includes the wisdom from other faith traditions, science, the humanities, where ever. You said that we might disagree with the following statement:

Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us. (link)

I don't think that statement is quite strong enough. I would say not only do we recognize the the faithfulness of others but we honor, cherish, embrace, and incorporate wisdom from others in our own awakening. I am curious what you think about it.

3) Finally, being progressive in terms of life after life, means to me, that it is not my business. This is actually the radical nature of Reformed insights. Because I am embraced by the love of God, whatever happens after my physical death is not up to me. Nothing I can do can make God love me more. Nothing I can do can make God love me less. That is freeing! I freely let God take care of all of that. In the meantime, I am elected (another Reformed phrase) to serve, to enjoy, to live
this life, which regardless of whatever happens after I die, will never happen again.

Blessings,
John
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