Rolheiser, Ron. Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality. Doubleday, NY. 1999.
“What does God’s power look like? How does it feel to feel as God in this world?
If you have ever been overpowered physically and been helpless in that, if you have ever been hit or slapped by someone and been powerless to defend yourself or fight back, then you have felt how God feels in this world.
If you have ever dreamed a dream and found that every effort you made was hopeless and that your dream could never be realized, if you have cried tears and felt shame at your own inadequacy, then you have felt how God feels in this world.
If you have ever been shamed in your enthusiasm and not given a chance to explain yourself, if you have ever been cursed for your goodness by people who misunderstood you and were powerless to make them see things in your way, then you have felt how God feels in this world.
If you have ever tried to make yourself attractive to someone and were incapable of it, if you have ever loved someone and wanted desperately to somehow make him or her notice you and found yourself hopelessly unable to do so, then you have felt how God feels in this world.
If you have ever felt yourself aging and losing both the health and tautness of a young body and the opportunities that come with that and been powerless to turn back the clock, if you have ever felt the world slipping away from you as you grow older and ever more marginalized, then you have felt how God feels in this world.
If you have ever felt like a minority of one before the group hysteria of a crowd gone mad, if you have ever felt, firsthand, the sick evil of gang rape, then you have felt how God feels in this world . . . and how Jesus felt on Good Friday.
God never overpowers. God’s power in this world is never the power of muscle, a speed, a physical attractiveness, a brilliance, or a grace which (as the contemporary expression has it) blows you away and makes you shout: “Yes! Yes! There is a God!” The world’s power tries to work that way. God’s power though is more muted, more helpless, more shamed, and more marginalized. But it lies at a deeper level, at the ultimate base of things, and will, in the end, gently have the final say.
To work for justice and peace in this world is not to move from being Mother Teresa to being Rambo or Batman. The God who undergirds justice and peace beats up no one and His or Her cause is not furthered when we do.”
It’s not much of an overstatement to say that Americans worship the God of “pragmatism.” If it works, do it. Rolheiser believes, and I think accurately, that our drive for effectiveness and efficiency is pulling joy out of our lives. Here’s my take.
I have been a first hand victim of pragmatism. I’ve seen it at play in my life both from a financial standpoint, but more importantly relationally. I think that is where it effects us most. It’s difficult to live in a relational world. That is, I think, intentional on God’s part. I think he means for life to be difficult but certainly not impossible when it comes to relationships. It is through the very struggle of relating to others that we grow stronger as human beings, and ultimately as spiritual beings.
If pragmatism is god… and relationships are where pragmatism is most practiced… then I think the use of anger is one of the most exalted altars on which we make our heathen sacrifices. Think of the ways people use anger to get things done… and we do it because, quite frankly, it works.
Violence, passive aggression, manipulation. All pragmatic expressions. Getting what we want through emotional manipulation.
The result is that we miss out on the joy of being who God intended us to be at peace. We also miss out on the joy of letting others be who God made them to be. I have to admit, between narcissism, this one (pragmatism) and what I’ll address in the third post (unbridled restlessness), I think pragmatism has me hammered more than the others.
What about you? How have you seen pragmatism at work in your world? What would life be like if we let God be God instead of “what works”?
I know only a little about theology. Even less about physics. But I’ve been thinking about the idea of contingency, and that idea brings theology and physics together for me.
Think for a moment about the idea of contingency. What does it mean? Look it up if you have to because you’ll need a working definition. The basic idea I’ll be working with is this: Contingency is the idea that something… whatever it is… relies on something ELSE for it’s existence. On the other hand, if something is “non-contingent” then it relies on nothing else for its existence.
So of course, I started thinking about the different dimensions, what they are and how they are contingent upon each other.
Now, we typically think of the higher dimensions as being the “loftier” or more “mysterious” or even the “greater” dimensions. However, I want to suggest the opposite. I’ll try to illustrate.
Let’s say, for a moment, that we want to talk about something that is 3 dimensional. That means, at least from what I remember from my school-boy days, that it exists with the properties of width, height, and depth. Up down (one dimension), Left right (a second dimension) and forward, backward or in, out (a third dimension). What I am suggesting is that for something to exist as a three dimensional object, it is completely contingent on the existence of all three of those dimensions. Three dimensional objections cannnot exist without up and down, left and right, in and out. Therefore, I am suggesting that the three dimensions that make up a three dimensional object are actually GREATER than the object itself, because they (the dimensions) do not rely on the object for existence, rather the object relies upon them.
And so it is even with the 4th dimension, if we can assume the fourth dimension is time. And let’s do.
Time requires four dimensions, up and down (one), left and right (two), in and out (three) and perspective one to perspective two or “movement.” It is marking the difference between perspective one and perspective two that I’ll use to define time. We see a three dimensional object from perspective one… (and with only one perspective it remains a three dimensional object), but as soon as the object is set in motion and a different perspective is observed the object has become four dimensional.
What then, is the conclusion?
I conclude that a 4 dimensional object is lesser than a three dimensional object because the 4th dimensional (time bound) object RELIES on the prior 3 dimensions. And so a 3 dimensional object is lesser than a two, and a two dimensional object lesser than one.
Which brings me to the most exciting part of this particular article.
The ZERO dimension. Which is, and what else could it be, but ultimate NON-CONTINGENCY!
Or, dare I say it. . . GOD. To me, dimensional physics are proof of God. God is the Zero dimension. God is non-contingency because God relies on absolutely NOTHING for his existence. God does not require up and down, left and right, in and out, movement, matter, energy or anything else. God is not even contingent upon the existence of reality, because without the existence of the other dimensions, reality itself cannot even be defined. Therefore, reality is contingent upon God, not the other way around.
What I may do, in a part two article, is talk a little about how the creation story itself proves the point.
Think about it this way…
Which was created first, and here you’ll need do your own investigation… light or the sources of it (i.e. sun, moon & starts)? For the direction I’ll take, please refer to Genesis 1.
Let me know what you think?