The Theology I Need to Write - Anne Marie Lee - 9 March 2002greenspun.com : LUSENET : Experience into Words : One Thread
As the Samaritan woman’s story ends, “No longer does our faith depend on your story. We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this really is the Saviour of the World.” John 4:42. So does my story begin:
Writing out of my experience for this website has brought me further along my spiritual journey to the point where I believe I can take the risk of going out on a limb and writing the Theology I need.
What draws me to this task? I think it has to be truth. I need now, to live out of a theology that is mine and makes sense to me, to cast aside the protective shield of learned theology I surrounded myself with.
Who is God? God tells us “I am who I am”. Exodus 3: 14. God isn’t. God isn’t, in so far as anything that is and can be named, has a time limit in existence. God is not. God is nothing that I can imagine or grasp with my mind. Yet, in faith and experience God exists, without a doubt.
What is meant by Trinity? They tell me there is a Father, a Son and a Spirit. Three persons yet one God. I have written my understanding of this from the safety of my shield. Now let me share with you a different idea.
God is nothing and God is everything. I can have no satisfactory image of God because as soon as I have an image I know that God is not remotely like that. Now, as a human being, I need an image of God so I create my own image. God is an amoeba like structure who has the ability to divide and reunite. When God created the world He did so with particles of Himself. There was nothing else to work with. Every living thing tells us something about God because God is in every living thing. Humans and animals are also created from particles of God encased in flesh and bone.
At a point in history God introduced Himself to us and called Himself forth from us. There was no reason to call Himself forth from the trees, the flowers, the grasses and turf bogs, the streams and rivers because they obey and worship Him perfectly. God may yet call Himself forth from the lesser animals. Humans, with their powers of reasoning, have always had a tendency to go their own way. It was necessary for God to intervene.
God intervenes at different levels with people according to their needs and ability to co-operate. Hence, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc. This may be anathema to you but I believe the hand of the One God is in all of these great religions, or ways of life. At a point in time God decided to take on human form and come to live as a human in the world He had created. My image of that event is the amoeba splits to form, if you like, a clone of itself which then took on human form. While on earth Jesus was fully human in every way without losing His Godness. Jesus is another aspect of God, or God in another form. To say Jesus is the Son of God diminishes Him in some way in my mind. Jesus is God, whole and complete.
Did Jesus have to work out His destiny on earth? Yes, because he was fully human. He knew he had a mission but had to discern what it was just as you or I do. It took Him a long time to figure out how He should live His life, just as sometimes it takes us a lifetime to figure it out. In this process He prayed and asked God, who lived in Him and outside of Him, for guidance.
Did Jesus choose to put Himself out on a limb in His time? Yes He did. Having lived at home for years and then spent a kind of apprenticeship with John the Baptist He choose to take a path which He knew would get Him into trouble. Everyone thought He was mad to choose the path He did, even His mother and brothers and sisters. He took that path as a full human being to give us an example of how God expects us to live our lives. Jesus was, the perfect human being.
When Jesus died, after a time He ascended back to unite Himself with Himself in one amoebic like structure ( remembering that structure is a figment of my imagination)
Who then, is the Spirit. The Spirit is the particle of God that is in everyone and everything. The Spirit is always active and activated by its contact with itself in everyone and everything. The Spirit is God and goes back to God when Her host dies. The Spirit, God, comes out from herself and enters the new host at its conception. This is why the Prayer of Teresa of Avila means so much to me. I have no eyes but yours, no ears to hear, no hands but yours. (that is a misquote) but you know the hymn I mean. God in us nurtures us and prompts us to allow the Spirit to work through us for the good of others. God, named spirit, in nature, in the trees, in the plants, in the animals, in the rivers, nurtures us and we are expected to care for and nurture our environment. We are not God, nor is nature, but God is in us and in nature.
God is nothing. God is everything. I know God in three forms none of which I have seen. I also know God in the form of everyone I meet and everything I see.
-- Anonymous, March 09, 2002
Following on from what I have written I want to quote Eckhart. The piece is rather long, I'm sorry, but for me it's important because in one way it expresses the versatility and creativity of the methods of communication between God and ourselves. It is from the story of Mary and Martha Ch 9 pp83-84 of Volume 1 by M. O' C. Walshe
"Mark now what the circle of eternity means. The soul has three ways into God. One is to seek God in all creatures with manifold activity and ardent longing. This was the way Kind David meant when he said, "In all things have I sought rest" (Eccles. 24:7)." On page 82 he differentiates between works which are performed from without and activity which is practised with care and understanding from within.
"The second way is a wayless way, free and yet bound, raised, rapt away well-nigh past self and all things, without will and without images, even though not yet in essential being. Christ meant that when he said, "You are blessed, Peter, flesh and blood have not illumined you, but being caught up in the higher mind. When you call me God, my heavenly Father has revealed it to you" (Matt. 16:17). St. Peter did not see God unveiled, though indeed he was caught up by the heavenly Father's power past all created understanding to the circle of eternity. I say he was grasped by the heavenly Father in a loving embrace, and borne up unknowingly with tempestuous power, in an aspiring spirit transported beyond all conceiving by the might of the heavenly Father......" I understand this to be where God reveals Himself to me without the aid of means. As He might to someone who had never heard the Word.
The third way is called a way, but is really being at home, that is: seeing God without means in His own being. Now Christ says, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:16): one Christ as Person, one Christ the Father, one Christ the Spirit, three in one: three as way, truth and life, one as the beloved Christ, in which he is all. Outside of this way all creatures circle, and are means. But led into God on this way by the light of His Word and embraced by them both in the Holy Spirit - that passes all words. Now listen to a marvel! How marvellous, to be without and within, to embrace and be embraced, to see and be the seen, to hold and be held - that is the goal, where the spirit is ever at rest, united in joyous eternity!" My understanding here is that Eckhart is putting a limit on the word means and God reveals Himself and we search Him out through His revealed Word. I really like "one Christ as Person" the Anointed One is God, neither male nor female, neither greater nor lesser.
My looking at things differently doesn't mean changing the core of my belief. To say Jesus is the son of God is too simplistic for me. Jesus is God, fully and completely. The Spirit is God fully and completely. Because of social conditioning, when God is presented to me as Father, Son and Spirit I envisage an hierarchy - one greater than the other; I see two males and a female, most people see three males. Maybe it boils down to the question of inclusive v. exclusive language.
Anne Marie Lee Mothers Day 2002
-- Anonymous, March 10, 2002
A Bit More Theology
When the philosopher, writer and broadcaster, John Moriarty, talks about Jesus immersing Himself “Grand Canyon deep in the worlds Karma” I understand him to mean that Jesus took on human nature to the extent that he immersed himself in the consequences of all the worlds actions and intentions since the beginning of time.
This idea appeals enormously to me. It makes sense of humanity. Or, maybe it would be better to say, it points out the true value of human nature. Since God created us in human form and with human nature and He took on that nature Himself, why do we spend such a lot of energy trying to transcend or suppress it. To live fully as incarnate beings, to flow with our human nature, is certainly to take risks. For me the taking of those risks is what gives life its richness.
I’m not suggesting that we lose the run of ourselves and become promiscuous, brutal, selfish and insensitive. Jesus taught us a way of life that draws on our better nature, compassion, love, forgiveness, sensitivity and good will. It is through our human nature that we can draw on God in the form of the Holy Spirit in each other. It is out of our human nature that God draws that particle/pearl of Himself that is in us, to Himself.
I’m terribly aware of how we lose sight of each other and of the beauty and harshness of nature around us in our struggle to honour the gods of money, prestige, power and position. I’m aware of the mental anguish, the stress and ill health we bring on ourselves in this struggle. Could we step back from it all, even for a short time, to feel the ground beneath our feet, hear the birdsong, see the sparkle of warmth in someone’s eyes as they smile at us. Could we wonder at the miracle of the budding trees, the blossoming flowers, a new-born baby.
I can now reflect on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus in a way I could never do before because of what I hear John Moriarty saying. I need to write much more on this but I too am caught up in the rat race and time is precious.
Anne Marie Lee. 27th March 2002
-- Anonymous, March 27, 2002