Has experience a role in Theology? - Rita Byrne - 23 March 02

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Having considered your question Philip: What do I need to get into focus at this time? I think for me it is, What is the place of experience in Theology? Does it have a role?

A priest friend of mine explained that 'Mother Church in her wisdom is cynical about experience'. That would explain why there is no criteria or avenue to explore the veracity or otherwise of our experience. We can all accept that our experience, as in any other sphere, can be influenced by evil, but is this a reason to discount it altogether. Perhaps I am wrong here, maybe there is a facility for this that I don't know about.

So why is the Church cynical about experience? Probably because we don't experience things with our heads. If it cannot be reasoned out then it is suspect. God can only be known in love,and we don't love with our heads either, so then is love also suspect?. This is a legitimate question here.

Our God is an emotional God, so why do we ignore this fact? Most of my experiences have to do with God letting me see that he experiences what I experience in my everyday life. My conclusion from this is that God wants me to realise that he is not stuck up there somewhere in heaven but that he is down here with us, and wants to be part and share with us the ups and downs of our everyday lives. Raymond expresses his closeness to us in his writing. We could do with some more of it Raymond..

How many times in The Gospels does he tell us 'to fear not'. So why are we so afraid to admit that he is here with us. Why do we keep him at a distance? Is it easier to worship from afar? Let him close he might make demands or upset our comfortable set-ups.

Thank you Philip for giving us this space and opportunity to express our needs. A happy Easter to everyone; may all your eggs be rich dark chocolate, and all your prayers be experienced deeply.


-- Anonymous, March 23, 2002

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