All Things Change and Grow

February 26th, 2018 by Dave Leave a reply »

Creation Continues
Sunday, February 25, 2018

Karl Rahner said that we are “pressured” from within to evolve. That pressure is what we have always called the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit is creatively at work in this moment, urging us to evolve, to become a new kind of human being such as the world has rarely seen before. But what has been rare must now become commonplace. —Judy Cannato [1]
Science today—particularly physics, astrophysics, anthropology, and biology—is confirming many of religion’s deep intuitions. The universe is not inert, but is “inspirited matter.” We might call this driving force instinct, evolution, nuclear fusion, DNA, hardwiring, the motherboard, healing, growth, or springtime. Nature clearly renews itself from within. God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out. A fully incarnate God creates through evolution.
The very meaning of the word universe is to “turn around one thing.” There is either some Big Truth in this universe, or it is an incoherent universe. We are hardwired for the Big Picture, for transcendence, for ongoing growth (another name for evolution), for union with ourselves and everything else. [2] Either God is for everybody and the divine DNA is somehow in all creatures, or this God is not God. Humans are driven, hopefully even drawn, toward ever higher levels of conscious union and the ability to include (to forgive others for being “other”). “Everything that rises must converge,” as Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) observed. [3].
Unfortunately, many people view God as a deity who tortures and excludes forever those people who don’t agree with “him” or get “his” name right. How could you possibly trust such a small God or ever feel loved, safe, and free? Jesus undid the stingy, violent view of God when he said, “You, evil as you are, know how to give good things to your children. . . . If you, then how much more, God!” (Matthew 7:11). The God I have met and been loved by is always an experience of “how much more!” If we are created in the image and likeness of God, then whatever good, true, or beautiful things we can say about humanity or creation we can also say of God—but they’re even more true! God is the beauty of creation and humanity multiplied to the infinite power.
For me, this wondrous universe cannot be an incoherent and accidental cosmos, nor can it be grounded in evil, although I admit that this intellectual leap and bias toward beauty is still an act of faith and trust. I further believe that a free and loving God desires our participation in co-creation. The Great Work is ours too.

All Things Change and Grow
Monday, February 26, 2018

It is hard for me to understand why some Christians are so threatened by the notion of evolution. Are they not observing reality? Why this stalwart attachment to inertness? Perhaps static things appear more controllable? I suspect such resistance largely comes from our ego and our unconscious. I do recognize the human psyche’s need for stability, security, and superiority. These ego-needs are so strong that they allow people to ignore or misinterpret what is visible all around them, and even to ignore their own obvious “growing up” and healing processes. Even our cuts and bruises heal themselves—by themselves.
Today, every academic, professional discipline—psychology, anthropology, history, the various sciences, social studies, art, drama, music, and the business world—recognizes change, development, growth, and some kind of evolving phenomenon. But then we go to church and think we must switch heads. Somehow, Scripture study and systematic theology thought themselves above the fray, untouched by our constantly changing context. In its search for the Real Absolute, theology made one fatal mistake: It imagined that any notion of God had to be static and unchanging, an “unmoved mover,” as Aristotelian philosophy called it.
Yet there is little evidence that this rigid god is the God presented in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and even less in our Christian understanding of God as Trinity, who is clearly much more an active verb than a noun. But then, this central doctrine of the Trinity had very little effect on practical theology or the ordinary lives of most Christians. We preferred a stable notion of God as an old white man, sitting on a throne—much like the Greek God Zeus (which became the Latin word for God or “Deus”), a critical and punitive spectator to a creation that was merely a mechanical clock of inevitable laws and punishments, ticking away until Doomsday. What a negative world view!
This is not a God you fall in love with, because humans are not programmed to fall in love with mere principles and forces. Love demands both give and take, which is what we mean by a “personal” God. And this is exactly what people of deep prayer invariably experience—an inner dialogue of give and take, of giving and being received. This is why the mystics consistently use words like mercy, forgiveness, faithfulness, and healing to describe what they experience as God. These all imply a God who does not just impose rules, but in fact changes them for us! If God is Trinity, then God is Absolute Relationship, even inside of God. And every time God forgives, God is saying that relationship is more important than God’s own rules! Did you ever think about that?
I am convinced we are still in the early years of Christianity! Our appreciation for the Gospel is evolving too, as we learn to honor context as much as text. The Christ Mystery itself is still “groaning in one great act of giving birth . . . as we ourselves groan inwardly, waiting for our bodies to be set free” (see Romans 8:22-25).

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Our Misgivings About Jesus
By Oswald Chambers

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep.” —John 4:11

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.” And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.
My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly— “Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”


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