Random thoughts

Cornfields

In Deventer … there was contact with God and with every person I met …. There were cornfields I shall never forget, whose beauty nearly brought me to my knees …. And the sun, which I drank in through all my pores. And back here each day is a thousand fragments, … and God, too, has departed.

An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941–43

Theology

God visits us right where we are

Commenting on the story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:11-22, Barbara Brown Taylor (in An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet) notes that

even though [Jacob’s] family had imploded, even though he had made his brother angry enough to kill him, even though he was a scoundrel from the word go – God decided to visit Jacob right where he was, though Jacob had not been right about anything so far and never would be.

God visiting us right were we are, no matter how messy our life may be, that’s what the gospel is all about. That’s why it’s called ‘good news’.

Spirituality

Not a manipulated extension of myself

We cannot love God or our neighbour. We love both or neither. And what love means is rejoicing in the otherness of the other because the depth of this awareness is the depth of our communion with the other. … in the people we live with we find not objects to be cast in our own superficial likeness but, much more, we find in them our true selves, for our true selves only appear, only become realized, when we are wholly turned towards another.

[…]

In this recognition of the other person, a recognition that remakes my mind and expands my consciousness, the other person comes into being as they really are, in their real self, not as a manipulated extension of myself. People move and act out of their own integral reality and no longer as some image created by my imagination.

[…]

The essence of community … is a recognition of and deep reverence for the other.

John Main, Word into Silence

Spirituality

This

The challenge for all of us is:

to become more and more the kind of people who are aware of the divine presence, attuned to the ruach [the spirit of God], present to the depths of each and every moment, seeing God in more and more and more people, places, and events, each and every day.

Indeed,

what our experiences of God do at the most primal level of consciousness is jolt us into the affirmation that whatever this is, it matters. This person, place, event, gesture, attitude, action, piece of art, parcel of land, heart, word, moment – it matters.

Thus Rob Bell, What We Talk about When We Talk about God. This, indeed, is the way to live, yet as Bell rightly notes, it is a challenge for us, who so often live in the past or the future rather than in the present moment.

Theology

Repressed and stifled

When the female voice is repressed and stifled, the entire community can easily find themselves cut off from the sacred feminine, depriving themselves of the full image of God.

Thus Rob Bell in What We Talk about When We Talk about God in the context of his reflections on male and female being equally created in the image of God and Isaiah’s use of feminine imagery in talking about God.