Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mike: Response to Rami on Christianity, Panentheism, Etc.

I want to add a little more to our conversation about Panentheism and Christianity.

I had written that were I not a Christian I might well be a panentheist. You mention two possible interpretations of my meaning. I had a third in mind: I choose Christianity because I find it persuasive in light of Incarnation, the story of God's interactions with the ancient people of God and the Church, and personal experience. Panentheism seems to me to be the great "other option." If Christianity is not "true" (and we probably need to spend some time defining the term), Panentheism is the next most likely candidate.

It seems possible to me that a key insight of panentheism (God is in all and all rests in God)may be subsumed within a Christian understanding of reality. Paul may well have held a similar hope with regard to Stocism. Hopefully, we'll see how all this plays out in subsequent conversations.

Christianity, over the course of its history, has cast a rather wide net. To my way of thinking, the Christian tradition provides room enough in which to think carefully and assimilate insights from any era, even the emerging era (whatever that may come to mean). Humility, of course, requires me to confess that I may be wrong. Still I operate on that basis.

"Story" is our meeting ground, at least so far. God speaks creation into existence, the Word becomes flesh--the power of story to make something new, to reveal what has been hidden, to provoke bone-deep change in a person or a community, to reveal what may be known of God is close to the heart of Christianity. It's also the link between Christianity and other religions, insofar as I can tell. When in doubt, lay aside other matters, and listen to the story. Imagination may well be God's surest path to one's deepest self.

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