Monday, March 24, 2008

Mike: Response to Rami's 3/24 Posting

"Wholly Other" means God is beyond our grasp, greater than anything we can conceive. Insofar as I can tell, we agree.

I am not a panentheist. Were I not a Christian, I probably would be. At least two factors keep me from taking the step. First, both testaments stress we must not confuse God with the creation. God may be glimpsed and even experienced through creation, but he is more than, even other than, his creation. Creation is sacred but not divine. Second, the Incarnation pushes me to say God is known best through personality and relationship (as opposed, say, to creation per se or even through a sacred text). So...I think you probably are right. We differ on this matter.

That being true, I find it interesting that we arrive at similar conclusions. Take your point about the "te." In place of "the way of Tao," I probably would say "the way of Christ" or "the Way of God" or "the Way of Holy Spirit." As we come to know what can be known of God, and insofar as we act in harmony with what we know, we become partners with God in the world. Mercy, grace, patience, overflowing love, forgiveness and the like are the traits and tasks of such partners.

We start from different places with regard to the Exodus. I see Exodus as history (at long distance), which may be interpeted as parable or allegory or perhaps even type. Paying attention to history, though, sets limits on the range of possible interpretations. I would have no problem asking: "What does the story of Miriam say to us about our own hearts?" The answer is that Miriam's story reveals our complexity, that strange blend of love, ambition, pettiness, and nobility found within each of us. Strangely enough, even so we may become partners with God as he reshapes humanity and the world.

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