When ‘God’ ceases to be a super-powered being ‘out there,’ God becomes an internal event that disrupts and disturbs us, inviting us to be more than we currently are. John Caputo says “God doesn’t exist; God insists.”
“Human strength can’t begin to compete with the weakness of God.” (1 Cor. 1:25, NRSV)
“God does not exist; God insists.” That is the offering of hybrid philosopher/theologian John Caputo. He writes: “The name of God is the name of an event transpiring in being’s restless heart, creating confusion in the house of being, forcing being into motion, mutation, transformation, reversal. … The name of God is being’s aspiration, it’s inspiration, it’s aeration, for God is not being or a being, but a ghostly quasi-being, a very holy spirit.” (The Weakness of God, p. 9)
When “God” ceases to be an objective, super-powered being out there, “God” becomes a name that we attach to an event which disrupts us / disturbs us / calls us to think and act beyond ourselves. When, in our awareness, an insistence beckons us toward the promises / potentialities / possibilities of the future, we likely experience something deep within which we often name “God” / “Sacred” / “Mystery.” In truth, we are attempting to name the “unknowing” that always intrudes upon us. Desiring to be strong, we give that insistent beckoning a name, and thus an objective reality. It is as if by naming that we bring the event under our control. This quest for control attempts to locate the event outside us / me. If, on the other hand, I simply stay present to the beckoning and abide in the unknowing I may hear / sense / attend to the call that I insist upon myself as if it were insisted upon me, because I can do no other.
The insistent beckoning is a force-field that radiates through my being and draws me beyond myself, while keeping me rooted in my self and my context. It is always more than I can name. In truth, it is the more-than that elicits a response from me. These insistent beckonings (calls) tend to shock me out of my complacency and certitude. When I can’t recover from the shock, I name the beckonings “evil;” when I am transformed, I call them “God.” These inner callings can only be attended to in a kairos moment (not clock time), because they are not what is present but what is to come. John Caputo again:
“The name of God… is a word forged in the fires of life… signaling something familiar… yet bottomless… incomprehensible. That is because it shelters an event… [The name of God is] an odd sort of Magnificat… whose passion and existential intensity are correspondingly magnified by this very undecidability.” (The Weakness of God, pp. 7 & 11)
[Scripture quotations from: New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved and Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002]