The God of Weak Theology

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[Image: “Creative Commons ‘Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’’ – C.S. Lewis” by QuotesEverlasting is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

Psalm 40:1-4           1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,out of the miry bog,and set my feet upon a rock,making my steps secure.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a song of praise to our God.Many will see and fear,and put their trust in the Lord.  4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust,who do not turn to the proud,to those who go astray after false gods.

[Scripture quotation 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.]

Reflecting on God

Something very interesting has been happening. Instead of wallowing in frustration with traditional theology, instead of being discouraged by the theological illiteracy in the church today, instead of disaffectation with the level of religious jargon and the absence of sound religious thinking among today’s politicians, my heart has been rejoicing. I have found a new song to sing. It is song of the presence of the non-existence of God, a song of the insistence of an unheard inner voice calling me, a song of being God’s presence by acting in response to that inner calling. It is a joyful song; also a spooky song.

After fighting battles with the strong God of traditional theology (especially as it gets translated into pop theology — omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence; the God who can do anything and everything; the God who turned Yeshua into a divine being and the only avenue to salvation; the God who presides over the Christian church as the only purveyor of true religion — I have been schooled in what I already knew in the deep recesses of my head and heart. That such a God is imaginative hooey, so so far from what Yeshua lived and taught. That strong, existent, theistic God no longer ‘works’ for me (and not for a lot of others, as well). No, I am not giving up on God…  just outlining a new pattern of relationship. In truth, not so much a NEW pattern since the old God didn’t relate. Of course, the God of Caputo’s weak theology doesn’t form relationships. The God of Caputo’s weak theology is an inner insistence toward peace, justice, and wholeness. To become present in the world, those of us who hear the calling can make God ‘real,’ ‘present’ by simply responding to that call with action. Our action, then, is God actualized. The strength of this ‘weak’ God in demonstrated when we suffer with the suffering, find solidarity with the marginalized, discover the real people who are the least, last, lost, and left out. It is only in relationships that God is actualized. So, where does God ‘happen?’ God happens when the spaces between us are filled by an insistence that generates care, compassion, and love. Maybe this is what 1 John 4:16b means — “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”

This new insight, understanding, schooling has surprised me… spooked me… turned me around. I don’t have to give up on God or toss God on the scrap heap. But I do have to listen carefully and respond to what I hear. It would be easier to just walk away, turn my back on this whole “God thing.” But, I’ve been spooked. I am haunted by this insisting that my radar sometimes picks up and sometimes doesn’t. However, even when I really don’t hear that unheard inner call, I am haunted by that insistence that doesn’t seem to be insisting… spooked by the nudges that are not felt… prepossed by the calling that has not yet called. I want to say, “Here I am! Send me.” If I only knew the direction that I am going?!

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