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 event beckons us toward the promises, potentialities, and possibilities of the future, we likely experience something deep within which we often name God, Sacred, Mystery, the Other, Thou. In truth, we are attempting to name the “unknowing” that always intrudes upon us. Desiring to be strong, we give that beckoning a name, and thus an objective reality. It is as if by naming that we bring the event under our control. In my quest for control I attempt to locate the event outside of me. If, on the other hand, I simply stay present to the beckoning and abide in the unknowing I may hear, sense, and/or attend to the call that I insist upon myself as if it were insisted upon me, because I can do no other.
The 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.
John Caputo (The Weakness of God: a Theology of the Event, 2006, pages 7 & 11) writes:
“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.”
Is it possible to engage mystery (“this very undecidability”) without having to be in charge of the experience? The mystery creates a tension within us. On one hand it challenges our need to be in control. On the other, it energizes an adventurous part of us that is willing to embrace the emptiness where asking “Why?” seems out of place. We often name that tension which draws us, calls us, “God.” Even those who choose to deny God seem drawn into the conversation. I suspect that the experiencing of an event of insistence which draws us beyond ourselves is not dependent upon a belief in God. Non-believers are also drawn toward acts of compassion, peace, and justice. The difference is how we name the event, as well as whether or not we demand that our way is the only correct way to name the event.