Paying Attention to the Insistence

Musings /Part 3/ on the Practices of a
Resurrection (Expansive) Spirituality

"Creative Commons Jeremiah 33:3" by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Creative Commons Jeremiah 33:3” by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“He or she or it, I know not what, one or many, real or unreal, saving or dangerous, whoever or whatever this is will not leave me alone. … Everywhere I turn, high or low, north or south, desert or oasis, I am disquieted by these unsettling visitations, pursued, questioned, accused, exhilarated, caught up short, overcome by the coming over me of something, I know not what… a call calling in an uncertain voice, in and under the name (of) “God,” delivering an obscure message, leaving us restless for something, I know not what, eliciting a desire not just for this or that, but a desire beyond all desire, for a knowing without knowledge, reducing us to prayer, to praying like mad to an unknown God.” (John Caputo, It Spooks, 2015, pages 26 & 28)

I have a restlessness, an unsettledness, within. I take some solace from the understanding that this disquietude is not a solitary experience. It seems to be an impulse that has infiltrated human beings throughout history. This impulse has often been associated with our human fascination with God.

Throughout history we have built temples to house our acts of worship; altars, to provide a locus for sacrifices; rituals, to build regularized sacred practices; seminaries and monasteries, to train and support religious leaders; libraries of sacred writings, to explain the unexplainable and guide the faithful.

In spite of all that we human being have done throughout the ages, God continues to be a mystery. Scholars have devised fanciful “proofs” for the existence of God and multiple volumes of systematic theology trying to explain God. Mystics tell us in every way possible (and often at great length) that God is unknowable and can’t truly be written or spoken about.

Perhaps Caputo says it best – at least he is one of the few contemporaries that speaks to me – when he writes that “God doesn’t exist, God insists.” Too often we get hung up on God’s existence, God’s being. What may be far more important to us is how we respond to and with that restless, unsettled inner stirring. I can say without hesitation that when I am stirred into showing compassion, living peaceable, or extending justice to those who have been marginalized and/or disenfranchised by society that I am responding to God’s inner call. Regardless of how we understand or define God, if we respond to an inner disquietude by being more compassionate toward others, more of a peacemaker, more just, it would be appropriate to say that we are living into a call from God.

Attending to the insistence… responding to the inner call… spreading compassion, peace, and justice… 

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously. (Micah 6:8
[Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary LanguageColorado Springs: NavPress, 2002]

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