The Labyrinth of Insistence

Psalm 42:7    Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all your massive waves surged over me. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]


Central to John Caputo’s theology is the insistence of God. “I do not believe in the existence of God but in God’s insistence. I do not say that God ‘exists,’ but that God calls… a quiet but insistent solicitation.” (The Insistence of God, Preface). The sub-title of It Spooks is “living in response to an unheard call.” I have been chasing ‘call’ all my life. (Or has ‘call’ been chasing me?) That is the interruption that insistence beings. But how does one hear and unheard call?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.49.40 AMa birthday gift
a cross
“Ich Bin Der Weg”
(“I Am The Way”)
and a labyrinth
superimposed upon it
one step toward clarity
an image that unpacks
a deeper truth
a window that opens
a depth that rises to the surface.

As a Christian life is all about living, teaching, being the Way of Yeshua. responding to that inner unheard call is the entrance to the Way. But how does one hear and unheard call? The harder we listen, the more elusive the call. The greater the attention, the more hoopla, the more distant the call. How does one hear an unheard call? The labyrinth suggests an approach.

The labyrinth has a circuitous inward path, a center, and an equally circuitous outward path. The path in tracks us through our daily living — our hopes, our fears, our confessions, our promises. The path in expands our daily living by reminding us of the promises of scripture. The path in is an active meditation that encourages us to sing and dance, to explore our sadness and despair, to pray, to imagine possibilities. to be creative. The path in gives us permission to shed our preconceptions. The inward path is the way of kenosis.

The center is an empty space that is filled with meaning, hope, healing, promise, and direction. It is the emptiness of the space that allows something new to arise. It is the emptiness that provides space for the insistence. It is the spaciousness that gives rise to the call. When the spaces of our life are filled to the full (or are over-flowing) there is no space to hear a spoken or unspoken call. The center is empty space and that emptiness is the font of hope and promise. In the center the unheard is encountered; the unspoken, attended to. In the center the impossible becomes possible; the possible, impossible.

When the way in is a kenosis, a laying down piece by piece of our most preciously held convictions and priorities, our hopes and disappointments, and the center remains a gap, an empty space within which can arise new hopes (or even new disappointents), then the way out of the labyrinth is the path toward newness. The way out follows the same path as the way in, the same circuitous route, the same twists and turns, but in reverse order. The way out re-builds, re-shapes, re-forms one’s life so that it conforms to the Way of Yeshua. The re-shaping into the Way of Yeshua happens in the twinkling of an eye and it takes a life time to unfold. It is the tension between the possible and the impossible. It is living in Holy Saturday, the knife-edge between cross and resurrection, the possibility of the tomb. The way out is a path as circuitous as the inward path. And when you come to the end of the outward path you are out of the labyrinth. No! You are actually at the door that opens inwardly to the labyrinth which is waiting for you… waiting for you to walk the labyrinth of life again, as if for the first time. Call upon call, invitation upon invitation, nudging upon nudging, inner voice upon inner voice — that is the very nature of the insistence that comes in the name of God. Perhaps.

The moments of the labyrinth
are repeated in each step
we take each turn.

We face different paths
and ponder our choice.

Which is the right course to take?

What am I willing to risk?

Maybe I will look like a fool.
maybe I will die or get hurt.

How can I decide
what button will turn
up the volume?

Is this the Way of Yeshua?

When I entered the labyrinth
I took a step
I trusted myself to a circuitous path.

All that I am was present
in that moment,
   the hope,
   the promise,
   the past,
and the future.

I walked in trust
and in faith.

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