A lot of the time, the theological reading I do touches something deep within me and theology becomes a way for God to speak to me and to guide me on my journey. I don't often blog about these things because, in the West, we seem to separate "theology" from "spirituality"; the Eastern Church doesn't do that but sees all theology as having consequences for our "spirituality" and vice versa.
Anyway, I've decided to try to blog a bit about God speaking to me through theology. I've been going through James Alison's "The Joy of Being Wrong" with a fine toothed comb, so yet again, God has been speaking to me through this book.
I was lucky enough to go on retreat today and yesterday, and one of the images I brought with me into the retreat is Alison's idea that Christianity is not about who is in and about who is out because God revealed himself to us in Jesus - who became the innocent victim of human sinfulfness. If God is encountered in the innocent victim rather than in the victorious victimiser, then God is accessible to all people. This is how Alison see's St. Paul's road to Damascus experience.
This led me to meditating on Christ on the cross. God incarnate, freely gave himself to be killed by the human lust for violence. The God who we are called to pacifically imitate gave upself up to our rage, a rage born out of the fact that we think we can be God better than God. In our sin, we do not want to imitate God, we want to be "ourselves" and "have control" over our own lives and so we must kill God. In giving himself up to death at our hands, God overcame death through his resurrection. Sin and death no longer have dominion, but rather holiness and abundant / eternal life have dominion. Through Christ, we are now free to become that which we were originally created to be.
During the retreat, another retreatant spoke to me about finding God in death and darkness. He wanted to go one step beyond the idea of being able to see a green shoot in the midst of death and darkness, but rather to actually find God in the darkeness, without the green shoot. If God in all things, as I believe God is, then surely God must be present in the darkness even if we cannot perceive God.
It seems to me that "death and darkness" are part of universal human experience in the same way that the suffereing and death of an innocent victim is part of the universal human experience. However, it is huge leap of faith, I think, to be able to find God in the darkness without a green shoot there.
My fellow retreatant's word to me has touched me deeply, although I am not in a dark place at the moment. I feel that God is slowly teaching me to have faith in His presence everywhere, and showing me that everywhere means everywhere.
Thanks be to God!