Friday, September 22, 2006

God? Again?

"Every (Christian) is committed and alienated; (they) are always in faith and in doubt; (they) are inside and outside the theological circle. Sometimes one side prevails, sometimes the other; and (they) are never certain which side really prevails....Whether this is true does not depend on (their) intellectual or moral or emotional state; it does not depend on the intensity and certitude of faith; it does not depend on the power of regeneration or the grade of sanctification. Rather it depends on being ultimately concerned with the Christian message even if (they) are sometimes inclined to attack and reject it." Paul Tillich

At our last Peregrini we dove head long into an intense discussion regarding God. It became a very personal exploration of the possibility of experience. Personal stories told all around of hearing in different ways the unseen God. It appeared that most of the stories were about seeing the unseen God in the people that are all around us, everyday, especially the poor and the powerless.

Joan Chittister wrote, "....Why so much attention to the human? (It) is because in the human is the only place we can really be sure that God is. It is so easy to love the God we do not see but it is so much more sanctifying to serve the God we learn to see in others....We empty ourselves out so that the presence of God can come in, tangible and present and divinely human."

The questions keep coming and the certainty is illusive. For most, certainty is not a desired goal or even a remote possibility. Certainty seems to offer only arrogance. The more solid the certainty and confidence of absolute assurance maybe the more deep seated the fear in the existence of the certain one?

The writer of the New Testament book of James offers this, "the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who seek peace."

This questioning of God, for the Peregrini traveler, is something of an inner journey, one that seeks peace and gentleness. And it is a journey that we recognize we can venture alone. We need community. We must walk together. It is in each of you, sisters and brothers, that I personally see and know the unseen God. Certainty? Only in the faces of your souls.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


God? The original Peregrini question. So, we felt the need to return. Not in circular fashion, just a re-visiting; an intentional path on the pilgrimage. Like going to see an old friend.

Such a serious question drew quite a gathering. The evening was pondering and at times heavy.

Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, was interviewed in the most recent issue of The Sun. "Even if you had a detailed story about the essential purpose religion has served for the past fifty thousand years, even if you could prove that humanity would not have survived without believing in a creator God, that would not mean that it's a good idea to believe in a creator God now, in a twenty-first-century world that has been shattered into seperate moral communities on the basis of religious ideas....I can even be more inflammatory than that. If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion. I think more people are dying as a result of our religious myths than as a result of any other ideology."

This quote shaped the conversation around the question, "Do you believe in a creator God?" or, "Do you need a creator God?"

Consensus was impossible nor was it necessary.

The conversation had such a wide range of approach, feel and intellectual context for us as individuals and some corporately. So much so, that we are going to attempt to approach this ground again next week - September 21 7:00 pm at Fair Trade Cafe. All are welcome.