Monday, August 06, 2007

Theology on Tap:Does God Happen to Everyone?

Theology on Tap - Does God Happen to Everyone?

The Rev. Kate Bradley led our pilgrims in a troubling conversation. Kate is always open and personal. She told us about her childhood experience of being encountered by a very tangible God. It was the beginning of her journey that has led her to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. But, the question was, does everyone have this kind of experience and if not, why not?

Carole offered the story of a 50 year-old friend who has lived a prayerful and disciplined life, hoping and longing for Kate’s kind of spiritual contact with God. Carole’s friend wants to feel that God loves him and knows him personally. Is that too much to ask? Her friend lives in the continued agony of aching for an experience that he has no hope will happen.

The conversation focused on the friend. Maybe he just hasn’t contexted his own experience in such a fashion that he could quantify such an existential moment? Maybe God has offered such an experience and he just hasn’t known it? Or felt it? Maybe it will happen?

We were told that in the book What Ever Happened to the Soul? by Warren Brown and Nancy Murphy that neuroscience suggests that the brain is either wired for spiritual experience or it is not. Spiritual experience, visions, can be provoked by neuro-stimulus. Maybe her friend just isn’t “properly wired.”

In all honestly that viewpoint was heartily argued against. Not necessarily from a scientific perspective but from the point of the limitations of the unseen God.

It was suggested that her friend had every right to beseech God about God’s absence. The Psalms are full of those crying out to God to be fully present to the experience of humanity.

We were told about Sister Theresa who lived her life without any ecstatic experience of God. She simply chose to live a life of daily obedience and service.

Obviously we didn’t come to any conclusions – we just shared lots of ideas and personal stories. Join in the conversation.

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