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Sunday, November 30, 2003


More recommended reading by Matthew Gatheringwater:

I don't think calls to ministry come only from some kind of happy place, some denominational cheerleading section of the soul, or something that can easily be cut and pasted onto a resume. If it were that easy, it wouldn't be ministry; it would just be a job.

What follows is really good. Especially this:

[T]here are deep wellsprings of life pent up all around us, trapped under rocks, condensed into clouds, frozen in the ice. And what I worship cleaves the rock and makes the rain and melts the snow. It is a god of transformation: changing tragedy into humor, water into wine, life into death and life yet again. It never stops calling and I think it calls to you every bit as much as it calls to me.

Read it.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 30 November 2003 at 4:27 PM

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November 30, 2003 04:55 PM | Permalink for this comment


There might be room in here (unless you've already done it) to talk about Matthew's announced "atheism" in the face of the statement he just made. I suspect that the god he rejected and the one I rejected are the same.

Matthew Gatheringwater:

December 2, 2003 08:44 PM | Permalink for this comment


I'd be interested in hearing more about your theology - or perhaps I should say your atheology!

One of the reasons that I am a religious humanist is because I think that people have a need - perhaps even a biological need - to address issues of connection to ultimacy. Religion is the rich context in which this connection has usually been explored. To reject religion (because it is "made-up" for example, as some secularists do) is to reject some of the best things human culture has so far achieved. I'm not willing to do that. And so I explore the language of reverence. Gods are "real" at least in the sense that they are powerful symbols that shape the human response to life. That may be as real as they need to be for some people.

I guess you could say that I worship the gods that I create. Some theists would say that is no God at all. And I wouldn't argue.


December 4, 2003 04:21 PM | Permalink for this comment


I can only describe my theology as thoroughly Rahnerian, which would make me a panentheistic mystic.

I'm bemused by your remark about "theists who deny the existence of God." This is a tautology and I've certainly never heard of such a one.

Matthew Gatheringwater:

December 4, 2003 08:45 PM | Permalink for this comment


I make no claims to be tautology-free, but I think your comment must reflect a slight mis-reading. I'm not describing theists who deny the existence of God; I'm saying that some theists would take issue with the gods I imagine. From their perspective, talking about god as a symbol or metaphor or creative potential is not talking about the God in which they believe. And they would be right. Exploring a language of reverence doesn't make me into a theist. That's all.

I don't know anything about Rahnerian theology. Can you recommend a good place to start learning about it?


December 5, 2003 02:08 PM | Permalink for this comment


For Karl Rahner, I suggest that you start with secondary sources, as the man is damnably difficult to read. His student, Harvey Egan, SJ, is one of his finest interpreters. I recommend Karl Rahner: Mystic of Everyday Life in the extraordinarily valuable Crossroads Spiritual Legacy series (lots of quotes from primary material.)

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