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Archive for March, 2012

“A church of whatever size or structure… will openly acknowledge the legitimate presence of doubters and seekers, not just at the margins but at the center of its religious life. But at the same time, it will not shy away from affirming the reality and goodness of God, the holiness of God’s creation, or the hope of fulfillment for those whose lives are blighted by the ravages of nature or of other human beings. And it will continue to offer—as an object of belief for some, a hoped-for possibility for others—the bold but at the same time modest offer of a connection to the one who, it proclaims, made present among us the infinite grace and compassion of the ultimate reality itself.” (Philip Clayton and Steven Knapp, “The Predicament of Belief,” 154).

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“This theory of divine action assumes an infinite divine-human asymmetry. God preexisted the universe and initiated the processes and the specific conditions that produced all living things, including human beings. God also precedes every instance of divine interaction with each human being and, one can assume, apprehends much more in the interaction than human agents so. God is always luring, and humans are always responding, although the responses may not be conscious.” (Philip Clayton and Steven Knapp, “The Predicament of Belief,” 63).

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Prayer, Context, and Hope

“God’s touch is not only conditioned by who we are becoming, but also by our surroundings. Indeed, if God acted toward us in a totally noncontextualized manner, how could God’s touch guide us given the fact that we, at least, are immersed in our contexts? If I am in a war-torn place, beleaguered by bombs and guns and hunger and cold, and if God touches me with possibilities that have nothing to do with the concreteness of my situation, how is God at all salvific for me? But in a relational, interdependent world, God not only gives to me and receives from me, but also gives and receives directly from every element in my environment. God knows my situation, better than I know it myself. And knowing my situation—my agony, my pain, my fear—God touches me where I am, offering me what forms of transformation are possible even in my dire circumstances. It may not look like much to me in terms of what I wish God could give me—but because God’s touch meets my conditions, it offers me hope” (Marjorie Suchocki, “In God’s Presence,” 25-26).

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Prayer: God uses us

“A relational God, then, depends upon our prayers. But in a world of interdependence, we must recognize that God may use us in answer to our prayers. When we offer ourselves to God though prayers of intercession… we do so realizing that God works through the world for the world. Through prayer, we open ourselves to conformity with God’s great will. And if God touches us at every moment of our lives with directive energy, and if our will joins God’s will in a care toward a particular personal or social situation for well-being, then there is no guarantee that God will not use us to bring about some aspect of that well-being. We risk being used by God as answers to our own prayers” (Marjorie Suchocki, “In God’s Presence,” 50).

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