Where is God now?

“The SS hanged two Jewish men and a youth in front of the whole camp. The men died quickly, but the death throes of the youth lasted for half an hour. ‘Where is God? Where is he?’ someone asked behind me. As the youth still hung in torment for a long time, I heard the man call again, ‘Where is God now?’ And I heard a voice in myself answer: ‘Where is he? He is here. He is hanging there on the gallows…’
Any other answer would be blasphemy. There cannot be any other Christian answer to the question of this torment. To speak here of a God who could not suffer would make God a demon. To speak here of an absolute God would make God an annihilating nothingness. To speak here of an indifferent God would condemn men to indifference.”

Jürgen Moltmann

Anxiety

“The breakdown of absolutism, the development of liberalism and democracy, the rise of a technical civilization with its victory over all enemies and its own beginning disintegration — these are the sociological presupposition for the third main period of anxiety. In this the anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness is dominant. We are under the threat of spiritual nonbeing.

“In periods of great changes these methods no longer work. Conflicts between the old, which tries to maintain itself, often with new means, and the new, which deprives the old of its intrinsic power, produce anxiety in all directions. Nonbeing, in such a situation, has a double face, resembling two types of nightmare (which are perhaps, expressions of an awareness of these two faces). The one type is the anxiety of annihilating narrowness, of the impossibility of escape and the horror of being trapped. The other is the anxiety of annihilating openness, of infinite formless space into which one falls without a place to fall upon. Social situations like those described have the character of both a trap without exit and of an empty, dark, and unknown void. Both faces of the same reality arouse the latent anxiety of every individual who looks at them. Today most of us do look at them.”

[Source: Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952

-Paul Tillich

http://www.historyguide.org/europe/tillich.html

God above God

Paul tillich and the Ground of Being

“Paul Tillich was critical of the view of God as a type of being or presence. He felt that, if God were a being, God could not then properly be called the source of all being (due to the question of what, in turn, created God). As an alternative, he suggested that God be understood as the “ground of Being-Itself”.

He felt that, since one cannot deny that there is being (where we and our world exist), there is therefore a Power of Being. He saw God as the ground upon which all beings exist. As such, God precedes “being itself” and God is manifested in the structure of beings.

To give contrast to the common image of God as presence/being, he used the term “God Above God”.

Tillich appreciated symbols as the only way to envision something as meaningful and abstract as God. He saw God as a symbol, and appreciated the image of a personal God as a way for people to relate or respond to the ground of being. Likewise, he felt that, by re-envisioning stories that had been previously been accepted literally, major themes in Christian imagery could remain meaningful.

Tillich saw the root of atheism as rejection of the traditional image (of God as presence/being) and he thought that an alternative symbolic image could potentially be seen as acceptable.”

https://religiousnaturalism.org/god-as-ground-of-being-paul-tillich/

Ironwood

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Androstachys johnsonii (Lebombo ironwood), southeastern Africa and Madagascar

This ironwood railway sleeper reveals the life force which once flowed through the tree, before it was felled and sawn. Long dead, it yet retains a visual trace of it’s vital energy, like eddying water or swirling fire.

Who knows how long it served it’s purpose, bearing the weight of rails and trains somewhere in South Africa, Mozambique, or Zimbabwe?

How old is this piece of wood, and what history has it witnessed?

Life itself is glorious.

Quotes by Jürgen Moltmann

“When the fear of death leaves us, the destructive craving for life leaves us too. We can then restrict our desires and our demands to our natural requirements. The dreams of power and happiness and luxury and far-off places, which are used to create artificial wants, no longer entice us. They have become ludicrous. So we shall use only what we really need, and shall no longer be prepared to go along with the lunacy of extravagance and waste. We do not even need solemn appeals for saving and moderation; for life itself is glorious, and here joy in existence can be had for nothing.”

Jürgen Moltmann, The Power of the Powerless

 

The one will triumph who first died for the victims then also for the executioners, and in so doing revealed a new righteousness which breaks through vicious circles of hate and vengeance and which from the lost victims and executioners creates a new mankind with a new humanity. Only where righteousness becomes creative and creates right both for the lawless and for those outside the law, only where creative love changes when is hateful and deserving of hate, only where the new man is born who is oppressed nor oppresses others, can one speak of the true revolution of righteousness and of the righteousness of God.”

Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology

“God allows himself to be humiliated and crucified in the Son, in order to free the oppressors and the oppressed from oppression and to open up to them the situation of free, sympathetic humanity.” – The Crucified God

“The God of freedom, the true God, is… not recognized by his power and glory in the history of the world, but through his helplessness and his death on the scandal of the cross of Jesus” TCG

“Because of Christ’s prevenient and unconditional invitation, the fellowship of the table cannot be restricted to people who are ‘faithful to the church’, or to the ‘inner circle’ of the community. For it is not the feast of the particularly righteous, of the people who think that they are particularly devout; it is the feast of the weary and heavy-laden, who have heard the call to refreshment.”

Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology

“When the crucified Jesus is called “the image of the invisible God,” the meaning is that THIS is God, and God is like THIS.” TCG

 

“The thought of death and life after death is ambivalent. It can deflect us from this life, with its pleasures and pains. It can make life here a transition, a step on the way to another life beyond – and by doing so it can make this life empty and void. It can draw love from this life and deflect it to a life hereafter, spreading resignation in ‘this vale of tears’. The thought of death and a life after death can lead to fatalism and apathy, so that we only live life here half-heartedly, or just endure it and ‘get through’. The thought of a life after death can cheat us of the happiness and the pain of this life, so that we squander its treasures, selling them off cheap to heaven. In that respect it is better to live every day as if death didn’t exist, better to love life here and now as unreservedly as if death really were ‘the finish’. The notion that this life is no more than a preparation for a life beyond, is the theory of a refusal to live, and a religious fraud. It is inconsistent with the living God, who is ‘a lover of life’. In that sense it is religious atheism”

The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology

“Ever since the beginning of the middle-class era, with its faith in progress, belief in progress has dominated the upbringing of children too. Childhood now came to be understood only as the preliminary stage on the way to the full personhood of the adult… Every lived moment has an eternal significance and already constitutes a fulfilled life. For fulfilled life is not measured by the number of years that have been lived through, or spent in one way or another. It is measured according to the depth of lived experience.” -Childhood

The longer I have lived with this new hope, the clearer it has become to me: our true hope in life doesn’t spring from the feelings of our youth, lovely and fair though they are. Nor does it emerge from the objective possibilities of history, unlimited though they may be. Our true hope in life is wakened and sustained and finally fulfilled by the great divine mystery which is above us and in us and round about us, nearer to us than we can be to ourselves. It encounters us as the great promise of our life and this world: nothing will be in vain. It will succeed. In the end all will be well! It meets us too in the call to life: ‘I live and you shall live also.’ We are called to this hope, and the call often sounds like a command – a command to resist death and the powers of death, and a command to love life and cherish it: every life, the life we share, the whole of life.”

-Jürgen Moltmann, The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life

“The incarnation of God has really already given us a counterimage to the modern ‘human being as machine’ and to the artificial products of ‘performance’ and ‘beauty’. God became human so that we might turn from being proud and unhappy gods into true human beings,[35] human beings who can accept their youth and their age, and assent to the transitoriness of their bodies; human beings who know that life is more than performance, and that it is love which makes human beings beautiful.”

-Jürgen Moltmann, Ethics of Hope

justification of human acts of subjugation and violence maintains; `the earth is the Lord’s, and all that dwells in it’ (Ps. 24. z). Men and women can only treat what belongs to God with reverence and solicitude. If they respect God’s right of ownership to the earth, then their own rights consist simply of the right to use it. But use must preserve the integrity of property which isn’t one’s own. Otherwise it becomes usurpation. Because as creator God is present in all the beings he has created, a radiance falls on them from God’s glory, and they reflect God’s eternal light. We have to keep the life so transfigured by God holy if we human beings want to live. So we shall integrate ourselves again into the warp and weft of life’s entire fabric, from which we broke away so that we might dominate it. We shall acknowledge gratefully that we are dependent on nature, but that nature is not dependent on us; for nature was there before us and will still be- there when we have gone.

Between Christ and Machiavelli

Is the choice between Christ and Machiavelli,
or is the lesser of two evils an acceptable moral choice?

You Gotta Serve Somebody:
The Christian right’s Machiavellian morals

See the complete article by Dave Denison | The Baffler | http://bit.ly/2spI0EP

“under evangelical conservatism’s modern activist phase,
the precepts of honorable Christian living have intermingled with the raw imperatives of getting, holding, and exercising worldly power.”

“Donald Trump may have a host of right-wing Evangelical leaders willing to vouch for his chummy relationship with Jesus Christ, but that hasn’t stopped him from throwing his non-white Christian brethren under the bus. He’s certainly a pharaonic figure, but as Dave Denison notes, don’t expect the rest of the movement to turn on the Donald any time soon. After all, “under evangelical conservatism’s modern activist phase, the precepts of honorable Christian living have intermingled with the raw imperatives of getting, holding, and exercising worldly power.”

“No version of the kingdom of the world, however comparatively good it may be can protect its self-interests while loving its enemies, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, or blessing those who persecute it. Yet loving our enemies and blessing those who persecute us is precisely what kingdom-of-God citizens are called to do. It’s what it means to be Christian. By definition, therefore, you can no more have a Christian worldly government than you can have a Christian petunia or aardvark. A nation may have noble ideals and be committed to just principles, but it’s not for this reason Christian.”

– Gregory Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. from Boyd’s 2005 book, The Myth of a Christian Nation

“Machiavelli would shake his head sadly to see that Boyd was not won over by The Prince, but he would also no doubt agree wholeheartedly with Boyd’s point: that those who take New Testament teachings literally are in no position to lead the political march for nationalistic glory. All of which leaves the leaders of today’s Christian right unable to justify their nationalism in anything other than Machiavellian terms. Perhaps they might regain some desperately needed critical detachment by revisiting the testimony of Frank Schaeffer, the liberal son of Francis Schaeffer, the great movement theorist whose eighties preachments against the secular ethos roused the modern religious right into being. As his father neared the end of his life, the young Schaeffer recounts, he grew disenchanted with the evangelical insurgency’s cynical leadership; Focus on the Family impresario James Dobson and his fellow Christian right leaders, in the elder Schaeffer’s view, were “idiots” and “plastic” figureheads who only worshiped power. And sure enough, come 2016, Dobson was championing Trump as a recent evangelical convert—calling him a “baby Christian,” in point of fact. Somewhere, one can only assume, Old Nick is smiling broadly over his progeny.”