A vulnerable god

»As long as we have the Zeus-notion of God that I mentioned earlier, we can’t make much progress. He is a power-hungry, remote-control god at the top of the hierarchy of gods, throwing down thunderbolts and favoring a very few chosen ones. He is always a he; he is almighty, but not equally all-vulnerable, as our Trinity is. Our collective and cultural understanding of God, I’m sorry to report, hasn’t moved much beyond the “Almighty God” language we took for granted; we haven’t realized that God has forever redefined divine power in the Trinity!

The Christian God’s power comes through his powerlessness and humility. Our God is much more properly called all-vulnerable than almighty, which we should have understood by the constant metaphor of “Lamb of God” found throughout the New Testament.

But unfortunately, for the vast majority, he is still “the man upstairs,” a substantive noun more than an active verb. In my opinion, this failure is at the basis of the vast expansion of atheism, agnosticism, and practical atheism we see in the West today. “If God is almighty, then I do not like the way this almighty God is running the world,” most modern people seem to be saying. They do not know that the Trinitarian revolution never took root! We still have a largely pagan image of God.

But once you experience this changing of the gods, you have a solid and attractive basis for Christianity as a path – a mystical and dynamic Christianity concerned about restorative justice and reconciliation at every level, here and now.

All you have to do today is walk outside and gaze at one leaf, long and lovingly, until you know, really know, that this leaf is a participation in the eternal being of God. It’s enough to create ecstasy. It is not the inherent dignity of the object that matters; it is the dignity of your relationship to the object that matters—that transforms object to subject, as Martin Buber famously put it, shifting from an I-It orientation to the world to an I-Thou relationship. For a true contemplative, a green tree works just as well as a golden tabernacle.«

Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation.

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