6.9.08

Another gem from Simon Barrow on God and faith

See Ekklesia

By ‘God’ I mean a gift, giving and giver, transcending our description or manipulation, but nevertheless signalled and expressed in the self-dispossessing attention to ‘the other’ that we call love. This, I realise, needs some unpacking.

To believe in God is to live with (better, following Augustine, to ‘live into’) a passion for ‘the impossible’ (John Caputo) -- to live towards a degree of personal and communal transformation untamed by ‘what presently is’. This is an orientation which affirms rather than subjugates our deepest human longings for relationship, joy, beauty and truth.

Life in the presence of God, whose intrinsic completeness renders domination redundant, amounts, one might say, to ‘living beyond our means’.

‘Faith’, therefore, is not about submission to proposition, the refusal of reason or clinging blindly to dogma. It is the opposite of these things – it is a letting-go which goes on trusting beyond the ‘full-stop’ of certain kinds of rationalism, because it does not (and cannot) claim the power to impose limits on the love it encounters.

Faith is continual ‘reasoning with a mystery’, without allowing yourself to be deceived into thinking that you can have an adequate handle on either reason or mystery, or that you can abandon one for the other – the temptation of both the ideologically religious and the ideologically non-religious.

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