Thoughts on New Year’s Eve

Carina NebulaAbout to turn over another page in the calendar.  Feeling stuck?  Like life and everything else is just going around in circles without ever getting anywhere?

Not technically true.

Consider this: as each day passes, our planet rotates on its axis and moves forward in its orbit around the sun.  Our sun is revolving around the center of our galaxy.  Our galaxy, along with hundreds and millions of others, is being thrust further and further out into space by the momentum left over from the Big Bang.

Technically speaking: it’s a spiral, not a circle.  You’ve never actually been to the same place twice.  Your life is going somewhere.

Taken metaphorically, this gives me food for reflection.

For the past few years, I’ve felt increasingly drawn to elements of Process Theology, expressed by the likes of John Cobb and Monica Coleman, and what is coming to be known as the Evolutionary perspective on Christianity, which I have discovered through the writings of Michael Dowd and Diarmuid O’Murchu.  As a result of this exposure, I find it difficult to espouse with much sincere conviction platitudes like, “God has a plan.”

It might sound especially strange to hear this from a Presbyterian, one of the theological descendants of John Calvin and the Westminster divines, all of whom were famous for their devotion to the doctrine of predestination.  But then again, our Reformed tradition is constantly and consciously reforma, semper reformanda (“reformed, and always reforming/being reformed/to be reformed”).

Absolute labels like Omnipotence and Sovereignty create insurmountable theological and philosophical problems for many people when applied to a theistic deity.  They can be barriers to authentic growth in faith.

Rather than believing in God as an all-powerful outside entity who controls everything according to a preordained plan, I have come to trust in the God who influences all things from the inside according to an evolving vision (or dream as I heard one friend put it), which is Love.  For me, the almighty-ness of God lies in Her infinite adaptability.  The victory of God is in the faithfulness of God.  In other words: God wins because She keeps adapting and never gives up.

Creativity in pursuit of Love is the hand of God at work in the world.

Reflecting on these theological thoughts in light of my opening remarks about the earth, sun, and galaxy, I get the sense that we’re all going somewhere, even though none of us (maybe not even God) is entirely sure where…

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