By George Elerick
God is a metaphor for the realization that there are experiences beyond our words.
Theology, by definition, is “words” about a deity. Theology is something that is uttered between friends and enemies. At times, theology creates more enemies than friends. More wars than peace. More destruction than beauty.
As is, theology as a practice has become nothing more than a Mars bar. Something that makes us feel good. Something full of sugar to make us feel good. Something unhealthy if taken in high doses.
At one time theology was simply a branch of metaphysics, a branch of understanding about our being and the world-a philosophy built upon curiosity. To have curiosity we have to be willing to continuously hold our “theology” very loosely. I think the problem that has arisen is that theology has now become something with more gravity than it should contain.
Theology has become the new deity.
If theology is the new deity, than we need to allow space for the real Deity to speak and interact with its creation-the more we speak the more God seems to quiet. Maybe the reason why God seems so silent in comparison to the days of the Bible is because we think we need to speak to hear God.
We have become too comfortable with our theology, we have become too comfortable with our control. We somehow believe that control isn’t an illusion, and since we have come to believe the illusion of control we then try to force others into our worldviews about God.
This isn’t discussion, this is verbal tyranny. When we artfully attempt to convince others to believe what we should be, that isn’t sharing a theology, that is mental colonization, dare I say even-brainwashing! If I sound harsh, I apologize for the tone, I have incredible hope for those who follow after God, I speak with passion because I believe the people of God have wondered in the wilderness for far too long. We have had our over-extended 40 years, and now need to move into an era of milk and honey. An era where we back off and let God speak.
The more we speak the more we confess the reality that Christianity has become more gnostic than it wants to realize. If anything, Christianity might need to revert back to being a mystic expression of faith. A faith where we derive pleasure from being with God, and from being with others that enhance the divine spark within. We need silence to come out of the shadows and befriend us once again.
We can’t be scared of the dark anymore. If anything, we need to intentionally break the light bulbs. We need to turn out the lights. We need to remember what it looked like to grope in the dark for God. To remember what that felt like, what it looked like.
We need to rekindle the flame of unknowing.
We need to unname God. We need to unname Christianity. We need to unname theology, truth, the Bible, life, and all the things in between. We need to remove the idea that theology and understanding are going to save us. When we do that, then God can save us. When we do that we divorce ourselves from the need to feel in control of synaptic processes of trying to understand God. We can then let God teach us. Romance us. Woo us. We can then meet God on His/Her terms. We can then let go of the gods we have created in theology.
What we need is silence. The Latin word for silence is silentium. Silentium has many meanings, a few include obscurity, stillness and quiet. We need to rescue obscurity from the hands of theology. We need to rescue ambiguity from the Church. This doesn’t mean that we stop talking, what it does mean is that we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
What it does mean is that we come to accept the idea that our words fail at fully understanding God and what the being stands for and whose side He’s/She’s on. Maybe we can rest in the security that not knowing is a better theology than knowing. The more we know, the more we think we have arrived, and the more we have arrived, the less we need God. We need to embrace a sort of irreverant absurdity when we approach our human understanding(s) of God. If we don’t, we risk the possibility of taking ourselves too seriously…
…following a god that doesn’t really exist.
George loves the outdoors, singing in the shower, and doing underwater, synchronized pilates. Check him out at his blog.