Posts Tagged ‘God’

God’s Holy Detachment- part two

August 5, 2017

So as my friend asked, does God practice holy detachment? I have had to think about this for a while. My first reaction was to say no, because that seemed like abandonment to me. ( see my discussion of detachment, here) I don’t believe God walks away from us. Ever. On the other hand, God doesn’t micromanage us either. As I spent time thinking about holy detachment, it seemed a helpful way for me to think about how God may be at work in the world.

Many Christians – myself included- believe that God does not coerce us. God doesn’t force God’s will upon us. God does not manipulate us. God gives us the ability to make choices. We have real decisions to make and we have real choices. We, and others, are affected the the consequences of the choices we make.

The doesn’t mean that God doesn’t prefer us to make some decisions rather than others. And certainly, God offers suggestions – through prayer, through the Bible, through the actions and ideas of other people.

But God does give us space. Space to encounter God. Space to wrestle with God (and ourselves). And space to ignore God. That’s the detachment piece. God cares deeply about the outcome and about us, but gives us the space, the room to make our own decisions.  With God the “space” isn’t empty. In that space between God’s desires for us and what we might do, in that space, is where the Spirit resides. I think, if we are willing, we can act more and more in conjunction with God’s will. We can live increasingly open and attuned to God’s presence.

On the other hand, God is not manipulative or unhealthily enabling. We are given the space to fail. We can fail, but we are never abandoned.

To quote Irenaeus, “The glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God” (Against Heresies, Book 4, 20:7) Holy detachment creates a relationship that is a loving beholding, between the fully alive human and fully present God.

In the Image

July 2, 2016

Often when we talk about what it is that makes us human, we talk about how we are different than other animals. We talk about upright posture, language, culture, self transcendence and so on. Our concern seems to be to articulate and establish our distance from animals.  Theologically speaking what makes us human, what makes us distinct is our responsibility for creation as bearers of God’s image and not whatever way we might be different than other animals.

It is interesting when God uses images and metaphors to describe God’s own self, God and the Biblical writers don’t have any problem comparing God to various animals.





God is even compared to plants and rocks. Apparently it doesn’t bother God to have some things, some attributes, in common with animals and even plants and rocks.God isn’t threatened or diminished by naming common ground with the animal world.

God appears to be perfectly comfortable saying, I have some characteristics in common with bears, and eagles, and lambs and even chickens.If God isn’t afraid to embrace a connection with the animal world, why are we?

Being part of the long process of evolution, sharing genetic material, sharing abilities and traits with the rest of the animal world simply doesn’t diminish us.  It does connect us in deep and wonderful ways. That animals make tools, teach their young, make lifelong friendships, play, mourn, and reason is a wonderful witness to the amazing creativity of God.

We don’t need to separate ourselves from the animal world. We can embrace our connection with other living creatures who are, like us, created and loved by God. We won’t be diminished. Our exploration of the interconnections in the animal world can be a way to enter into the creative mystery of God. It can be a pathway into a deeper relationship with God and the world where God continues to create and care and love.

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