If you like the idea of adventure, if you don’t want to spend your days floating in a tiny boat called “My Knowledge,” and are willing to risk jumping into the vast ocean containing “Infinite Mystery”…then I’ve got a mooring for you. Here is where God resides, with an anchor weighty enough for firm grounding and yet light enough to change course gracefully.
Today, I wanted to look at an understanding of God as “the ultimate mystery of things, as the serendipitous creativity manifest throughout the universe…through which new forms and configurations of reality and life have come into being.” (Gordon Kaufman, God, Mystery, Diversity.)
Now, before your eyes glaze over and you exit the post, stay with me a minute. While this idea is different from our traditional views of God as Lord or Father, we are not talking about mystery here as some far out, non-rational construct. Harvard theologian Kaufman treads carefully upon the word mystery, stating the word “in its theological employment should be taken as a kind of warning that our ordinary ways of speaking and thinking are beginning to fail us and that special rules in our use of language should be followed.”
When we start our conversations about God, with an air of mystery, instead of an attitude of already knowing, God can emerge in dialogues with those from many cultures, dogmas, and religions, without fear of judgment. In lieu of God being perceived on the model of property (in other words, something that an authority figure has, that is passed down as a possession to another party, who receives and accepts it), God is liberated from our absolute and exclusionary conceptions that most of us have inherited.
Beliefs like: “I ‘get’ God and you don’t”, “God is on my side and not yours”, “God is saving me and not you”, “God is all loving but he doesn’t love certain groups of people”, etc.etc.) have no sea legs in mystery. They need walls and divisions to prop them up.
Without an agenda, God becomes the Vehicle that brings us to newly created ideas and truths that emerge in free conversation with one another. Conversation and not conversion becomes the paradigm for engagement with one another and a commitment to allowing the process to unfold, trusting that God will be continuously and serendipitously creating; and it is good.
The beauty of this concept is that God is presented as something that everyone has access to. The final outcome of any open dialogue is part of the “serendipitous creativity”, and this cannot be encapsulated by one stream of thought, as all participants contain but a fragment of the ‘truth’. They are fully engaged in working on expanding their consciousness together; with faith that what will emerge (which has no explicit directive) will be something greater, something more.
This fellowship of commitment to creative communication “about things seen and unseen” must be sharply distinguished from simply a fellowship of a common perspective. It is certainly more uncertain than a hierarchical approach to truth. But it allows God and humankind, in Mystery, the constant joy of creative expansion. This dialectical model “encourages criticism from new voices, and insights from points of view previously not taken seriously.” (Henry Wieman, The Source of Human Good)