An analysis of human interaction over history teaches us that there are two dangerous temptations each of us face when confronted by a stranger, i.e. by one who thinks and acts in a way that is foreign to our cultural or religious practices. The first is a desire to transform that stranger into our own image, endeavouring to eclipse and replace their cultural and religious practices with our own. The second is to exclude and reject the stranger entirely, viewing them as a threat which must be guarded against. In one the stranger is rendered into a clone while in the other they are made into an enemy.But even more compelling is the testimony of someone who is living this out, Kirstin, who continues to write more deeply each day at Barefoot and Laughing. Here is a small bit from a recent post, "Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now":
God is not a personified image in my head anymore, at all. I realized that, sometime yesterday. God is, simply, love, interwoven into every fiber of the universe’s being. In what appears as a sterile concrete jungle, flowers. In the last places you'd think to look, grace.Taken in its full context of what Kirstin has experienced to reach that realization, I suspect that her words reflect the answer to Peter Rollins's prayer: "I pray God, rid me of God." It's not an -ism, an ontological or theological view, it's living in and with God, who has no name, no face, no image but nevertheless who can be found everywhere, among the homeless, the hungry, the forgotten; among friends and enemies; in the darkness, shadowy streets, and blazing light; and in sickness and in health.
[Which makes "Father" even harder to say, and more ridiculous, when God is "Ground."]