Abductive Columns

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


God is constantly exposed to the danger of being confused with religion; or someone's ego; or someone's politics; even somebody's gender. Religion is mostly our doing, not God's.

The story of Moses and Aaron is religion's story about itself. Religion (structurally speaking) occupied the place of Aaron and the golden calf—man-made idols. And like the day of Moses, idols subtly occupy a place in our culture. Buildings and institutions, theologies and hierarchies are today's stock in the idolatry trade.

We must keep our theological hammer handy for these idols—in the name of God. The idea is not to level these structures to the ground, because we need them, the way we need other structures made with human hands, but to keep them open-ended, revisable, honest, on their toes, always threatened and at risk.

If, as the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida once said, religion is like a raft sailing on an endless sea, then we must keep watch that we do not allow our preoccupation with the business of the raft to displace God's business.

Meister Eckhart said, "Pray God to rid us of god"; a prayer to the ocean of God, to rid us of the gods of the raft.


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