We expect nature to be fixed and predictable; yet, we are constantly challenged by nature’s subtle playfulness. Buddhists speak of nature’s impermanence. Things change from moment to moment, never ceasing in the endless flow of life. The most apt word to describe nature is relationship. Life is relational all the way back to the Big Bang. A modern commentary on the Big Bang might begin: “In the beginning is relationship and out of energized relationships new life emerges.”
Speaking of God
Sister theologians and biblical scholars explore the quest for God in light of the global reality.
In the Scripture, widows more often than not were cast as helpless. But rereading this passage of Acts from the perspective of the Good News for the poor allows one to see the action of the Spirit in lowly situations. The action of the Spirit, transformed in these supposedly passive members of the primitive church, moved the story of the Christ-event forward and outside its Jewish enclave. Again the unusual power of women in shaping the Jesus movement continues to unfold as we pay closer attention to issues of gender in this passage.
There is much talk these days about the upcoming encyclical of Pope Francis on the environment. Scholarly conferences, workshops, articles, talk shows and interviews are focused on what the pontiff might say on the environment and the looming consequences of global climate change. It is an extremely important area to engage, since polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and the biological niches of fisheries and natural flora are radically changing. Ecology has become such a hot topic in the public sphere, especially among political and religious circles, that we have not paused sufficiently to ask, what exactly are talking about?
To be a creature of God is to be brought into relationship in such a way that the divine mystery is expressed in each concrete existence. Soul is the mirror of creaturely relatedness that reflects the vitality of divine Love. Love is not a thought or an idea, it is the transcendent dimension of life itself, that which reaches out to another, touches the other and is touched by the other.
We are coming to the end of the year when holiday celebrations overshadow the ongoing realities of war, poverty and violence. As we look toward a New Year, I would like to declare 2015 the Year of Love. I do not mean love as sentiment or emotion but love as the highest good, the deep relationality of being itself.
Read in the light of the recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the story of the man born blind in the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel is a marvel. Read in light of the Gospel story, aspects of the Synod open up and reveal possibilities for development. Like the religious leaders of the Gospel, many of the Synod fathers are used to beginning with traditional beliefs, in light of which they judge experience.
Several years ago I was a Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center working on questions in science and religion. One day the program manager appeared at my door and asked if I wanted some boxes of notes that had been taking up space in his office. The notes happened to be those of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
To bring science and religion together into a new unity requires a new level of consciousness, a new type of person, one who is free of the Adam myth and its corresponding misogyny. This is where transhumanism can play a profound role.
We need to wake up to this world in evolution and to realize there is much at stake here; we are either participating in the birth of Christ in evolution or we are mourning the death of the human species, of which God became a preeminent member.
Nature and technology are at odds today. “Nature is not an object that we must strive to overpower by our inventiveness,” scientist Alfred Kracher writes, “rather we ourselves are part of nature and need to acknowledge nature’s autonomy for the sake of our own survival.” Kracher argues that ecology and technology form competing myths and we are caught between these myths today.
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