Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hope-giving spirituality according to Fr Albert Nolan

Fr Alber Nolan, author of Jesus before Christianity, spoke today in
Potchefstroom on hope-giving spirituality. He defines our mission today
as, more then ever, to give account of the hope that is within us (1 Pet
3:15). He recounts how we are experiencing a terrifying shift from an
age of hope to an age of hopelessness. Many things we've put our hope in
has failed us, whether is has been scienctific and technological
progress, or religious movements, like the Reformation or vatical
Council II, theology of liberation or even Madiba magic.

There is only one unshakable foundation and that is God and God alone.
What have people been hoping for, though ?
Heaven, Second coming, the coming of the Kingdom ? It sustained many,
yet it doesnt sustain many Christians today anymore. Hence we need to
revisit our eschatology.
A better life for all ? World peace, elimination of suffering? transcend
our selfishness.
Perhaps, changin the unhealthy discourses.
Some people have just one hope: the survival of the earth community.
The earth and human species are under threat. The hope is: at least we
will survive.
Sometimes it is narrow and selfish: me, my family, church and nation.
Gods will be done on earth

A hope-giving spirituality, then, would be a spirituality that deepens
our sense of the reality of God. Yet for many people God is dead:
despite their profession of belief, in practice God plays no role in
their lives at all. We cannot blame them for it: the images of God
(punishing judge, supreme male patriarch, the all powerfull manipulator,
etc) is hopelessly misleading. Hence for hope we must unlearn these
images of God. We should not worship images(idols) of God.

We need a re-enchantment of God. The removal of mystery lead to the
death of God. Our way to the mystery of God is not knowledge. Hence, my
relationship to God is wonder, being enthrawled, being marveled. The new
cosmology, away from Newton's mechanistic machine cosmology towards
Einstein, the mystery. Then the next step is worship and adore God- we
can only bow down and worship- we are in teh presecne of some so much
bigger then what we are. One we've done that, then trust and confidence
in God comes forth- we believe what jesus taught us... God becomes like
a personal lover... an expreience of love. This is prayer, not knowledge
or theology. It a relationship.

Gods work:
As we put our trust in God we teh start to see God at work everywhere,
at the most unexpected places and in the most unlikely ways. God is at
work everywhere. its very mysterious, yet we know God is in control.
Jesus invites us to participate in Gods work, This is our mission. we
dont know ewhat the future holds but we know- Gods work will continue
into the future- here lies our hope: Gods work will continue.And this is
what we give account to: of the God we trust. Evene if we dont
understand and see hiw work yet, we believe in his work.


Marvin said...

Thanks for sharing Albert Nolans lecture with us. Very good notes, Father Nolan is one of my favorite priests. Jesus before Christianity and his latest books have a rung a bell in my heart.

Much love, success, and happiness

Reggie said...

Marvin, his latest book, Jesus Today, is an excellent read. He still commands respect after all the years.

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