panentheism#2

Panentheism, in it’s simplicity suggests that we are all in God and God is in all of us yet it is crucial that we take the time together to consider what that really means.

The word pan-en-theism has been one of contention. Suspicion often emerges around any words that cause us to fear relinquishing control of the old ways of understanding that have ungirded a cultural bias that helps us maintain our status quo. Fr Richard Rohr says that Western theology in its attempt to preserve the transcendent end of the spectrum, (God is beyond or above the range of normal or physical human experience), invariably insisted on God as being separate, utterly beyond and different from creation.

This thought was prevalent in the monotheistic religions until a more immanent, or present consciousness started to emerge in the evolutionary thought of the new testament witness. This can be seen for example in the gospel of Luke where the idea of a distant Deity is demystified, as presented in the words of Jesus that the ‘kingdom of god is among you…even in you’

'Panentheism restates the sacredness of all things, the Divine in-ness in all things, the presence of God in all things, creation (Gk: basileia) as a Kingdom or Reign of God. Recovering this sacredness is to recover the relationship with this 'holiness of being’ - Matthew Fox

Growing in this relationship will mean redefining holiness as moving away from an extrinsic behavioural construct to a more intrinsic wrestling of becoming. The real transformation that defines me will be how I uncover the 'holy' treasure within.

wrappedhands.jpg

Panentheism is a reminder that the ‘indwelling presence’ is a call to share in the divine nature, a pathway to Theosis (divinisation). Don't be intimidated by the idea of what that could mean. When someone talks about 'union with the divine' our minds move to some kind of ethereal hyper-spiritual reality, when in fact it just means becoming more human, more fully alive, participating in the presence of God that resides in all things, after-all, were we not created in the Image of God?

The transcendent and the immanent are two sides of the same coin, so closely aligned that they cannot and should not be distanced by the need to minimise our humanity or maximise our God. Learning to become comfortable in a more unitive consciousness is the goal of a panentheistic theology; God in us and us in God

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are—I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one." - Jesus