Weakness of God

“Suppose our thought of God is not domesticated by Sunday sermons by His Reverence or co-opted by ecstatic visions of a great military show of arms in a massive square, visions of the super eminent power of the supreme creator of heaven and earth, of the hyper-eminence of the arche?…

..Suppose that we reverse these gears and thrust theology in the direction of weakness and the disavowal of power?” John Caputo – The Weakness of God

We don’t have to talk for very long to see the influences he’s calling out here. Or the benefit of emphasizing God’s connection (not out of pity, or even sense of religious duty) with the marginalized and powerless of the world. Perhaps we’ve clung to, and over sold God’s nature of…well…what we would say “being God”. For many of us, that means things like “all-powerful”, and “over all things” (able to control, exert His Lordship, etc. etc…) Of course, with all of that in mind, it’s easy for us to swear our undying allegiance to Him. As the bumper sticker reminds us…”we win”.

But what about swearing our allegiance to the God of the weak? Not that God lacks in anything, but that God is so beyond needing to trump any “power” or “prove” Godself in any way that we could think of. That the real power behind God is not in winning some sort of triumphal “end times battle” where God and Darkness duke it out in a ring (located somewhere near Armageddon, right?) But the triumph comes in revelation of Truth. Darkness was/is powerless from the beginning.

That can certainly offer us freedom for how we exist even now.
As individuals. As a church. As the Church.
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7 responses to this post.

  1. I wonder if this is even too far: “But the triumph comes in revelation of Truth. Darkness was/is powerless from the beginning.”

    I think Caputo would say something like “Triumph comes in loss, in defeat, and in submission to the very real and destructive powers of Darkness.”

    And then he'd refuse to explain it away simply as “you see that just proves that Darkness ISN'T powerful” because that wouldn't be true either.

    I'm not sure I understand these ideas, but they make a LOT of sense to me in that 'God isn't what you expect–he's way crazier' sort of way.

    I really want to read that book, btw.

    Reply

  2. yeah..just wanted to make it easy to swallow for people who can't quite swallow the entire craziness

    Reply

  3. I can't help but wonder, though, if purposefully not making it easy to swallow is kind of the point.

    I'm not sure why that'd be, but Jesus seemed to do it all the time. And so does Derrida (and by extension, Caputo).

    Maybe the alienation/confusion is important somehow.

    Reply

  4. But to jump straight from the dueling forces to a new picture. A God who is an event less ABOUT power than God is beyond (below) power….could be just a leap into crazy town…without much to offer beyond a quick disagreement, or confused “huh?”

    For the average believer, I think the realization that God and evil aren't duking it out with the prizebelt being eternity – is a pretty large deal.

    Even if Caputo wouldn't say it. I did. There's enough opportunity for confusion following that swallow.

    Reply

  5. of course, I can see your point. I suppose it does still end up going in the direction of “we win” theology.

    Reply

  6. Right. And maybe the whole point is to stop thinking in terms of 'we win.'

    One of the ways to do that is to embrace the 'we lose' mentality.

    It's confusing and alienating, sure. But that didn't stop Jesus when he told people they had to literally drink his blood and eat his flesh.

    and, in fact, alienating and confusing people might just be a great to embrace a 'we lose' mindset.

    Reply

  7. I'm still not sure about embracing “we lose”. Something else…

    Reply

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