Do you remember studying Kant’s argument that God must be bigger than our biggest thoughts about him in undergraduate philosophy? And that anything smaller than that couldn’t be God? In this one aspect of his thinking, I believe Kant was right. And I believe that the ramifications of his thinking are more profound than we like to believe.
I was driving down the 205 freeway in Portland Oregon talking to a mentor of mine. In terms of faith this mentor couldn’t be further from me. He self-described as an atheist (though he is a non-practicing atheist; even as I was a non practicing theist). This is a side note but, it always struck me as funny that the Unitarians ordained atheists; but they do and my mentor was one of them. He called himself a humanist and rejected any intimation that he might be Christian.
As I was talking to him I said “David, isn’t it funny that I’ve learned more about Jesus from you – a non-Trinitarian, non-practicing atheist, than I did in all my years of Sunday school or college or seminary…? But then again, if God can use an ass to speak to the Israelites he sure as hell can use you to speak to me.” We both laughed. My statement was true. I had learned more about Jesus from this man than I had in seminary or Christian college, or Sunday school (well, at least as far as orthopraxy – and that is what counts).
Is God still big enough to speak through an ass? An atheist? A Muslim? A polygamist? A sex addict? An abuser? A criminal? A St. Bernard or a cat? Or a sunrise or a hailstorm? If God is bigger than anything we can imagine, He must be able to speak through these people and critters.
The reason we so often want to limit God’s voice to the Scriptures, a clergy member, or at least another believer is that our theology of the Spirit is wanting. We do not trust the Spirit inside of us to overcome our own narcissism and idolatry so that we can hear Him. This is simply bad theology because once again, it limits the size of God.
We need to rethink our theology here. On our way to becoming bibliolaters we threw away God’s ability to speak to our spirit through his Spirit through any medium He deems appropriate at the time. We have got to get back to allowing God to be God. We need to learn to listen to the Spirit speak to us as we engage all things in our world. He has plenty to say if we can make ourselves still enough to hear.
This is the brand-new covenant that I will make with Israel when the time comes. I will put my law within them—write it on their hearts!—and be their God. And they will be my people. They will no longer go around setting up schools to teach each other about God. They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” God’s Decree. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+31.31-34&version=MSG)
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