Sunday, July 1, 2007

God the cosmic lover

One of the things I especially like about the David Lodge novel I'm reading now (Paradise News) is its central character, Bernard Walsh. He, like me, tends to be skeptical (or "sceptical"):
There weren't many jobs for sceptical theologians, and St John's College [in Lodge's own Yoknapatawpha County of Rummidge, England] had given him one. It was only part-time, admittedly, but he had hopes that it might eventually become full-time, and meanwhile they allowed him to live in one of the student rooms in the College, which saved him a lot of trouble and expense.
      He returned to his room and made the narrow, iron-framed bed, which he had left untidily rumpled in his eagerness to get out to the travel agency. He sat at his desk and took out his notes on a book about process theology he was reviewing for Eschatological Review. The God of process theology, he read, is the cosmic lover. "His transcendence is in His sheer faithfulness to Himself in love, in His inexhaustibility as lover, and in His capacity for endless adaptation to circumstances in which His love may be active." Really? Who says? The theologian says. And who cares, apart from other theologians? Not the people choosing their holidays from the travel agent's brochures. Not the drivers of the car transporters. It often seemed to Bernard that the discourse of much modern radical theology was just as implausible and unfounded as the orthodoxy it had displaced, but nobody had noticed because nobody read it except those with a professional stake in its continuation. [emphasis mine, p. 29]
My sensitivity to the final sentence—about nobody's reading stuff like Bernard is reading—had been heightened by my having just read Maliha's meditation on futile reading in her post of Friday...and by my uncomfortable awareness that the observation applies to the blabble that I write here about religion and other matters.


  1. Peace Moristotle,
    We are all capable of the highest splendor of nobility and the lowest impulses of hate/violence...isn't it simply a matter of self-mastery (perhaps or consciousness) that allows us to take one road or the other?

  2. I wonder if we literally all are so capable? I think of the child subjected to a viciously perverse "home life," children like those my friend of my June 24 post works with continually in Childrens Protective Services....