Divine Reticence

Divine Reticence July 17, 2018

“No answers given. No miracles offered. No blinding light to penetrate the darkness. No dogma or creed. No sectarian vision. Only silent prayer, through times of joy and pain.”[1]

Silence seems to be a constant reoccurrence in my life. Not just from “non vibrations” but also a sense of silent discretion. It seems to be a very subtle thing to really hear some encouraging epiphany when it comes to my state of consciousness.  In the good times or bad, all I hear is silent reservation banging through my mind and soul.  What does someone do with this type of reticence? As in, where is my answer and compass to the right path?

Let’s not forget the pains to the systemic injustices globally! I mean if we really wanted to feel a hopeless and void response from God, just listen to the news for five minutes…

As a practicing “Christian” (I use quotes due to the issue of this term in our culture via Author Matthew Distefano), it’s important to point out that experience plays a huge role into responding to silence. With that being said, I never heard, touched or smelt God. I really don’t know Her with my five senses. Dare I say, I may have “known” God by my sixth sense (hehe)? Well, hard to say, but I cannot deny a sense of connection with the Holy Divine. How, if not with my five senses, do I “know” God? Author and Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr defines this knowing as follows:

“Deep knowing and presence do not happen with our thinking minds. To truly know something, our whole being must be open, awake, and present.” [2]

Well, here is the paradox in all of this. I remember my first heartbreak, injury, kiss, victory, loss, etc., through the experience of my five senses.  Through these senses, is where I meet God. For example: When I saw my first child being born out of the womb of the woman I love, something happened to me that I had never experienced before.  All of my senses were in a whirlwind of perplex amounts of novelty, which in turn brought me to a place I never thought imaginable.

Guess what? While experiencing the birth of my kid, I never heard the voice of God, never felt the exact touch of Jesus’ hand on my shoulder or sensed the burning of the Holy Spirit in my bosom. In spite of this reticence, I still experienced healing, growth and beauty as all people have in one way or another when it comes to God. Author and Theologian Greg Boyd puts it like this:

“While I would of course reject his claim that God is nothing but a projection of humans, I think it is biblical and reasonable to concede that the way individuals and groups conceive of and experience God reflects the spiritual condition of their heart (along with a number of other factors, such as their psychological make up and their cultural conditioning).”[3]

So yeah, I did respond to a intense beautiful moment with awe and reverence. Why does it matter? Well, how I see it, this “flesh and blood” participation is a huge way in interacting with God (Rom 1:20, Job 12:7-10). In the Jesus tradition, we see various acts that come into play when connecting with God. One thing that intertwines us all is the way Jesus Christ treated the people around him. Loving without conditions has always been His creed, prayer and vision.

It’s in the reality of the material that we experience the spiritual. In the end, no matter how you experience the Divine, if we don’t love tangibly, then it’s all just meaningless banter…

“We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found him, we need no more seek him. . . . In the midst of this great chill there are some who will not be content with shallow logic. They want to taste, to touch with their hearts the wonder that is God. I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God.”[4]

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