When God Redefines The Possible

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It is also what physicists now call "zero point energy" -- the infinite energy existing at every point in space. They are discovering that it is conscious and that it non-locally records all information ever produced in the universe. This Conscious non-timespace energy is vaster than our local universe. It can and does transmute itself into electromagnetic energy, and, in turn, matter, in the creation of universes such as ours, though it can also create itself into other pure energy patterns in a myriad ways they include angelic realms, for example, and all the "worlds" we exist in between lives, and eternally.

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This All-That-Is God Source is perceived as I-Am from the perspective of the local consciousness created in beings such as you and me, when we go into meditation, expanding our little consciousness into the Great One we are all part of. In this state we not only perceive union with God, we transcend our local selves such that we recognize ourselves as God. Our universe appears to be a learning universe. I like to say its basic principle is "Anything that can happen, will happen," and so it learns what works well and what doesn't.

Evolution is an improvisational dance, keeping the steps that work and changing those that don't. As I cannot separate God-as-Cosmic-Consciousness from God-transmuting-into-material-universes, I believe our learning universe implies a learning God -- God learning to know the nature of Self through exploring its possibilities and learning to reflect on that Self. Exactly as we, God's human reflections, learn to do!

In other words, Cosmic Consciousness begins as Unity and divides into Complexity a stage at a time -- at least from our human linear time perspective -- as it embodies itself in vast varieties of energetic and material forms. In non-timespace, which physics now knows to be the more fundamental nature of the universe, all possibilities exist together in complexity inconceivable to us humans.

I believe we exist as non-physical beings which incarnate intentionally, according to particular intentions for learning in each life, but that our "higher selves" are present non-physically throughout our lives. We weave our birth-to-death lifelines through the endless possibilities by the choices we make from moment to moment, each constraining the succeeding choices. From the perspective of non-timespace, all our lives together are like a kind of lotus flower, with each life one petal, one way of playing out a theme chosen by our soul entity or higher self. Some of our incarnations may be simultaneous in the linear timeframe, others are a historical sequence.

Each "petal" is in soul communication with each other; thus our many lives can influence each other. Recall that early Christianity included the belief in reincarnation; I believe the Church changed that to gain more control over people's lives, just as Jesus told us we could reach God directly and the Church made priests not assistants but necessary channels to God. All nature is thus conscious in my worldview, and all of it has access to non-timespace; all of it is an aspect of God.

The acorn knows the oak tree it will become. They shared their papers and publications with the group, some in advance and during the consultation. Such a variety of concerns, expertise, perspectives, contexts and experiences, made this theological consultation multi-disciplinary in content and down-to-earth in approach. The task of the consultation was to raise pertinent questions by analysing the complexity of the issue of power today and to identify relevant theological challenges for further exploration.

As such this consultation was not meant to arrive at conclusions, but needs to be seen as a beginning of, perhaps, an ongoing process of reflection. The participants found their way into this process of collective reflection through morning worship services. In his meditation on the first day, Martin Robra from Germany unpacked the moral challenges posed by the processes of economic globalisation and highlighted the alternative visions of the resistance movements as he reflected on the texts from Habakkuk and Mark 13 On the second day, Hope Antone from the Philippines drew the attention of the consultation to traditions, cultures, structures, theories and theologies, including those atonement theories that lend legitimacy to the abusive power of men over women as she reflected on John ; Gal.

On the third day, Guillermo Kerber from Uruguay focused on the power of silence which is often exercised in a spirit of resistance as he reflected on Matt. On the fourth day, Najla Kassab from Lebanon expounded on the life-affirming potential of the power of service as against the power of domination as she reflected on Mark In order to clarify the issue and the concepts that are involved, the consultation spent nearly one and half days organising its conversation under three broad headings.

These were: Rationale for a new ecumenical discourse on power; An overview of the notions and trends of understanding power in today's world; and An examination of the biblical and theological models of power. Discussion on these issues were initiated by three presentations.

Konrad Raiser, the outgoing general secretary of the WCC, in his presentation on the Rationale for a new ecumenical discourse on power, elaborated on the way the issue of power has been at the core of some of the major milestones in the ecumenical journey.

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He outlined three major phases. The first was the period from Oxford Conference on Church, Community and State to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam in during which the ecumenical discussion focused on the understanding of the state and the concern for the legitimacy or the limitation of the power of the state in view of the emergence of totalitarian rule.

This has resulted in Amsterdam proposing a clarified concept of power through the definition of the "responsible society". During the second phase, the ethical discussion was marked by the effort to interpret "rapid social change". This implied a gradual shift of attention from the power of state and government to the new forms of power related to technological development and their capacity to orient and implement decisions. It also acknowledged the emergence of "people's power" as a new reality. The third phase is in the context of the discussions on a "just, participatory and sustainable society" which upheld that the struggle for justice requires a new understanding and praxis of the political order and the use of power.

This implied an exploration of options which Christians and churches must take in their political witness and the biblical and theological bases for such. This phase culminated in the World Convocation on JPIC in Seoul in which issued ten affirmations of which the first one was that "all exercise of power is accountable to God". Raiser argued that the present global realities require a new exploration.

This is due to the process of globalisation which has accelerated the concentration of power into the hands of a limited number of global players and the erosion of the traditional notions of sovereignty and thus of the power of the state. Raiser then went on to present four major concerns that need to be addressed. These were: revisiting the understanding of power itself; the issue of legitimacy of power; new forms of distribution of power; and a renewed and critical theological analysis on the ultimate horizon of power. Raiser concluded that any ecumenical theological response to the concentration of power in the context of globalisation and the critical discussion about its legitimacy should return to the alternative biblical symbolism of power in order to give shape to alternative visions where love of power is replaced by the power of love.

There is an urgent need to work towards a global political ethic. How do we strengthen structures of accountability, such as the UN? What can the ecumenical movement do? How can the goal of achieving human security based on the affirmation of mutual vulnerability be presented as an alternative to military security that draws on certain notions and resources of power. What are the limitations? How do we check the influence of the ideologies of nation-states on international and economic politics?

There is a need to work towards understanding sovereignty and power in relationships in terms of relationships rather than in terms of possession and strength. A theological reflection on power demands that we take seriously the oft-neglected political dimension of Christian witness. How do we deconstruct the image of God as almighty and omnipotent? We also recognise that the deconstruction of models of dominating power is also a continuous process right through the biblical story. How do we reclaim this tradition? What are the complexities of reasons that compel churches in many places to bless economic and political powers?

How convincingly can we propose the trinitarian model of power in the face of the compelling power of the trinity of empire, globalisation and the war against terror? Ken Booth, professor of international politics at University of Wales, focussed his presentation on the way power is understood in the world of politics. He then elaborated four key disputes: Where does power come from?

How can power be measured? How can power be categorised? Does power reside in structures or agents?

Booth held that power politics operate according to the dictates of the reasons of power. Power is the reason for 'who gets what'. It is the power to achieve the naturalisation of social and political ideas, to have one's own cherished social and political preferences and interests accepted as primordial or unchangeable. The drivers of the global economy the principles of capitalism and of the states system the principles of political realism represent the common sense of their structures because they embody the interests of the powerful, by the powerful, and for the powerful.

He goes on to argue that for the 'power of reason' to triumph over the "reasons of power," an interrogation of power is essential. First, the instrumentality of power must be interrogated. When power is understood instrumentally, it is desired, sought, and amassed for what it can do. Secondly, the paradoxical nature of power must be understood. It is both an opportunity and a threat, for its holders and those around. When instrumental reason rules, the ends justify the means in a remorseless logic, allowing decision-makers to operate independently of moral constraints. The 'means' can then become an instrumental tyranny that threatens to destroy the 'end' sought.

Booth used Joseph Nye's phrase "end point utopia" to describe this conception of power. End point utopias ignore the ethics of the means because they are focused on the virtue believed to reside in the utopian goal. Booth suggests Nye's concept of "process utopia" as an alternative that best embodies the new understanding of power he advocates. Process utopias nudge history forward using means that are appropriate to the ends sought. Utopia is present in the process itself, not simply at the end point. To illustrate, Booth presented a Gandhian model that brings the ends and means into a life-affirming harmony.

With Gandhi, Booth held that to practise ahimsa non-violence is to realise truth and to realise truth is to practice ahimsa. The test for every policy should be, therefore, whether it contributes to the de-legitimisation of violence as an instrument of politics, and ensures accountability to international institutions. It will only emerge, in time, through the progressive humanisation of policies.

How do we analyse and counter the sources of power of a powerful minority in a context of hostile and disempowered majority such as in the Middle East? What are the options for peace and non-violence in such contexts? Powerlessness sometimes and in some cases may result in irresponsible actions.

Powerlessness also inspires radical action, although sometimes in violent ways. How do we address this phenomenon? Where do we draw the lines between individual and collective power while understanding people's power to limit hegemonic powers? Theologians must listen to social scientists. It is tragic and even offensive if theologians close their eyes and ears to empirical realties.

There is a tendency among some to overestimate the church, assuming that the church is an embodiment of peace and the world is all full of violence and injustice. The church is a sphere of peace in terms of its calling rather than in terms of actual achievement. We need to desist from making triumphalistic claims.

VI attempted an elaborate critique of the power of the powerful as he unravelled the power of the powerless in the Biblical stories. His presentation was a creative attempt to re-read some Biblical stories from the perspective of the powerless and the disempowered. Even as it gives glimpses of the power of the powerful, for Sanchez the Old Testament is primarily a story of the sufferings of the powerless, whether as slaves or as the poor and the widows. It presents two types of the powerful: those who oppress and those who fail to empower the oppressed and the vulnerable.

He developed his argument with the book of Judges as the point of engagement as it reveals the confrontations of different notions of power. Throughout the Bible, God plays practically all roles. As a powerful monarch and Lord of the universe and human life, God creates, gives life and nurtures. God liberates a group of slaves from Egyptian oppression. Actually, God's power to destroy is aimed at punishing those who use their power to destroy the lives of people, and especially the poor, the oppressed and vulnerable. To that extent, king is always seen as one who is entrusted with the responsibility of the poor.

Sanchez then presented the alternatives to the abusive notions of power by highlighting the power of the powerless. Samuel and David were still young and were not confident when God called them. It was the young girl from Israel that made Namaan become childlike. Jael was a woman in Judges who changed the odds against her into the opportunity to defeat the enemy.

Ruth used her personal power to take control of her life, her mother-in-law's and other people's. Jephthah's daughter in her powerlessness experienced the solidarity of the community of women who supported her as person and as woman during the time of great need.

Sanchez further elaborated the power of the powerless in the Bible by drawing on the image of children as the inheritors of the kingdom. God's incarnation in Jesus Christ is a unique revelation of divine power in service of peace, non-violence, justice and love.

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In Jesus Christ, God declares that God's self does not only act on behalf of the poor and the oppressed, but decides to become one of them. God comes into this world not as a mighty warrior, or as a clever and powerful politician, but as a child in total vulnerability, was born in the midst of poverty, grew up as member of a poor family, and lived among the poor. Jesus' alternative to dominating power is the power of service.

When the disciples of John the Baptist requested Jesus' credentials, the answer was: 'in my ministry and mission, the poorest of the poor are my priority' Mt Thus, when Jesus explained to Pilate what Jesus' kingdom was, he says: "My kingdom is not from this world" Jn Doctrinal theologies seem to uphold a perception of God's power as unlimited, destructive, and dominating, perhaps expressive of egotism, fear, suspicion and arrogance which are common to all structures and systems of power, including the ecclesiastical ones.

We hear so much power language in our churches. We are constantly confronted with texts about the power of God in our hymns, liturgies, sermons, prayers, etc.


As one participant said: "Sometimes it seems to me that we must have crash helmets distributed before we go into church". These powers are coming alive again, pressing religion and religious language into service to legitimise their ideologies of domination and violence. Where do we place or how do we understand the "power" that some Christian spiritual traditions, such as the Pentecostals, affirm? Exodus is not just once but it happens all the time in many histories. How do we discern and align with such movements of the spirit? Jesus' attitudes towards women are often ignored by many preachers.

However, the Bible liberates and also imprisons. There are no clear typologies. How do we account for the power of perception? Some writers give no names to some women, e. We must recognise the power of the oral world and bring it to confront the power of the literati. Dunamis is present throughout all creation. We encounter justice and peace as the flourishing, nurturing power of God as against domination and violence which signify the withering power of the world.

Adamah is the actor; the earth cries when Cain kills Abel. How do we interpret the texts from the perspective of the disinherited? Are we prepared to read other scriptures or listen to the cries of the victims along with the Bible? We need to be in dialogue with the life-affirming traditions in the Bible.

Perhaps the Faith and Order needs to take up this challenge. Against this background of discussion on a variety of issues from and following the presentations, the participants were helped by two facilitators to arrive at some broad categories for further exploration in groups. While affirming the importance of other issues that had to be dropped, the group used the following criteria to agree upon thematic foci for their work in groups: the relevance of the issues for the ecumenical movement and the churches, the urgency of the challenge and its unexplored nature.


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The thematic foci were:. The group also agreed on the following set of common questions to guide the discussion in groups during the next one and half days. The participants also fed into the discussion insights from the preparatory material. The following are brief summaries of the reports from groups, revised in the light of the plenary discussion that took place following their presentation:. The power of interpretation is a matter of concern because there is often a disconnection between the world as many experience it and the world as it is presented by the most dominant individuals and institutions.

Interpretation is key to the power to understand and represent reality. It becomes problematic when it is allied to systems of domination, to social systems that produce certain kinds of knowledge that control, alienate, subjugate, fragment and neutralise. It is these distortions of knowledge that prevent humanity from discerning clearly the signs of the times.

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We are thereby distanced from truth, goodness and justice, and diminished in our capacity to live and to let others live life abundantly. This power of interpretation permeates many dimensions of social reality.

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For example, mass media's power to interpret includes the ability to consolidate and manufacture information; to make alternative information invisible; and to distort or deprive authentic information. Who controls the "paper" or medium carrying the message?

Who controls image? Who has the power to determine what goes on the agenda, what is kept off it, what is subjected to deliberate "spin", and who will account for those communities that are excluded by the sophistication of the mass media? We need to recognise that systems of domination tend to sustain themselves by appropriating interpretative power.

This power allows them to generate knowledge that attempts to infiltrate the common sense of communities. The power of independent interpretation itself is stifled in a process of continuous negative feedback. Common sense itself then is degraded, language is co-opted by the people in power, and the rest "dumbed down" because they have been deprived of authentic relationship to their own symbolic power. Driven by marketing and advertising, this is exactly what mass media does. These together produce passive consumers identified with packaged self.

However, it must be mentioned that consumerism is an operational necessity for the kind of economy we have opted so far. Furthermore, consumers are not passive dupes but are quite discerning. Be that as it may, consumerism arises out of and promotes individualism and self-aggrandisement. These pursuits prevent people from discerning truth, goodness, justice and fairness. Symbols play an important role in interpreting power as they socially mediate reality and thus both focus and channel power.

It is true that symbols have the power only to the extent that the interpreter allows them to have, but it is equally true that power is all the more effective when it is accepted unthinkingly and symbols ensure this response. It is precisely because of this gap between the symbol and what it signifies that the power of interpretation is germane to power generally.

Such symbolic power can literally help us to connect with, or be alienated from, the greater whole. Jesus' words about interpreting the present time and having the courage to judge for ourselves what is true or right are therefore insights about how we engage with symbolic power Luke By perverting the perception of reality and, Jesus suggests, cultivating hypocrisy , evil leads us into collusion with corrupting the structure of reality.