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The Emergent Christ: Exploring the Meaning of Catholic in an Evolutionary Universe Paperback – May 18 2011
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that often--while reading it--one feels wondrously ecstatic.
MS DELIO gathers TEILHARD de CHARDIN's insights and infuses them with the latest scientific findings
as well as the wealth of thought from PROCESS THEOLOGIANS like WHITEHEAD and HAUGHT.
THE greatest gift this book offers is an awakened and revitalized HOPE for the human venture:
cynicism and despair are replaced by enthusiasm and reverence.
HERE's a taste from a book within which almost every paragraph sends one into joyous contemplation.
If there is a movement towards wholeness in the universe,
then it is first a movement toward wholeness of soul.
Wholeness is the integrated field of energy whereby
all bodies are joined together by a luminous thread of love.
This can take place only when each soul discovers its own power to expand
and hence its power to unite.
Cosmic-unity is first self-unity; this is the core of the Christian spiritual journey.
To participate in the flourishing of life in the universe is to discover first the inner universe;
indeed, the secret of the universe lies within.
Human action is to help evolution advance in every field of enterprise--
business, science, education, law, agriculture, social sciences, cultural and artistic pursuits--
all of which are involved in a transforming process much greater than ourselves.
We are not called to relate to a God without a world.
To love God we must also love what God loves.
We are called to love this created world as God loves it.
We are to help transform this universe in Christ by seeing Christ in the universe
and loving Christ in the heart of the universe.
The advent of science as a major voice in defining the nature of reality has forced religions of all stripes to look at their assumptions with a wider lens. Being informed by the power of scientific inquiry and discovery has, as this book demonstrates, opened an ongoing and profoundly creative dialogue between science and religion, offering religion an alternative between aping the methods of science to prove a God which cannot be "proven" with standard methodology, or, the even more disturbing and all too common practice of religions around the world retreating into the rigidity of fundamentalism.
This book is part of that still-in-its-infancy dialogue and its author is an impressive voice along the way. Articulate and complex, she never dumbs down her explorations and remains true to the major motifs of Christianity and most important, (least Christianity itself eventually become an example of natural selection and in clinging to a static universe, finds not the Kingdom, but extinction), she adds the necessary wider vision of possibilities given what we've learned about the universe in the last two thousand years.
While she offers little on how these innovative ideas may be dispensed to the larger Christian community (many of whom are Biblical literalists still searching for the garden where Eve's appetite led to the fall of humanity), to say nothing of non-Christian peoples, ultimately that's not the purpose of the book as I understand it.
Dante's universe evaporated long ago, a mist of dream and dogma with a God fashioned in the image of a Middle Eastern tribal chieftain. Delio writes: "Just as the psalmist marvels at the expanse of the heavens, we too must ask, how wide is our vision of God?"
Similarly, our understanding of what we have called God necessarily depends on our understanding of the universe. It would be unthinkable therefore to assume that even "...the creator God of an evolutionary, interrelated universe..." as Delio puts it, is the last word. Our ever growing knowledge of the universe will continue to change our models which ultimately inform religion. From Picasso's cubism to Einstein's E=mc2, the image of a static, if not complacent and anthropocentric universe has been disintegrating for over a century.
Emergent Christ provides a feast of ideas contributing not perfectly, but diligently, to an ongoing dialogue about the implications of being human in this vast and unfathomable universe within which we find ourselves wondering, discovering and creating ourselves anew with each epoch.