Wednesdays with Gandhi

Its been great to see the interesting discussion that Jarrod has developed over the few weeks of writing on here!

He is away today mountain bike riding, but suggested I could post an article he wrote recently which you might be interested in.

Rather than repost it here I’ll simply give you the link and you can shoot across and dig into it.

So what does it stir in you?…

1 thought on “Wednesdays with Gandhi

  1. One proverbial soccer ball which winded be not long ago was hearing that someone put up a sign outside a church in Sydney which read, ‘God loves Osama bin Laden.’ I knew it to be true on a cognative level but when Istopped to think of what that would really mean for God to love Osama I get a bit phased. But then maybe I haven’t really thought of what it takes for God to love me, a sinner no less than Osama.

    It got me thinking about the nature of this love which God has for me and Osama. It must be like what you, Jarrod, say is required of us towards our enemies – that we not demonise them, that we recognise that they have part of the truth.

    So I wondered if God has that view of things in relation to me and Osama. That God wouldn’t demonise us I can imagine. What Osama’s truth is that God needs to hear, is a little harder to imagine, but then I don’t really know Osama. Me I know a little better and I like to think I have some truths I share in common with God. But a piece of the truth I have which God hasn’t, that’s hard to believe.

    That reminded me of that logical riddle the odd atheist or sceptic used to trot out – If God is omnipotent and omniscient, can God learn? I do think that loving and learning are very closely linked – a Albert Einstein said, ‘I believe love is a better teacher than a sense of duty’. A posture of love (listening?) will help us learn a lot about another person, especially what’s true for them, i.e. what their deepest feelings, needs and yearnings are.

    Your article also got me thinking of what Rene Girard has said about the nature of love – that it’s a kind of two steps forward, one step back kind of progress (my paraphrase) which is why, Girard thinks, God’s Spirit and ethic of love has taken as long as it has within human history to come to the surface. The logic (logos) of love won’t force itself on anyone – it has to be true to itself. It’s a bit like what I said in my previous comment to your musings about how to be truely doing God’s will – you’ve got to be able to accept a ‘no’, to be unattached to outcomes. God has been ferretting away at humanity for thousands of years, repeatedly getting a ‘no’ from us. But that doesn’t stop God from approaching us, nor does it mean God will force love on us.

    And again, while I’d find it really difficult because my ability to empathise is pretty low, I know that because Osama is a human being that he would have feelings, needs and values which are true for him. I’d just have to disagree with the strategies he uses to fulfil those needs, purely because they don’t fulfil needs of mine. I can see that loving my enemy is a possibility, in fact essential if both he/she and I are going to survive.

    God/Jesus taking sides? Certainly the liberation theologians have said God’s got a preferential option for the poor; and the Girardians among us describe it as God taking the side of the victim. But what is this side-taking like? If it leads to any tendancy for an ‘us vs. them’ dynamic, then I’m certain God’s not part of it. Certainly, God wants everybody to be on the one side – just like you, John Lennon and St John say, ‘that we might be one, with no boundaries’.

    In the meantime, God won’t condemn any of us or force us to change sides. God just keeps doing the two-step-forwrd-one-step-back dance with us in the hope that one day we’ll see the wisdom of thelogic of love as displayed in the life, work and death of Jesus.

    Cheers again. I hope you enjoy the mountain bike riding.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *