Sunday, June 26th, 5 PM
Away with God!
Confessions of a Non-theist
“I pray God to rid me of God.”
— Meister Eckhart (1260-c1328)—Non-dual Christian mystic / sage
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you” is the standard condolence message reiterated each time disaster strikes; such as the type of horrific act of human violence in Orlando that has become numbingly routine.
The father of a wounded survivor of that mass shooting tearfully relates to a cable news reporter how he told his son that the apple of his eye had evidently been spared by God for a greater purpose; and that the boy’s task now was to discover what that was.
As a father myself, my heart ached for the man who sought to make sense out of such senselessness. But with all such explanations, the unspoken question regarding those who were not spared the unspeakable consequences of human volition was left unanswered. What kind of a god is this?
Our conventional, cultural notion of “God” with a capital ‘G’ is a theistic one. It is about a “Supreme Being” who is transcendent; but who personally intervenes occasionally in what is otherwise intended by the same Creator to be the natural order of the all things. What kind of a god is this? More importantly, what kind of contrived human constructs result from such dangerous thinking that results in such adamant fervor that insists on distinguishing orthodoxy from heresy, true believers from infidels?
If, for example, a former Muslim converts to Christianity, sincerely accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and becomes a Presbyterian like Donald Trump, will they be allowed to enter the country?
While this is the kind of extremist (theistic) thinking that can result from such nonsense, a-theism (or its cop-out cousin, agnosticism) is only the flip side of the same dead-end debate that goes nowhere.
In the absence of a better label – and until something more comes along in this evolutionary thought process – this non-theist will confess and share what’s left. And what offers the possibility of so much more. Join us!
NOTE: This program topic is a complementary “interlude” to the Pathways topic begun in May on “The Way of the Mystic: The Path of Contemplation,” with Randy Thomas and Paldrom Collins. We hope and plan to have them resume some of the topics they’ve begun with the Pathways group in the near future.
Please RSVP if you can join us on June 26th!
Location: Bennison Residence – 2311 Walnut Blvd. Walnut Creek
Always a free event, open to everyone, but please RSVP: email@example.com Newcomers always welcome. The 2015 Calendar of Gatherings is here.
RECONCILING FALSE DIVISIONS
A Series exploring the Shared Abrahamic roots of Three Faith Traditions
Part I: Jewish Roots
A Presbyterian politician who wants to be the leader of the free world claims to have written a great book; second only to the Bible. He has promised to “protect Christianity,” and ban all Muslims outside the United States from entering. It remains unclear if he expects all radical Jihadists to self-profess at the border; instead of — say — swearing to be as Presbyterian as he is.
Beneath the superficiality of such political idiocy, an appreciative consideration of the shared Abrahamic roots of three great faith traditions might be helpful in finding ways to reconcile the false divisions that the most strident voices of ignorance seem to propagate.
This is the first in a series of commentaries that attempt in some small way to make such a modest attempt. It begins where it all began; with Jewish roots and the mythic Hebrew character of Abraham.
You can read more of what this might mean in this latest commentary Here.
In the last four decades, John Bennison has been a teacher, preacher, lecturer, trainer, carpenter, coffin builder, counselor, spiritual advisor, ethicist, writer and lyricist, musician and entertainer, assembly-line union worker, small business entrepreneur, residential real estate specialist, corporate cog and executive director of a faith-based non-profit organization.
He’s authored eight publications on faith and values, and as an ordained minister served as a parish pastor over 25 years. He earned his Doctorate from Claremont School of Theology, as well as his BA degree in philosophy and religion from Lake Forest College.
John contributes his leadership experience as Executive Director and Lead Teacher at Pathways, as he writes the Words & Ways commentaries and blogs on The Christian Progressive, engaging others everywhere in meaningful dialogue. He also volunteers as Director and President of the Mountain Shadow Film Society.
Meanwhile, John also continues to provide professional client services to buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the Bay Area area market (www.imaginecominghome.com).
Having raised two daughters, he resides with his spouse and golden retriever in Walnut Creek, California.