Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breaking Up With God (Part 1)

I am reading a new book by Sarah Sentilles, Breaking Up With God: A Love Story. I will tell you more when I finish, but I had to share this passage right away. Sarah writes about when a senior at Yale she takes a course, "Phenomenology of Religion", by Louis Dupre.

Dupre told us about Isaac Luria, a fifteenth-century Jewish mystic who believed when God created the world, he made an emptiness in himself. He made a place for otherness. He made himself vulnerable and weak. The creative act is an expression of a fundamental uncertainty. It changes God. It makes a hole in God.

I need God for all I am, Dupre said. And God needs me for all God is. God needs me to be God. God is the life force of everything that is, he said. God is everywhere, the core of everything that is. Most Christians and Jews are too afraid of pantheism to admit this, he said. Mystics are not afraid of pantheism. They know if God is not in the movement of my fingers, then God does not exist.

I speak to you as an older person, Dupre said. Life is a series of failures, and at the end, you die, no matter how successful you are. This life is flawed and fragile, and we are vulnerable. Life is no more than that. But religion says that the meaning of life is not in your narrow way of looking. Religion tells us we have infinite capacity.

Religion is this: the one thing able to tell you that you have any significance at all. pp. 64-5
I am looking forward to the rest of her book and to reading more about Louis Dupre.

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