We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.
Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
While a brief foray into the wild world of the Web, didn't turn anything up, I assume that someone in the world of theology has made a connection between the idea of serendipity and the way God works in the world. For me, the whole idea of God's involvement in human affairs has always been problematic. For one thing, we inhabit the tiniest speck of a grain of sand in the immensity of the universe. Why would God even be interested? More to the point, within the limitations of our biological programming we do have a fair degree of freedom, and most Christian theologians agree that God "respects" our freedom. If that is true, then God's ability to act is severely limited. Still more to the point, it makes no sense whatsoever to blame God for the ugly, evil things that happen in life as do many faithful Christians. If God was in Christ, then God doesn't work that way.
So, how does God work in our lives and in human history? Just suppose for a moment that God the Holy Spirit has an unusually refined (divinely refined!) ability to work serendipitously. The Arab Spring presents an interesting possibility. After generations of suffering under oppressive misrule, a street vendor in Tunisia sets himself on fire to protest local injustice, and then the Spirit goes to work making connections and the result is the Arab Spring. Only the Spirit could make the connection between a vendor and a regional revolution for justice and freedom. I'm still working on this, but it does seem to me that the God who is Present in our lives lurks in places where most of us don't see the divine lurking, tugging at our hearts and minds, making connections that we don't make without inspiration (meaning the indwelling of the Spirit).