Adoration, Confession, Intercession...

Do these have to be addressed to a realist God?

Here are some brief excerpts from an article by Anne Ashworth, a Sea of Faith member. The full article is on the website.


"What we celebrate is nothing other than ourselves as whole beings". "What else is humankind than the very spirit of earth, or life's coming to know itself in its eternal being and in its ever-changing process of becoming?" (Schleiermacher)

We celebrate also the oneness of the cosmos and the beauty of earth. Quantum physics, creation spirituality and ecofeminism have powerful insights to add to that nowadays. Our capacity for awe and wonder has been stretched to fresh horizons.


"In prayer I am checking out my life with my ideal observer." How about that? Cupitt calls it The Eye of God. The medievals called it the Examen. We cast a cool objective eye over ourselves, deplore ourselves, laugh at ourselves, understand and forgive ourselves. We don't need a God or priest to forgive us. And if we seriously mean business — a requirement for all religious confession — we rise better people.


"Prayer is talking to ourselves". We are in fact taking "prayer" seriously if this is a mode whereby we can get in touch with those deeper parts of our psyche which are normally overlaid and hidden from us. Often the old Christian teaching was that we must be in part the answer to our own petitions, that we dare not make requests unless we are prepared to be "used" in the subsequent action needed. Moreover, ordinands and lay preachers were taught that intercessory prayer was largely a consciousness-raising exercise for the congregation, as for instance in the case of prayer for peace. So even in our most devoutly theist days, we all subconsciously knew that prayer was talking to ourselves. How, though, knowing this consciously, can we continue the exercise...?

Read the whole article...

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