Passion, whether divine or human= something you accept as a fate that will happen to you, will be done to you, and only from this will your true action be forged.
‘My Ways are not your ways, my Thoughts are not your thoughts’, God says to us in Isaiah.
God’s Way, God’s Thought, for ‘doing’ the world, and history, is not our way, our thought. The invulnerable power and assured wisdom we want for running the world, and history, is to God impotence and folly. We want ‘power and wisdom’ to eliminate risk and subdue contingency. God’s power and wisdom works through the freedom of risk and the open-endedness of contingency. This is impotence and folly to us.
We have a problem.
This is not good versus evil, nor God’s purity versus human sin, nor the heavenly versus the earthly.
This is God’s Way pitted against our way. God’s Way appears to us weak in the world and naive in history. It will not work.
The Cross is therefore the place where God’s Way ‘crosses’ our way, and our way ‘crosses’ God’s Way. Each road is actively intersected by the other, converse road. This is a positive clashing. Both roads can be understood, from their context= how God ‘beholds’ and ‘moves’ toward the world and history, from outside it moving into it, differs fundamentally from how we see and act towards the world and history, from within it in movement through it.
God has no ‘position’ vis a vis the world and history other than the active intervening in relation to it which he chooses in the freedom of love. If you want ‘to know where God stands’, look at the divine heart’s disposition toward where you stand.
We are entirely positioned in the limits of our situation. We fear the limitlessness coming dynamically into the limited to change it, for we want to master the limited by our own way of conquering it. Thus we want to run the limited from within its own terms of reference. We do not want the apple cart overturned.
The Cross, from God’s side= the limited overturned by the limitless yet the limitless contained within the limited.
The Cross, from our side= the limited ventured in deep waters and questing for new land on the far shore for no good reason. The waters are too deep, the new land is too far.
An old man accosted by two ladies singing hymns on a tuneless piano in the hospital for the dying, as the old boy warms his hands on a cup of steaming liquid= “religion’s all right in its place, but you don’t want it with your cup of tea.”
The Cross= the Spirit intrudes, with an intention of his own, upon our routines whose agenda is to keep the Spirit out, so as to maintain our own way of doing things.
Insofar as we were created to be Spirit-Bearing in our foundation, which is similar in fathomlessness to God, so our insistence on founding our power and wisdom on power over, and certainty about, the world and history, means we found our depth on our capacity to overpower and dominate the limited realm in which we are placed. We do not want religion with our tea — or with anything else.
By trying to tame the world and history, we tame ourselves. It is we who are impotent and foolish, lost in trackless wastes. This is ‘progress.’
We are free to try out every vicissitude of our way, including our way of fixing, improving, even transcending, our situation.
There cannot be any compromise between God’s Way and our way. That God allows us our way is obvious. We cannot come to God’s Way through force or by coercion, nor by magic and the intimidation of majesty.
We have to come to realise our way does not work, as an end in itself, and therefore it is God’s Way at work in our way that is our real foundation.
The Cross= a contention between God and humanity, fairly fought out, over what power and what wisdom is powerful enough and wise enough to rectify the world and history.
The Cross= a contention between God and humanity over the power and wisdom that can redeem the world and history, against the impotence and folly which regards itself ‘the only way to proceed and to think.’ This is, in reality, betraying and destroying the very ship on stormy seas it purports to be repairing as it sails.
Repairing the vessel we all sail in, and hold in common, is indeed necessary, but our manner of doing it is, little by little, imperceptively yet inevitably, sinking the ship for everyone.
The Cross ‘stops the rot.’
The Cross is ‘against the run of play.’
God’s Way is the way of heart.
The Cross= the limitless not working against the limited, but the limitless working within the confines of the limited, yet not confined by the limited.
Passion= the limitless as the engine of the limited, transfiguring it and everything it touches.