the unsovereign god.

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the kingdom of god does not exist. just like the word air describes something we can’t see. the kingdom of god is something ethereal. outside of time and space and yet increasingly invades time and space. the kingdom of god is without a king. because god is not sovereign. in jesus, god is weak, frail and prone to death. god, in us, is weak, evil and has potential for good. yet, god in us, is ultimately good because we are all created good. the kingdom of god resides within each of us. when jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of god is at hand, the words in aramaic mean inside of you or within. the kingdom of does not exist in terms of empire.

can the kingdom of god exist outside of sovereignty?

this is the question at hand. does god need to coerce us to desire him? is the story of torah about a god who willingly engages with his creation or a god who needs to engage with his creation? if god willingly desires contact than his kingdom isn’t sovereign in the traditional sense. so in that light the kingdom of god doesn’t exist in terms of empire/sovereignty. it exists outside of empire and sovereignty.

much like two highschool lovers, does god dysfunctionally set out to convince us of a need for him?

has god devised a plan where we have to fall in love with him or else? if he did, than God is sovereign in the traditional sense of empirical rule. but jesus shows us a different side of sovereignty. a sovereignty that doesn’t want slaves (‘i no longer call you slaves, but friends), but desires that its followers become the lowest of the population (‘i have come to serve’) – it desires people who are willing to put their desires on hold for the person standing next to them. think of this visually, each of us standing next to the other, shoulder-to-shoulder.

if i have come to serve you and you are here to serve me and we are here to serve those around us, than everyone wins. no one is in need. this is so much more than an early church dynamic, this is way more graphic than socialism and even more treacherous than communism. this is the belief that in the gap between what you need and what i need is where we each stand. the gap between what is and what isn’t, that’s where we are compelled to serve. the gap between the seen and unseen, this is where the kingdom dwells. the kingdom is a place devoid of any traditional sovereignty. there isnt a need for rule, because everyone is voluntarily serving another.

there isn’t a need for ‘the kingdom’ because we are all kings and slaves, yet,we are also not kings and slaves. we are in and beyond the titles we proclaim for ourselves. the kingdom is about radical equality that calls us to an equality beyond equality. the kingom inspires into a non-kingdom reality where all exist as one. where all are what they are, but that all fit cohesively. the kingdom is about voluntarily servitude for the betterment of humanity, rather coerced empirical rule a shown in the streets of ancient rome and other places. the kingdom isn’t a kingdom of tyranny, but one of shalom and willfull transformation.

God lies in the space between our knowing and unknowing this is where he rules. not with an iron scepter. gender or book. god rules without those things because he does not need them. god is reliant on nothing. god doesn’t want to take over the world. god exists in and beyond it. god doesn’t want to oppress us. god is pro-human. yet, humans express their understanding of the universal in terms of sovereignty. we all want to be loved. that is an objective statement, but for god to love everyone coercively isn’t god loving anyone at all. god loving others willfully is god loving everyone. god doesn’t force himself upon us much like we force ourselves upon one another. god isn’t sovereign in this respect. god is in the gap between sovereignty and non-sovereignty. god lies in the gap waiting for us to meet him there.

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4 comments

  1. The Charismanglican · June 23, 2010

    We can't see air, so God's kingdom doesn't exist.
    The kingdom of God does not exist, but the kingdom of God is shalom.
    God is not sovereign, so Jesus came to show us a new way how God is sovereign.
    God doesn't want to take over the world but God is dysfunctionally trying to convince us that we need him.
    God is evil.

    George, I know you're trying to get outside the usual framework because God is bigger than our framework. But still, why use language at all? As far as I can tell, this isn't theopoetics, it's nonsense.

    Which I suppose is just another way of saying that I'm colonizing truth, stuck in unhealthy dichotomies and think I can keep God captured in words.

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    • conspiracyalive · June 24, 2010

      in this i am dealing with the god's sovereignty in terms of sovereignty as defined by empire. and how god isn't sovereign in militaristic coercive ways, but because he is the ultimate unconditional element, i am asking the same question as john caputo has posed 'can god not be sovereign and yet remain unconditional. now, you seemingly are comfortable enough to judge between what you define as theopoetic and nonsense. why would you do so? as you know, god is outside of it all, so to try a lateral angle in terms of re-discovery should be welcome, especially when a lot of our traditional theology just seems to find ways to justify the over-estimated methods of just finding different ways to say the same thing. why not say something different that could be true?at the end of the day, we don't know if we all got it right, but we try to discover him the way we are inspired. some discovered god through the person of jesus, some through the bible, others through the koran….one thing is for sure, god is bigger than all of this.

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      • The Charismanglican · June 24, 2010

        A little John Caputo (from Theopoetic/Theopolitic):

        My hypothesis is the opposite, that theology goes all the way down, that there are always lingering or unavowed theological presuppositions in what we say or do, and hence, as Heidegger said a long time ago, it is not a question of getting free of our presuppositions but rather of entering into them all the more primordially.

        I don't think God is outside of it all. I think God is very, very intimate.
        I don't think God is bigger than all of this. I think God is vulnerable.

        At any rate, I didn't say this was nonsense because I have God all figured out, or because at the end of the day I have it right, or because I discovered God through the person of Jesus, or because it's a creative 'lateral angle'. I said it was nonsense because it doesn't make any sense. It's incoherent.

        I wonder if John Caputo thinks you're asking the same question he is. You certainly borrowed his words, but I don't think you respect the hard theological work that he's done to get to his 'theopoetics'. I only say this because interjected between rather tame stuff about people loving and serving each other are contradictory non-statements.

        I'm not usually this harsh, but I'd be surprised to find someone else mounting a defense of what you've said here.

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      • conspiracyalive · June 24, 2010

        I am more into hybrid theopoetics, and the beauty of a strand such as theopoetics isn't that there is a 'right' or 'wrong'. i don't see incompatible thoughts as incongruent with another. i would say where john caputo ends i begin. i would agree that god is so close that he outside of it all. that is so intimately intertwined with our divinity that when we move our left hand he move's his. but he so inside of us that he is outside of us. his immanence is his transcendence. so in that regard i would agree.

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