There is a general theme in liberal theology these days that really irks me. It represents a picture of a god that is distant and not participatory in any real sense. This trend can be seen in the neo-deistic ideas that relegate God to a maintenance person keeping the water flowing and the heat on but not really entering into the lives of the tenants in the building. It can also be seen in process thought where God prehends the sufferings and existential issues of life and tries to influence the world to the better but remains pristine in God’s glory. This is not the God of the scriptures. It is not the God that can be found in such a wonderful representation in the participatory suffering and death of Jesus. The god that is being presented is a god who has nothing to do or say to the weak who find themselves alone, suffering, and dying. This god has nothing to offer to the prayers of those dying of hunger and violence in their solitude. What good is the heat, water, and lure to those who reach out to the Source of life in their solitude and despair. This god is a demonic god who doesn’t get god’s hands dirty. It is not a god that is of any use to the world of the weak.
The true God is a God who actually lives in this world. It is a God who doesn’t just prehend or feel the sufferning of the weak but one who actually suffers and dies as well. Isn’t the message of the gospels that can be found many religions that even when we are alone and reach out to God, God is there in the very midst of life’s trials. All these trends that try to be accommodating to the mainstream worldviews of science and culture today will never be embraced because their response to the weak can only be “buck up”, “accept the influence of God”, “shit happens”, “God cannot do anything”. These are hollow responses that find no existential impact. They do not touch the heart of the weak of body or spirit. Theologians who promote these ideas should be ashamed. In their comfort they have nothing to offer the downtrodden of the world.
The only answer that has power is that we and God are one. Our suffering is not just sensed and appreciated by God but it is God’s suffering. All theologies that strike a divide between God and the world are destined to the dustbin. They will not find any appeal for the great masses of the world. They may appeal to the intellect of some but they do not translate to the real world. Only a God who is personally there in the dark, even closer to us than we are to ourselves can speak to the deeply heartfelt prayers of those in profound need. If Jesus is right that the weak shall inherit the Earth is it because they, above all, can know that God who lives in the very midst of their needs and trials.