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Click here to read this conference online.

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Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. What feelings, questions, or comments do you have from this conference?

2. How do you encounter Christ in nature? In civic organization? Other world religions?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Christ and Nature? Creator and Creation? I can meditate on and in Creation with endless fascination and wonder.

At times, I feel immersed in a theology of nature , taking what I have learned from Divine revelation to better understand and relate to creation. Such lessons speak to me so eloquently of how it is I might best approach, on a large scale, ecology, stewardship of the entire cosmos, and also, on a smaller scale, of my own body --- nurturing, sustaining and affirming, caring for these great gifts. St. Francis is my hero when it comes to a theology of nature.

At other times, I feel immersed in a natural theology , taking what I have learned from nature to better understand and relate to the Divine. Such lessons speak to me so powerfully of both the fact of God's existence and of the Divine's attributes. St. Thomas Aquinas is my hero when it comes to that part of natural theology that deals with the fact of God's existence.

When it comes to that part of natural theology that deals with the Divine attributes, my hero is Jesus. Although Aquinas shows how we can infer God's existence from His effects, he instructs us on how God can not be known in His essential nature, that Cause being veiled to us, but that, through analogy, we can indeed know what God is like, what the Kingdom of God is like.

Who better used nature to help us understand and relate to the Divine than Jesus? Jesus spoke of the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the sparrow, the ox, the weather portents, of vines and branches, of the fig tree, of yeast and leaven and salt, of seeds and weeds, of fields and paths, of the seasons, of bread and wine and wineskins, of water, of fire, of the wind, of cycles of birth, death and rebirth ... saying the Kingdom is like this and like that, my Father, Our Father, is like this and like that. I love nature and the outdoors where the Gospel surrounds me and speaks to me in everything.

Nature was the authority for Jesus' teaching and preaching and, in a nutshell, His teaching revealed the Trinity as Truth, Beauty and Goodness, the truth, the life and the way, now articulated in our creed, celebrated in our cult(ivations)/rituals/liturgies and preserved in our codes/laws.

I cannot deny that I have been especially drawn to that part of natural theology that deals with the fact of God's existence, studying the modern reformulations of Aquinas' arguments setting forth the reasonableness of faith. I think that my temperament, so to speak the way that I am wired, makes such meditation especially exhilirating for me, even though, for most others, natural theology is extremely dry and very boring compared to a theology of nature.

I could wax on about my love of natural theology but suspect that most would resonate more with my love of St. Francis rather than St. Thomas. I will say this; certain Franciscans, Bonaventure & Duns Scotus & William of Occam, were great philosophers and theologians. I used to think that all natural theology could yield was the God of the philosophers (no small accomplishment) or the God of the deists, that only revealed theology could teach us of a relational God. Lately, I have wondered if Duns Scotus didn't anticipate the Cosmic Christ of Teilhard de Chardin by hundreds of years, predicting a Divine Incarnation and kenosis (self-emptying) from strictly a speculative natural theology, though certainly incohate compared to the Jesus of the Gospel. Also, when I go into Internet forums on philosophy and metaphysics, I am able to point out to various participants, theists and nontheists alike, that they are merely having the same arguments, for instance, as Bonaventure and Aquinas had a very, long time ago! But I have learned that that is about as exciting and fun to most people as doing your income taxes, so let me, rather, just recommend you purchase or rent the 1973 Franco Zeffirelli movie about St. Francis: Brother Sun, Sister Moon Wink

pax,
jb
 
Posts: 2881 | Registered: 25 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. What feelings, questions, or comments do you have from this conference?

2. How do you encounter Christ in nature? In civic organization? Other world religions?

[ March 20, 2004, 02:21 PM: Message edited by: Phil ]

One of the places I love to encounter God is through friendship and accountability. I have a close friend from when I lived communally in charismatic post jesus movement community. We get together maybe 2 or 3 times a year. When I lived community I was unable to get beyond my selfish addictive nature but he could see when something troubled me and can still. Are struggles have been similar but he taught me to be a friend. It's through people and various Churches I have encountered those moments that would lead me to get help for my addiction and enrich my faith. I admittedly am not an outside kind of guy but at local monasteries and hermitages I have found refuge outside to cry and eventually quite myself to listen to quite voice of God within. I guess for me it was people that helped me experience God.
 
Posts: 205 | Location: McHenry Illinois | Registered: 01 July 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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