Fifty years ago (1963) John Robinson, a bishop of the Church of England, created a publishing sensation with his book, Honest To God. “Our image of God must go!” he wrote. Instead of a God ‘out there’ somewhere, he proposed the idea of God as the ground of our being. He thought it might take a hundred years before this way of thinking entered the mainstream of church life and practice. Fifty years on it begins to look as if he will not be far out.
This year (2013) also sees the hundredth anniversary of a much less well known book: The Mystic Way, by Evelyn Underhill. She was fifty years ahead of Bishop Robinson. Her book traces the idea of God as the ground of our being right back to Jesus himself and to Paul his most prominent follower.
In this blog I look at the New Testament documents as a contemplative Christian, someone who has been profoundly influenced by John Robinson and Evelyn Underhill. For me Jesus is not so much a saviour as a teacher in the Wisdom tradition of Judaism.
“God does not know how to be absent,” writes Martin Laird in “Into The Silent Land”. The atheist philosopher Andre Comte-Sponville is more challenging when he writes, “Mystics are those who know they no longer lack God. But is a god who is no longer lacking still God?” (The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality)
What might the New Testament (especially the Gospels and Paul’s letters) reveal if we approach them with this stance? My blog will travel systematically through the New Testament documents to find out.