Wednesday Volf thought 4…Yes and No

Last night I suggested that maybe Quakers have something to offer to the conversation about the real presence of God in our midst. We had a chance to write down questions to ask Miroslav today, and mine got asked: Is there space for us to relate with God, on a deeper level than just entering the story? I understand that we will hear it and think about it in our culturally conditioned ways, but is there room for a real encounter with God?

His answer was great: a resounding yes! Every breath we take is from God. Life itself is a gift, and God is present with us all the time. We can experience God directly, unencumbered by culture. Yes, we receive it, unmediated. Can we respond to God in faith without it being mediated by our culture’s values and norms? A resounding NO. Every word we speak is shaped by the cultures that have shaped us.

I was glad for that answer, because a lot of the conversations that AJ, Kathy, Steve and I had with others at the conference seemed to leave out the idea of direct encounter with God. It was good to hear Miroslav affirm it heartily in the gathering. His answer also means that there’s room in the wider theological world for Robert Barclay’s Quaker idea of unmediated revelation, the experience of God directly. We have to use extreme caution in how we are able to articulate that revelation from God, but it is a real experience.

4 thoughts on “Wednesday Volf thought 4…Yes and No

  1. I was also glad to hear him answer your question. It was clear Volf is not afraid of mystery when it comes to his thinking about God. I was wondering too about what he would say about the human “experience” of God.

    I am sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet while at the conference. Maybe next time… (I talked a while with AJ.)


  2. I agree with Dr. Volf’s resounding yes when it comes to experiencing God in a manner that might be described as a direct connect.

    However, in so much we are human and God is divine I do not know if is truly a direct connect in the sense that we ever experience God outside of our humanity.

    Surely not, and thus in some ways this limits our experience of God in this present world.

    I hope emergent does look more to the Quakers as well the mystics from my own tradition.

    In Christ,
    Father Kevin


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