Grounded – God is in the Mud and the Mess

Diana Butler Bass in her book Grounded talks about the loss of faith in the triple layer, wedding cake view of the universe – with God in the heavens, below it the earth God created, and below that the place of souls or hell – and the understanding of the all-powerful transcendent God who controlled it.Cakes-NEW25

She references the story of Paul Tillich who, as a chaplain in World War I found this traditional, theistic view of God sadly lacking. Where was God in the trenches? Where was God as Tillich buried soldier after soldier on the fields of war? Tillich came to see, as Butler Bass does, that God, if God is anywhere, has to be in the trenches with us. It makes no sense to posit an all powerful God whose plan it is for countries to destroy each other, for individuals to be destroyed by the task of making war. No. For Tillich and for Butler Bass, God has to be in the mud, metaphorically and literally.

Tillich names God not as a being but the “Ground of our Being.” Not far away but within, immanent, and profoundly present. The numinous within the ordinary; the divine within the mundane. And with Jesus of Nazareth we have a God who not only is immanent in creation but who was part of humanity. Whether you understand the Jesus Event as God becoming human or humanity reaching divinity, in Jesus we find what humanity can strive for, what is possible for us to become.



About Mona

I am a wife, mother, and author. I taught high school for 27 years and I was a hospital and hospice chaplain until my health required that I retire. I miss my hospital coworkers and cannot imagine how terrible this year and last year have been. I want to be there for them in at least this small way.
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