Descending Theology and Solitude

Some things to consider in solitude:

That real transformation happens when people have lost their foundation, their ground, and then experience God upholding them.

That If we do not transform our pain, we will almost certainly transmit it.

That hope is a function of struggle. And that our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted.

That Jesus is not observing human suffering from a distance. That Jesus is somehow in human suffering, with us and for us.

That God in Jesus is suffering love. And that if we are created in the image of God, and if there is this much suffering in the world and in our hearts, then God must also be suffering.

That the primary symbol of the Christian Word is a naked, suffering, bleeding man.

That perhaps we would do well not to avoid our pain, to not get rid of our pain, before we investigate it, determine its origins, and learn its lessons.

That the image of Jesus on the cross is the image of a man who has absorbed all the hostility of others, the hatred, the accusations, the malice – and that none of it is returned. It is instead resurrected. That this is the mystery of the cross.

That the ego always insists on understanding. That Jesus praises faith even more than love. And that it is suffering that destabilizes ego and brings us to faith.

That on the cross God took the worst thing – the killing of God – and made it into the best thing: the redemption of the world.

That Jesus on the cross may be saying: “I know this is what you’re experiencing. Do not run from it. Learn from it. Hang there for awhile, as I did. Rather than losing life, this is gaining life. It is the way through.”

That Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith and the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

That the best thing you can do for people is to stay on the journey yourself.

“Descending Theology”
A Poem by Mary Karr

From the far star points of his pinned extremities, 
cold inched in—black ice and squid ink—
till the hung flesh was empty. 
Lonely in that void even for pain, 
he missed his splintered feet, 
the human stare buried in his face. 
He ached for two hands made of meat 
he could reach to the end of. 
In the corpse’s core, the stone fist 
of his heart began to bang 
on the stiff chest’s door, and breath spilled 
back into that battered shape. Now 
it’s your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water 
shatters at birth, rivering every way.

Cameron Garrett
Media Fellow

October 23, 2017