Painting the Stars: A Renaissance of Wonder

This is the second of five posts about Painting the Stars, a series on science and religion.
You can find my intro and first thoughts here.

It’s week two with Painting the Stars, and so far our discussions and readings totally echo myProcess Theology course in college. Process theology focuses on the interconnectedness of the world, and the universe, as well as constant becoming of every organism, and the wonder and awe that comes from this deep appreciation for divine expression in nature (for an overview of process theology, and writings from a process theology perspective, visit JesusJazzBuddhism.org). Bruce Sanguin, who writes our readings for discussion, gives us three core insights to an evolutionary world view, drawing on process theology vocabulary: 1) everything is becoming; 2) everything is alive and emerging; and 3) there is purpose.

Becoming: as you build upon your experiences, and your mood changes, you are always becoming a new person. You are not the same as you were 1 year ago, 1 month ago, 1 week ago, 1 minute ago. And everything, as Sanguin says, is becoming, from the dog and cat to the birds to the grass and dirt.

Emerging: emergence is about novelty and newness. When everything is alive and emerging, there is a sense of novelty. Just like becoming, each moment is a new moment and it is in that newness that we find beauty, wonder, and the sacred.

Purpose: we all have purpose. And when I say “we,” I include everything living. Seriously, everything. Even those mosquitos that drive you crazy have a purpose. I think this is one of the most important insights in evolutionary/process theology because it reminds us to respect our earth, and it shows us the sacred in all aspects of the universe.

I think Sanguin sums it up beautifully when he says, “We are not separate from the process that gave birth to life. Rather we are the presence of the whole, dynamic process intimately connected to everything that preceded us.”

ecologicalmanvsnatureThis kind of theology and spirituality, focused on the interconnectedness of the universe, deepens our feeling of awe, wonder, and mystery of the sacred. We don’t have to fit everything perfectly into doctrine and belief. We can leave things a mystery, and embrace the wonder and love that comes when we realize every little living thing is an expression of the divine.

Love all Creation
The whole of it and every grain of sand
Love every leaf
Every ray of God’s light
Love the animals
Love the plants
Love everything
If you love everything
You will perceive
The divine mystery in things
And once you have perceived it
You will being to comprehend it ceaselessly
More and more everyday
And you will at last come to love the whole world
With an abiding universal love.

–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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3 responses to “Painting the Stars: A Renaissance of Wonder

  1. Pingback: Painting the Stars: Getting Genesis Wrong | Everyday Religion

  2. Pingback: Painting the Stars: An Evolving Faith | Everyday Religion

  3. Pingback: Painting the Stars: Evolutionary Christianity | Everyday Religion

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