Bear with me (non U2 fans) , but now im post 40, i can quote U2 lyrics…
I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one.
But yes, I’m still running.
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
“The process for faiths search for understanding- seeing, hearing, engaging and reflecting upon,’ what we have seen and heard’ through reading is itself a matter of high drama’ (Vanhoozer, 2005, p19)
This one of three aspects of thinking of Theology as a Drama, is explained by Kevin Vanhoozer, in effect he is saying that there is drama in the search for faith – in the search for God and understanding. On one hand it is the least of the three aspects of theology as a drama that i focus on in most of my previous writings on Theodrama. But in reality- it might be one of the more profound. God is in the search. Less the destination. Finding is in the searching. Trying to find something, but not know if we found it is something we’ve all experienced. Participating in the search might be enough.
Often we are told in Christian culture that – ‘when we seek we find’ and this is a paraphrase from Jesus own words in Matthew 7- ‘keep on asking and you will receive what you will ask for, keep on seeking and you will find’ Note however that this is about a continual searching, a continual looking. Its almost as this is about our very nature to be seekers, searchers and curious (something implied in the creation of nations in Acts 17; 27) . We find in the process of being those who are curious, being those who participate in the searching. Not what we might find. God is less in the answer of the prayer, than the prayer itself. Yet the temptation is to think that God is in the destination of what is found, rather than in the finding.
Participating in God’s overall drama – The Theodrama – is about the ongoing search – the ongoing curiosity – and because it is a drama – and not the predictability of the maths that underpinned much of early philosophy- or the predictability of science and rationality – the search is a drama in itself. Is Aslan good? – yes – but he isnt tame – said Lucy. Predicting the prowling Aslan, is only possible because of the signs, the winter starts to melt away. The Drama takes a new twist when Aslan is on the move.
The ongoing search is a drama in itself. It is fraught with danger and distraction all the time, we may have access (because of the cross) but it is still a drama to attune to God, still a drama to participate in the search after God – still a drama because God herself might not be as predictable or predicted. To search after God, to seek, may just be to participate in the drama, Gods drama itself, what we find might not be what were looking for. Some are still not finding what they look for.
Because, finding is in the searching.
Will the good man find the lost sheep – when he leaves the 99? who knows.
Will the woman find the coin, even when the others are in the tin? it might have been stolen.
These are metaphors Jesus uses for the Kingdom of God – maybe the kingdom is found in the searching itself. Not the finding. That trauma of having lost something and knowing it.
So, whilst the overall Drama of Gods redemption is taking place towards the fifth and final act of the ‘Return of the King’ – in this in between time of the emergence of the church since the ascension – we are left to search for God in the midst, and respond to prompts, signs and symbols, a search that is dramatic in itself.
Even if we ‘know’ the truth – it still has to be found, and re-found and re-lived again and again. It is an ongoing drama, an ongoing search, of shaping character and gaining knowledge, and faith barely exists outside knowledge. There is struggle and drama in the reading – how many distractions are there instead of reading the bible – or even tempting – just to hear our own voice in the scripture – and its specific or worldwide context or interpretation. Drama is a collective search – it is mysterious and artistic – and it is performative – it is in what we do – acting with God in the search for God.
Thanks to Richard Passmore, for his post here: http://www.sundaypapers.org.uk/?p=3623 and those on the subsequent facebook discussion, for helping to stimulate some of these thoughts.
References, On Theodrama
Vanhoozer, K , 2005, The drama of Doctrine, p19
(and if you’re new to ‘Theodrama’, there are many others in the links on the tab to the right)