In Part I of this two-part article, I explained that process theology names God as the source of all creativity and novelty in the universe, while defining creativity as the unceasing process of the many becoming one plus one.
Noting the sacred creative drive is toward beauty and harmony, I pointed out we human beings participate in that creative drive through another basic tenet of process theology: God communicates continuously with each of us via impulses we receive primarily at the unconscious level.
I also mentioned that contemplative prayer or the practice of mindfulness meditation could help us tune into those sacred impulses.
As a writer, I’ve occasionally glimpsed the influence of process thought in my own creative efforts. In an essay several years ago, I wrote the following:
“My neighborhood on the outskirts of St. Paul is a small island of fields and woods, surrounded by freeway traffic. Despite the sound effects, I enjoy the illusion of country living.
“Having grown up in the country, I’ve long been attuned to seasonal changes in hours of daylight and darkness, weather patterns, landscapes, and skyscapes.
“Beyond my windows, trees and bushes dance in the wind. Sometimes, three or four deer romp across the fields.
“Birds dart and soar across a wide expanse of sky.
“After an ice storm I once saw a fat crow clawing for a foothold on a slippery power line. He gave up in a huff, shook himself, and headed for the nearby woods.
“Among other gifts, a glimpse of the natural world now and then offers continuity to distant times and places.
“Fiery evening light in suburban St. Paul transports me to Doheny State Beach in southern California, where I watched Catalina Island rise from the sea, backlit by the setting sun.
“Local sunlight occasionally fades into a golden glow across the otherwise bleak landscape near Amarillo, Texas where I spent five months completing the second phase of basic training in the United States Air Force.
“Once in awhile, I’m standing again on the banks of the Mississippi near St. Louis where I’ve seen the sun both rise and set.
“Returning home to Minnesota from my imaginary wanderings, I feel connected to family and friends.
“Wherever we are in the present moment, the same earth turns beneath our feet, and familiar stars and planets keep us company on our cosmic journey.”
The above excerpt from my essay reveals that in the natural world, the circle of relationships from past, present, and future, come together without sacrificing the significance of each, and the whole presents a new configuration of that portion of my life experience.
However, the divine lure of process theology calls us from the circles found in our personal histories and in this present moment to ever widening circles of relationships.
We often speak regrettably of the historic divisiveness in the world caused by competing religious belief systems. The divisiveness and the harm it has wrought has understandably caused many to ditch religion altogether and adopt a secular worldview.
The process perspective offers hope for healing some of that divisiveness. In an essay titled Process Spirituality and Original Wholeness, Dr. Bruce G. Epperly writes:
“The universe is holographic and relational. Every moment of experience arises from the universe that conditions, limits, and inspires its adventure of self-creation. Existence is profoundly relational. The parts mirror the whole uniquely and the whole reflects the dynamic artistry and creativity of each part. God is profoundly relational as the womb of possibility, inspiration, and adventure. The divine intimacy, integrating listening with responding, is the model for all human intimacy and artistry.”
“In each moment, our choice for love or hate, life or death, creativity or passivity, may be infinitesimal, but each moment’s finite choices can transform our lives and the planet. Our finite moments of self-creation radiate across the universe as well as shape our own futures. The most infinitesimal change in a relationship or self-understanding may eventually bring wholeness and reconciliation.”
May it be so.