My spiritual practice is to awaken every morning to the inescapability of God, the one in whom I and all others live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), and articulating this awakening, as I’m doing right now, is an integral part of my spiritual practice.

Because this one is inescapably here in my awakening, I don’t have to come up with arguments for their* reality.  I can produce arguments, but they are no more persuasive than the awakening itself.

I do use the personal pronoun “whom” here. (Otherwise, I might not say “God.”) But I hasten to emphasize that this inescapable reality to “whom” I awaken seemingly exceeds the personal/impersonal, subject/object binary. (If you opt for “which” instead of “whom,” I don’t see how I can object, but I don’t see how you can object to my opting for “whom.”)

And I speak of God as the “one.” But I hasten to emphasize that this can be conceived as an “excessive,” “noncoinciding” oneness that does not in any way suppress endlessly vast diversity—this “one” seemingly exceeds the unity/diversity binary also. (That is after all what proponents of the doctrine of the Trinity have always struggled to say, however inadequately: God’s oneness is boundlessly self-othering communion.)

As an odd sort of process theist, I am, after all, prone to say that reality is relationally diversifying in such ways that nothing is ever totally disentangled from anything else, which amounts to a mutually excessive communion.

God is the version of this relational diversifying “than which a greater cannot be conceived,” as St. Anselm famously said. All others, including you and me, are versions of this relational diversifying than which a greater can be conceived. So there is a mutually entangling likeness/unlikeness among God and everything else. (Catherine Keller calls it apophatic entanglement“a full ontological relationalism [wherein] uncertainty, the apophatic, the unknowable [is] built into the elemental fabric of the universe.”)

I don’t see this practice as exclusively premodern, modern, or postmodern. I can readily see it at work in deeply reflective folk from ancient times down to today. I can’t simply repeat them, but their practices nourish mine.

—Fr. Charles

*I’m using “their” as a third person, singular/plural pronoun.