Deconstruction may not be for everyone, but I find John Caputo’s writing on “God, perhaps” delightfully seductive. And I find it largely congruent with process thought.
Indeed, it’s well documented that he and process theologian Catherine Keller seem to belong to a mutual appreciation society: “What [Catherine Keller and I] mean by this word metaphysics is ‘a series of metaphors mutely appealing for an intuitive leap,’ as Whitehead says, a work of creative imagination construing our place in the world and the world’s place in us … We might describe our common ground here … [as] a kind of metaphysics without Metaphysics.” (Online here. Keller’s response is here.)
But despite this momentary concession, most of the time Caputo would rather not be linked to anything smacking of panentheism or process metaphysics or any other sort of metaphysics or ontology. Still, much of what he says sounds like the sort of reframing I am commending with this version of process thought (which I am still willing to call a sort of metaphysics/ontology, although it’s every bit as “weak” as Caputo’s version of “God, perhaps”).
Here’s Caputo: “We must let God, the name (of) ‘God,’ weaken into the name of an event, of an unconditional call, into the folly of a call to lead an unconditional life. It is God, the name of the still soft voice of an insistent call, that has need of the kingdom, of those who would make the kingdom come true in word and deed … The kingdom of God is something that circulates within … quasi-systems of forces, under its own inner impulses, pulsing with the pulse of the event, not being ruled from on high. We in turn must make ourselves worthy of the event that happens to us in and under this name … The call calls. The call calls for a response, which may or may not transpire … The call is not a Mighty Spirit, but a soft aspiration, the soft sighs of a perhaps. The call is not a mighty being but a might-be. The call is not the ground of being, or the being of beings, but a may-being.”—John Caputo, The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional (Salem, OR: Polebridge Press, 2016), pp. 127-128, emphasis added.
I love this. But I don’t see how this is not (for me, at least) another captivating way of speaking of countless ways of newly interacting with the all-inclusive way of newly interacting. My project of reframing practically everything in process terms is likewise meant to open us to “the event that happens to us in and under this name,” whether that name be God, God’s reign, nature, the ground of being, the being of beings, may-being, the all-inclusive way of newly interacting, or whatever. What matters is opening to that event in and under whatever terms we wind up using. I don’t think we have to choose here between Caputo’s poststructuralism and this version of process mindfulness.