CONNECT: How do you feel?
1. Can you remember a personal encounter with what you experienced as the reality of God. Can you find words to describe your experience? What part of your experience can’t be described in words?
2. In her introduction to this final section of Life Abundant (p. 127-132) McFague writes, “Love without economics is empty rhetoric.” Do you agree?
3. McFague writes, “If God is the declaration that reality is good… it is not so important that ‘I believe in God’ as it is to align my life with and toward this reality. I must try to discover what it means to live in a reality that is defined by love.” (p. 134-135) Is it possible to ‘align our lives to a reality defined by love’ without believing/trusting in God?
CONTENT: What do you think?
1. Models of God: Remembering that “no models for God are adequate; they are not descriptions, merely an attempt to express something of God’s being and nature” (p. 141), which model does McFague believe is most faithful to the ecological economic worldview?
2. Trinity: Most of us have been confused (and even frustrated) when trying to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. In a small group, discuss the material in the section “God as Creator, Liberator, and Sustainer.” (see p. 143). What aspects of this discussion stood out as particularly illuminating to you?
3. Emmanuel: What image of God from this chapter would help increase our society’s sense that “God is with us”?
4. The question of evil: McFague calls the neo-classical view of evil “lightweight,” because it cannot fully answer how an all-powerful, all-good God could permit evil to exist. Does the ecological economic perspective have a better answer? (see p. 151)
COMMIT: What can we do?
Sallie McFague concludes this chapter by writing,
“Finally, we can say that ‘God’ is the belief that hope and not despair, life not death, laughter not tears, are deep in the nature of things. ‘God’ is the belief that while despair, death, and tears are a necessary part of reality they are not the dominant part.
“We claim this belief in spite of the facts. The reason, however, why some people hold to it is because of the glimmers, partial incarnations, theophanies, flashes of goodness and love and beauty in the earth and in each other. If we are to say that reality is good, we must help those glimmers and glimpses become stronger.”
Can you build your spiritual life on this understanding of God and the world?