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Virtuous suffering and the predicament of being handicapped. Towards a theology of the ‘disabled God puffing in a wheelchair’

By Daniel J. Louw

Abstract

<p><span>The reality of disablement, being handicapped and physical disfigurement, opens up anew the theological debate regarding God-images in human suffering. It is argued that the Hellenistic understanding of the power of God, God as a </span><em>pantokrator </em><span>[Almighty], presupposes the immutability of an apathetic God. In terms of the logic of a cause-effect paradigm, God becomes the deterministic principle behind human suffering. With reference to a </span><em>theologia crucis </em><span>[theology of the Cross], the paradigm of theopaschitic theology proposes a pathetic understanding of God. Weakness and vulnerability (</span><em>astheneia</em><span>) describes an authentic identification of God with human suffering. Forsakenness (</span><em>derelictio</em><span>) reframes power as compassionate weakness or vulnerability and divine disability. The disabled God is, in terms of the New Testament a connection between divine compassion and human predicament (</span><em>ta splanchna</em><span>), the passionate God. Bowel categories make it possible to speak of the ‘puffing God in the wheelchair’. A theology of the cross should be supplemented by a theology of ability (</span><em>theologia resurrectionis</em><span>). The resurrection introduces the spiritual ability </span><em>parrhesia</em><span> − the transformation of the weakness of suffering into the fortigenitics of hope.</span></p><p><span><span>Lyding tussen lot en deug binne die dilemma van gestremdheid. Die onwikkeling van ’n teologie van die ‘gestremde God, hygend in ’n rolstoel’. Die gegewendheid en realiteit van verskillende vorme van gestremdheid onderstreep menslike weerloosheid en magteloosheid. Vir gelowiges wat worstel met die vraag na sin in lyding, roep dit onder andere die vraag op na die verband tussen lyding en die almag en krag van God. Die basiese argument is dat die Hellenistiese konsep en paradigma van die mag van God, God as </span><em>pantokrator</em><span>, die starre onbeweeglikheid van ’n apatiese God voorveronderstel. Met behulp van die oorsaak-gevolg skema van denke, word God, in terme van die menslike logika, ’n deterministiese kousaliteitsbeginsel en verklaringsmeganisme. Met behulp van ’n teopasgitiese hermeneutiek binne die raamwerk van ’n kruisteologie, word aandag gegee aan die opsie van ’n lydende en meelydende God (die passie van God). Die swakheid en weerloosheid van God (</span><em>astheneia</em><span>) beskryf die egtheid en integriteit van God in terme van ’n wesenlike identifikasie met die lyding van mense. Verlatenheid (</span><em>derelictio</em><span>) transformeer die populêre, dogmatiese siening van almags-determinisme in die sensitiewe paradigma van weerlose medelye. ’n Teologie van die ‘gestremde God’ word ontwikkel in die lig van die teologiese implikasies van </span><em>ta splanchna</em><span> op ’n eksistensiële Godsverstaan. ’n Tipe erbarmingsteologie (‘binnegoed’ of dermteologie) word ontwikkel wat help om die metafoor van ’n ‘ gestremde God, hygend in ’n rolstoel’ pastoraal te verstaan. Met die oog op die omvattende verstaan van hoop, moet ’n kruisteologie aangevul word met ’n opstandingsteologie. Die uitwerking van troos op mense met gestremdheid is </span><em>parrh</em><em>ē</em><em>sia</em><span>: die moed om te lewe.</span><br /></span></p

Topics: Practical Theology, BV1-5099, Practical religion. The Christian life, BV4485-5099
Publisher: AOSIS
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.4102/ids.v48i1.1692
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:0f06183738924ba9a60b3f07461d367b
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