Leave Certainty
Cobb Quotes

Jesus' Abba

Jesus Abba: The God Who Has Not FailedJesus Abba: The God Who Has Not Failed by John B. Cobb Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Succinctly and in a confessional style John Cobb gives a passionate, intelligent presentation of of the key theological and philosophical positions of process theology. This might be a great introduction to that school for those who don't know it.

My favourite line fits paradoxcially with the subtitle. In a discussion of prayer and divine power Cobb writes, "My guess is that God often fails."

Process thought has been arguing for more than a century against traditional notions of divine power, and you can sense some frustration on Cobb's part that these arguments still have to be made. Just yesterday I saw a post of a friend's on Facebook angry about what he perceived as God's role in a friend's illness and why some were suggesting prayer. I wrote that I had a different understanding of prayer and rejected that understanding of divine power. I agree with Cobb that the great mass of humanity would be liberated into new thriving and greater, problem-solving community if we would just rid ourselves of bad metaphysics, particularly the Greco-Roman notion of divine power that is actually alien to the Judaeo-Christian notion.

I once heard Cobb asked if someone had to learn all the details of process theology, and he answered no that it was sufficient "if you believe that God is not a jerk." Though he doesn't use that line in this volume, that's what it is about--Jesus' vision of a God who is loving parent of an infant and not a jerk.

And so divine power is the lure, as Whitehead called it, or "the call forward" in Cobb's phrase. God is that Spirit which calls us forward to the ideals. Anyone sitting in my congregations will realize that I use this language all the time--without getting into in-depth exigesis of process philosophy and its sometimes difficult terminology.

This volume is probably the last published work of a wise, compassionate soul, his final hopeful message for the world.

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