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1033: "And so I ask God to rid me of God. The God who is known and familiar is too small for him"

Day 1033: Friday, January 13, 2023

"And so I ask God to rid me of God," Meister Eckhart says. "The God who is known and familiar is too small for him.”

It has taken me 1033 days of organizing this blog to discover the wonder of Dorothee Steffensky-Sölle, a German liberation theologian and writer. It gives me great joy to turn over new ideas and share them..


Here are some of her quotes and a poem...


Joy, laughter, and delight are so powerful because, like all mysticism, they abolish conventional divisions, in this case the division between secular and sacred. The often boisterous laughter, especially of women, is part and parcel of the everyday life of mystical movements.”

― Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance



(commuters walk by large statue of homeless person)


The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 1o) can be interpreted in such a way that the question of the knowledge of God becomes its focus.


The priest and the Levite, who walk past the man who fell among robbers and was seriously hurt, are pious God-fearing persons. They "know" God and the law of God. They have God the same way that the one who knows has that which is known.


They know what God wants them to be and do. They also know where God is to be found, in the scriptures and the cult of the temple. For them, God is mediated through the existing institutions. They have their God - one who is not found on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho in the form of a wounded man.


What is wrong with this knowledge of God? The problem is not the knowledge of the Torah or the knowledge of the temple. What is false is a knowledge of God that does not allow for any unknowing or any negative theology. Because both actors know that God is "this," they do not see "that."


"And so I ask God to rid me of God," Meister Eckhart says. "The God who is known and familiar is too small for him.”

- Dorothee Soelle




And I saw a man on 126th Street

broom in hand

Sweeping eight feet of the street

Meticulously he removed garbage and dirt

from a tiny area

In the midst of a huge expanse

Of garbage and dirt


And I saw a man on 126th Street

Sorrow sat on his back

Sweeping eight feet of the street

Wear and tear showed on his arms

In a city

Where only crazy folk

Find something to hope in


And I saw a man on 126th Street

broom in hand

There are many ways to offer prayer

With a broom in the hand

Is one I had hitherto

Not seen before


- Dorothee Soelle



“Among the first questions a native mother asks her child in the morning is: what did you dream? When I heard this for the first time I felt ashamed because I used to ask my children only: Did you do your mathematics homework? Do you have your lunch?


The experiences of other cultures may not be immediately helpful to us, but they do at least make us aware of the deficits of our own culture . . . I want to remind us of the buried mysticism of childhood. There are for many of us - I almost want to say for every one of us - moments of heightened experience in childhood in which we are grasped by a remarkable, seemingly unshakable certainty. Mystics of the various ages have called upon this buried experience.”

― Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance



Dorothee Soelle


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