The Silent Cry

DSFrom Dorothee Soelle in her book The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (2001):

At best, what Protestant theology and preaching articulate in what they designate as “gospel” can be summed up as follows: God loves, protects, renews, and saves us. One rarely hears that this process can be truly experienced only when such love, like every genuine love, is mutual. That humans love, protect, renew, and save God sounds to most people like megalomania or even madness. But the madness of this love is exactly what mystics live on.

What drew me to mysticism was the dream of finding a form of spirituality that I was missing in German Protestantism. What I was seeking had to be less dogmatic, less cerebral and encased in words, and less centered on men…

The title of this book [The Silent Cry] is an address to God that is taken from an anonymous letter from the late Middle Ages, presumably from a pastor to a penitent in difficulties and distress. “My child, be patient and leave off because God will not be torn from the ground of your heart. O deep treasure, how whilt thou be unearthed?” This is followed by a series of addresses to God that, as often happens in the language of German mysticism, do not use the traditional personal metaphors like Father, King, Most High, but new, nonpersonal ones like treasure, fountain, radiance, or “security that is hidden” in order to name the deity. In that sequence of metaphors is found the paradoxical expression “the silent cry” that has fixed itself in my mind for years now. It is a mystical name for God, whose divine power is not grounded in domination and commandment. It is a name that everyone can use, everyone who misses the “silent cry” that has often become inaudible among us. May the one who also cries in us help us all to learn to hear the cry in the foundations of the world.

A Liberating & Unifying Force

DorotheeFrom Dorothee Soelle in The Strength of the Weak: Toward a Christian Feminist Identity (1984):

The most important virtue in this kind of religion is not obedience but solidarity, for solidarity asks that we change the image of God from that of a power-dispensing father to one of a liberating and unifying force, that we cease to be objects and become subjects involved in this process of change, that we learn cooperation rather than wait for things to come to us from on high.  These are all elements of mystical piety.

A Betrayal of the Disappointed

Dorothee SoelleFrom Dorothee Soelle in “Christofascism,” in The Window of Vulnerability: A Political Spirituality (1990):

At a mass meeting a thousand voices shouted: ‘I love Jesus’ and ‘I love America’ — it was impossible to distinguish the two. This kind of religion knows the cross only as a magical symbol of what he has done for us, not as the sign of the poor man who was tortured to death as a political criminal, like thousands today who stand up for his truth in El Salvador. This is a God without justice, a Jesus without a cross, an Easter without a cross — what remains is a metaphysical Easter Bunny in front of the beautiful blue light of the television screen, a betrayal of the disappointed, a miracle weapon in service of the mighty.