Predictably, I was asked, in so many more words, if I was referring to the deity formerly known as God.
To which, I would answer, "yes and no, depending on whether you are a believer."
I was asked if I was channeling James Luther Adams, and of course, I am. The phrase is Adams'. And as such, I am within the tradition of Paul Tillich, and his approach to religious vocabulary.
I think that it is indisputable that there are powers at work in the world that are not made by human hands: some creative, some destructive, some of which are personified in language. Ask anybody from New Orleans about Katrina's powers.
I spend a big chunk of my life as a Marxist, and really, philosophically, I am still a dialectical materialist with a religious vocabulary and, I hope, better ethics. And so, I have long identified powers at work in the world that are beyond human creation or control: the market, technological change, history, the ocean currents and the heat trapping qualities of carbon dioxide. Although these are attributes of human social life, they seem external and objective to even those with power and privilege. The President, the Chairman of the Board, the Pope, all feel that their options are limited by the historical situation that they are in.
But there is a dialectic at work in history and in the world and in us. We can sum it up with a few words: oppression breeds resistance. Resistance inspires solidarity. Solidarity creates unity, and unity engenders hope and hope transcends cruelty and death, making them not individual defeats, but redeemable sacrifices. Maybe not now. Maybe not for me.
I don't make these things: resistance, solidarity, hope, redemption, by writing about them, by saying the words. They already exist, and are being enacted, and performed, and embodied by people all over the world. Many of them believe in that aforementioned deity; many do not.
But I firmly believe in them, genuine powers that create, sustain, transform and redeem. And I believe that they at work in the Universe. Despite all the destructive powers not made by conscious human hands that are driving us toward a grim future, I believe also that they are other powers greater than any of us, and that they will uphold us, and redeem us, when we risk our lives for love.