Skip to content

The Kenotic Subject

“The kenosis of God creates the possibility of a human subject very different from the consumer self.  The absolute uniqueness of Christ cannot be subsumed under any more general categories of being.  If God is God, then God must always be beyond our comprehension: si comprehendis non est Deus.  We are, nevertheless, invited to participate in the Trinitarian life through Christ and the work of the Spirit.  But in order to do so, we cannot grasp, we can only submit.  We cannot stand back from the world and survey it; we must simply take our role in the drama that God is staging and give ourselves to it.”

–William T. Cavanaugh, Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 81.


  1. Ben Myers wrote:

    Just read this on the weekend: what an incisive and potent little book!

    Monday, May 12, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    I agree. I had read most of the articles before, but its a great and accesible read. “Cavanaugh for everyone” is the best description I can think of.

    Monday, May 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  3. JAKE wrote:

    i had a great time chatting at the brorsehass!
    lets get together sometime.
    jake dockter

    Monday, May 12, 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink
  4. Halden wrote:

    Hey Jake. As did I. I’ll shoot you an email sometime soon.

    Monday, May 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  5. jake wrote:

    have you read George Ellis.
    hes rad. there is a rad interview with him on NPR’s SPEAKING OF FAITH.
    In Ellis’ presentation he spoke of kenosis as a technique of emptying oneself of ego and selfish goals. This enables one to sacrifice and take risks for others and/or for the greater good.
    He is a cosmologist who also worked closely in post-apartheid with the redevelopment.
    the idea of kenosis being a hardwired law is intriguing. check it out

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

Switch to our mobile site