The Divine Encounter (1953, Fellowship Church, San Francisco, CA)


In this series delivered at Fellowship Church from March 9 to March 30, 1953, Thurman discusses encountering the divine in our everyday lives. Thurman finds God's logic in moments of personal crisis and chaos, as well as in our encounters with human need. Both crisis and human need can be dealt with at a surface level, but Thurman highlights the necessity of dealing with them at a deeper level – the level of religion. Do we dare search for God in our darkest moments? Do we have eyes to see the Lord's face in the hungry, the thirsty, and the imprisoned?




Descriptions by Rodell Jefferson III

Collection Items

The Divine Encounter, Part 1, 1953 March 9
In the first lecture of this series, Thurman discusses the Divine Encounter in the context of crisis. All living beings experience crisis in some form. These crises force us out of familiarity and comfort. Thurman suggests that, in the face of crisis, we have the option to retreat or move towards this challenge.  Using examples ranging from biblical Jacob to Beethoven, Thurman offers that, even in seeming chaos and disorder, there is an "orderliness of rationality of God." Ultimately, Thurman…

The Divine Encounter, Part 2, 1953 March 16
In Part 2 of this series on the Divine Encounter, Thurman continues to claim that all of life is supported by God's order, including life's crises. Thurman asserts that it is better to experience crisis than to have no crisis at all, for it is crisis that summons up the depth of the human spirit. For Thurman, all the universe shares the rationality of God with the human mind, and thus the mind is capable of finding revelation and understanding in any circumstance. By this connection, Thurman…

The Divine Encounter, Part 3, 1953 March 23
In Part 3 of this series on the Divine Encounter, Thurman remarks that "life is more than any experience of life." No single event, circumstance, or experience is capable of totally defining our lives. Any event that convinces us otherwise becomes God in our lives, which is why worry and anxiety are so despairing. For Thurman, remaining connected to the inexhaustible quality of our personalities gives our lives meaning and resilience. With this connection maintained, even death becomes nothing…

The Divine Encounter, Part 4, 1953 March 30
This final section in Thurman's series on the Divine Encounter examines the encounter with God in human need. Throughout this series, Thurman has spoken to dealing with crisis, not just on the surface, but at deeper levels. By relating to the person, rather than the person's sickness, we are able to restore them at the level of personality. This is a difficult task because we often deal with only aspects of each other, and not the whole. Nevertheless, when we deal with each other in whole, the…
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  • The Divine Encounter (1953, Fellowship Church, San Francisco, CA)