No God in Church

AUTHOR’S WARNING: the following musing may step on your toes, anger you, disgust you, challenge you, make you give off a sigh of relief…or you may merely shrug your shoulders and say ‘big deal, get original.”  

We do not find God in church.

Before anyone starts sifting through stones to see which ones is best for casting, pause and permit me a moment to expound on what I see as the truth that we do not find God in church.

For you see, in truth, it is the other way around.  We ‘find’ God (a misnomer) and out of that flows a living incarnation called church.  For no “model” of church will produce God or God’s life in us.  It is in fact our life in God – when shared together – that becomes the building blocks of the expression called ‘church.’

Because we have gotten it backwards (thinking we find God in church) has led us to become dependent, or codependent, upon church – both the building and the denominations – as well as church leaders for ‘creating’ God’s life in us.  We have done this so much so that we become passive in our own spiritual growth.  When we rely upon others to “impart” God’s life to us, we become spiritually lazy – religious couch potatoes.  We end up waiting for others not only to show us how to grow spiritually but we even expect others to do the work for us (as if spiritual growth can be imparted magically with no effort or desire on our part).  And to top it off, we then end up complaining about the lack of “fruit” or growth and as a result of our spiritual passivity we tend to give up on the most important relationship we will ever have: the one with God.

But we must become active in our spirituality; we must hunger for and desire to experience what it means to live deeply in God’s great love.  And the great work that we do is the mere desire; for grace comes and draws us closer to the One Who is closer than our own skin.

I can tell you about my experience of God, but I cannot impart my experience of God into you; you have to have your own experience of God.  Others can offer guidance, but the truth be told, there should be 8 billion spiritual experiences happening, namely each and every person in the world must have their own personal (and therefore unique) experience with God.

In our modern age, it seems everything has become too easy, too fast to obtain that we have surrendered the daily, lifelong journey of a life with God.  In short, we have settled.  Our relationship with God becomes an historical event instead of what it has always been meant to be – what Jesus showed us it could be – a dynamic, living, breathing, loving, intimacy with God!

This relationship is about God sorting things out within us.  God transforms us and by God’s grace and doing (not ours), we learn to live content in God’s providential love instead of in the realm of worry, hurry, and religious structures.  But to have this life, to be this type of people, each of us must be having our own friendship with God.  Reading spiritual giants, reading about spiritual giants is all good, but at the end of the day, I am held accountable for my own spiritual growth and my intimacy with God.

Paradoxically, I cannot do this alone, but I do this within myself.  Community of some sort nurtures our connections to God and all that is divine, but we must as solitudes come face to face with the God of our being.  And rest assured, God longs to have this dynamic intimacy with each of us.

Remember this: God starts it; God sustains it; God waters and nurtures it; and God completes it.  Our role is, well, our role is to just “show up”…and surrender to this Sacred Love.

Forget the rules, the rigidity, the exclusiveness, the holy roller club techniques, the loopholes that allow the church to reject me because I’m a democrat, a republican, an anarchist, queer, black, white, yellow, red, brown, poor, rich, addict, all tatted up, whatever.  If we seek God, God will reward us with an intimacy that is beyond comprehension, beyond words, beyond being.

But we must make the leap and surrender to God, plain and simple.

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