“It is good and right that our own understanding of God and God’s purposes should change and develop.” Geoffrey Tristram, Anglican monk
“[All of] life is engulfed in God and God can reach out to us anywhere at any level.” – Evelyn Underhill
I firmly believe that God appears to us as we see God; if we see God as Love then so God appears. If we see God as angry, so too will God appear. If all I see is an angry God in Scriptures, then so shall God be. If I see God as Love, then too shall God be. In truth, each of us holds the power of perception over how God comes to us. Maybe all that needs to happen is the slight transformation of how we see God in order to become more open to real grace and to grow closer to God as God Is (and not as I see God).
Retired Bishop John Shelby Spong said that “imagining God as a “being” with primarily anthropomorphic constructs is an immature way of imagining God.” I could not agree more. The late theologian Paul Tillich nailed it on the head when he spoke of God not as “a being,” but rather as the “Ground of all Being.”
My spiritual task is to “discover the Infinite in the finite.” My passion, my hunger and my search in life is for oneness with God, not some fairy-tale, mythological/magical intervention by God.
As I watch and study Christians from all walks of life and from every construct (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) I am coming to believe that the greatest enemy of (our) faith in God is not doubt, but certainty. By its very nature, certainty blocks the child-like nature needed to see and experience God unfettered, without constraint. ‘Certainty’ assumes a perspective that can become myopically idolatrous – the belief that my beliefs are the Truth (rather than my experience of truth) and that there is no need or room for the evolution of beliefs.
Our Scriptures are thousands of years old, our creeds are more than 1500 years old and our liturgies are about 500 years old and our Christian faith has evolved almost nil. Every single facet and paradigm of human existence has evolved and changed in some capacity or another in that time period: science; technology; medicine; politics; education; economies; philosophies. But NOT so much in the Christian faith.
I wonder why that is…
In the early years of Christianity, the common hallmarks of those who followed Jesus (and and who were called people of the Way long before they were called Christians – which means by the way, “little Christ/little Messiah”) included their immense and passionate care and love of each other, their enemies and the poor, the widows and orphans; they were also known for not serving in the military and for burying not on their own dead but the dead of the ‘pagans’ as well (not only a gracious thing to do but a HUGE public health positive that helped stop the spread of disease). You can study the manuscripts of non-Christian historians and writers and even they wrote of this as a “marvel to behold.”
Now if I run that by what Christians are known for today (at least the ones we see on the news and on political talk shows and read about in the news) : almost violent and all consuming in their being against abortion; hating gays, lesbians and all who are different; cutting social welfare programs and healthcare; hating all Muslims; protecting the 2nd Amendment at all costs; anti-immigration nationalism; and a stark aloofness towards climate change and protecting and preserving God’s creation.
As the old 1990s song says: “things that make you go, ‘hmmmm.’”
God may be never changing, but I must…change. I must allow God to ‘evolve’ me with a revolution of the heart – a revolution of radical love that alters my own agenda, placing it at the service of loving neighbor, showing mercy, doing justice, and practicing kindness regardless of my religion or denomination or political slant.
In the end, I pray for God to evolve me into someone who imitates God and that, my friends, would indeed be a Revolution!