Isn’t this always how it is when we’re exploring the mystery? Whether the mystery lies in our own quest to know ourself, or centered in the quest to know or understand God. This means different things to each one of us.
There is only one thing I know for sure.
We are on this journey together. As we travel side by side, we can discover how deep or shallow our quest is by how we respond to the endless lack of real answers, and an increasing awareness of the wonder that lies beyond us.
This is what happened to me. In my sincere desire to reconnect with the deep and powerful spirituality I experienced many years ago, without taking on the dogma that oppresses us, or the manmade and culturally influenced worldviews that didn’t mirror the message of Christ, I discovered a new sense of what it means to call oneself a Christian.
I walked away from the Christian culture years ago simply because I couldn’t line up my understanding of what I’d learned through the spiritual life and teachings of Jesus with how Christ followers showed up in the world. This incongruence was not about politics, it was about spirit and attitude.
It had little to do with other Christians personally. It was an over-arching message that did not line up with the overwhelming power of what I’d come to understand as the holy spirit, but rather, as what some interpreted as ‘right’ behavior, as opposed to transcendent experience or living authentically and compassionately. They are so different.
My imagery of God, and how they described God and God’s desire for the world, sounded so different that my inner spirit couldn’t resolve it. Some Christians were communicating a linear understanding that seemed to minimize the complexity and wonder of God as I had come to understand God. I could love them, be friends with them. I maintained a deep curiosity about how they came to believe the way they did. I even tried to enter into spiritual practice with them – until the spiritual practice included political agendas and messages that, from my perspective, were not congruent to the message. That’s where I drew the line – in any spiritual community.
I could not walk my spiritual journey in fear. I disagreed strongly with the idea that people of different religions were to be avoided unless the goal was to convert them. This was not my idea or experience of what being a Christian meant. It still isn’t.
There is no room for fear in living out love. If we say we want to know God – which is impossible, by the way – we cannot also promote or live from fear. They cannot co-exist.
Fear not only doesn’t co-exist with love, it cancels out hope. How is it possible to live the message of love if we are seperating people from one another, or insulating ourselves, or so attached to being right that we can’t see when we are actually saying the same thing? Which, I’m convinced, happens much more often than we think it does.
I think this is the real truth. We have to look. Not look harder, but easier. We have to hold on a little less tight to what we believe, and rather, trust what our heart knows.
If we know the God that Jesus talked about, we’d know God is all that is. That God is love. And God is spirit. God is not a judge who awaits our condemnation. Rather, God is formless, and exists in all that is…and so completely indescribable that we cannot attempt to draw a picture of God that we can hold on to with any degree of certainty.
What we do know is love is God’s foundation. We can imagine that God is the glue to our reality, the glue that holds it together in love and spirit, and when the green cell emerged from a toxic stew and nothingness, God incarnated as matter.
The earth is the incarnation of God, God’s creative expression. Jesus became the Christ, with the full ability to be in union with God. Christ was not Jesus’ last name. As Christ, which was eternal, God incarnated through the man of Jesus, in human form. The only way we could understand the real experience of love was to witness and experience it through the life of a human being. Humanity can’t grasp how to love energy or an idea of something formless like spirit – not in the way we can love a human being who thinks, feels, lives as we do – someone we can relate to. Christianity gave people a way to love all that is in a way that connected us to the experience out of our own reality.
The religious bureacracies of Christianity have tried to contain it, and define it. Some of their attempts have been valuable, and some destructive, but interestingly, the concept of the Trinity is powerful symbolism that demonstrates the powerful integration of formlessness(energy), spirit, and matter operating in relationship to itself like a self feeding spring – or a waterwheel. It moves and flows within itself, much like a hologram. The dynamic flow creates movement and life. In this sense, it mimics the natural dynamic of how life functions on earth.
This idea, if held on to lightly, allows for the freedom of expression, mystery, love, and union with life itself. Richard Rohr suggests that matter and spirit came together as one in Christ. We are also in this fluid, flowing relationship with God and Spirit. We are joined and interconnected, fully moving as one.
The life of the Spirit and finding union with God, whatever that looks like to us, is not found in words, but in experience. In the process of the movement and flow of God. This is where our knowing comes from…and where the early Christians spoke from. It was not from a book they read, but from the experience they too had with the mystery and God itself.
A light grasp and deep faith in the vastness of what the mystery holds is what will ultimately allows us to move forward in authentic power and love. If we release our need to have all the answers or push our beliefs on others, we can love authentically and live freely…and possibly know the peace that passes all understanding.