Is it how I express it, or manifested by feeling butterflies, behaving properly or living clean? What?
I saw a backdrop fabric today that struck me. White letters on black, that said,
God is Love Others Love God Love Others Serve the World God is Love Others Serve the World God is Love Others Love God Love Others Serve the World Love Others Serve the World Love God Love Others Serve the World God is Love Serve the World Love God Love Others Serve the World God is Love Others Serve the WorldLove God Love Others Serve the World
The words entranced me as my eyes scrolled across the fabric. I started thinking about keeping the main thing – the main thing. Loving God. Did I really love God? How do I know? I say it a lot. I wear it like a mantra – but what’s real inside me?
Do I love God even if I rebel towards some of the Christian culture? Am I against God too? What about when I cringe at men who claim to “lead” or “let” their wife, or believe it’s their place to inform them of their calling? Do I really love God if I’m embarrassed by Bible thumping Facebook friends who alienate others in discussions by telling them they’re wrong or shaming them?
That’s always a delicate situation. I’m not inclined to make them wrong since they’re voicing their truth – but it comes out so lopsided and they have no idea how crazy they sound. If I think that, do I love God?
A friend was bible thumping all over a thread I posted today. While I wished it would stop, it made me question why I rarely share scripture, or use the Bible as back-up, and why I’ve always steered clear of bible studies from those little books that give you the “right” answers. If someone vulnerably shares pain they're experiencing, it wouldn't occur to me to respond by suggesting a prayer. I don’t throw Bible verses around unless I’m in a pastoral or teaching situation – where it’s implied and expected.
I resist being told what to think; and discouraged when my creative process or flow of ideas are stifled. I celebrate a process that invites personal discovery and authentic soul searching that allows the lessons to unfold. It's in the unfolding experience that the lessons I'm there to learn reveal themselves. I want to own my a-has.
Do I know more than scholars and theologians? Of course not. But I might see something they haven’t. I’m also teachable. It's stimulating learning from someone who actually has something to say ... a far stretch from being fed rote answers to bible study questions like a vending machine. When genuninely listening; the input is received, processed, and integrated with what's already filed, allowing me to arrive at my own conclusions. I like that.
Some Christian friends would respond predictably. They’d tell me I want to do it my way, not God’s way. That I’m trying to create my own version of the Bible; or interpret it the way I want to hear it. Some might even say I’m not a true believer.
So, are they right?
I don’t think so.
Those passionate about true personal growth, or congruency and authenticity as a human being, we want the freedom to make decisions and arrive at them from the inside out.
We want to love God, and live in our truth.
I think it’s my way of attempting to declutter religion, and confusing or lofty language associated with it.
I want to simplify and gain clarity in translation, not stand in a position that diminishes God. Quite the opposite.
I think might be some value in decluttering religion…and deconstructing God. Let's get down to the core of what God is for all of us. Is God an experience, a belief, a way of life for you?
What would it look like to break down current religious-speak to bare bones, and rebuilt it, one word at a time, with a simple honesty that resonates and flows so people get what it's saying?
I’m not suggesting a new Bible translation, or that everyone needs to change.
I’m saying, can we make it ok to hear and speak the language of God in different ways, and gave others the freedom to use what worked for them without being judged?
Deconstructing doesn't mean God is humpty dumpty, and couldn't be put back together again. No matter what version of God your imagery paints, God is whole, complete, all that is - to most religions. But what if we deconstruct the attachments and imagery we have of God, except for that we agree on, such as whole, complete, love, spirit and whatever else arises that we agree on....and just let God be. God.
It’s more than enough.
Deconstructing the language that works so hard to define God might make Christianity a lot more interesting. Christian language distorts God into something God isn’t when we tranlating the same language differently – this quickly twists the perception of God or giving God room to expand into all God can be for someone.
It makes understanding God confusing, and intimidating. Worse yet, God is misrepresented.
What if we let God take his (or her) place in our understanding and experience..
and let God be…GOD
Isn’t this what Jesus did?
He was present with God. I never heard it described this way, but somehow I imagine Jesus being clear enough that God naturally rose up in him when he sought God. It’s how he felt God, how God spoke to him. It’s how God speaks to us.
Why do we spend so much time seeking and longing for God instead of just allowing God?
Allowing God to simply be there.
Because there God is.
Isn’t that how we experience God?
Like ransacking the house for our glasses until someone points out they’ve been sitting on top of our head the whole time.
When we drive, we look ahead on the road in order to respond accordingly – our brain and reflexes need that time to negotiate and maneuver the vehicle with the road ahead. But it’s different with God.
God is already right there. We’re not maneuvering to meet him up ahead. He’s already there.
We don’t have to look ahead to plan the turn – we have to stop and be in the present. To be fully present might even mean taking a few steps backwards - into now.
When I let it all be, and stop my mind's chatter, I remember how much I love God because in the deep and still present, it is only love. God is love. Nothing exists in that experience but love.
So there you have it.
I love God because God is love and only love exists in God.