Musing on God: evolution & revolution

“It is good and right that our own understanding of God and God’s purposes should change and develop.” Geoffrey Tristram, Anglican monk

“[All] 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).

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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.”

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My spiritual task is to “discover the Infinite in the finite.”   My passion, my hunger and my search in life is for oneness with a God Who is Real and Present.

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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.

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In the early years of Christianity, the common hallmarks of those who believed in and followed Jesus included: their care and love of each other; their love of their enemies; caring for the poor, the widows and orphans; sharing of resources with each other; not serving in the military; burying not only their own dead but the dead of the ‘pagans’ as well.

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: 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 song says: “things that make you go, ‘hmmmm.’”

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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, well, imitates God.

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