“Our highest knowledge of God is nothing close to that which God truly is.” Attributed to St. Thomas, paraphrased
I have a confession to make: I am in search of a bigger God for you see my current one is too small. that’s right, the God that occupies my thoughts and heart has shrunk in size and scope, even divinity. Honestly, I need to get rid of him or I’m doomed to a small life in a small world with all hope suffocating to the point of death. I have made numerous attempts to give this God the pink slip, even writing him out of my life, but to no avail.
You see my God is too small, but he is equipped with a rather large “Ego” – this God I have currently is petty, pithy, and pedantic at best. The God that resides in my heart is an idol, one made up of fairy tales and freak outs passed down to me from my drunken fathers’ presence and absence. This God is narcissistic, needy, omnipotent, tyrannical, and just like my father my God is an Almighty Drunk. It is frightening.
I thought that decades ago I had been loosed of this Divine Schizophrenic but circumstances as of late have left me reeling in disbelief at the very core of my beliefs and just how small my God has become. Doctrine, dogma, stigma and stain all have left the remnants of a child-like faith based in innocence smashed and tattered by a full out frontal assault of FEAR. I am scared of my “oh so small God”
My current God cannot handle my pain, my emotional outbursts or my constant neediness. Nor can this God handle my questions or queries, leaving hope suffocated by the minutiae of daily life, questions big and small.
In fact, this God is too small precisely because He IS a He – a Zeus like old man resembling my Pops. Why can’t this God be a She? Or be like my mother? My mother was such a strong, lovely, regal woman who had wits and wilds about her…why can’t she be the source of my image of God instead of my alcoholic dad?!?
Here is something that piques my interest in the feminine face of God: one of the most oft used words to describe God’s wondrous glory in the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) is the word “Shekinah” – a feminine Hebrew word. And much like the French language and other Romance languages, gender is ascribed to words rather than leave them neutral and therefore neutered. Shekinah, to be more specific, is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew name of God in Judaism. The original word means the dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the Divine Presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem (search Wikipedia for more on Shekinah).
In Abrahamic faith traditions, your name denoted not only your character, but your destiny as well. So, Shekinah, a word implying the very dwelling Place of Presence of God is a feminine word. So maybe just maybe my God can be She as much as He as much as neither. For the sake of my own sanity, my oh so small God can grow and I can acknowledge that the great traits of my mother (and all the amazingly strong women in my life) can be divine reflections of the God I need in my life: One Who is strong, faithful, creative, beautiful, tender, and compassionate (a Divine Mama Bear not to be reckoned with when one of her cubs was in danger).
The search for a bigger God continues…
I can cash in this Peon God for one much larger than me, truly a “Power greater than myself” or I can stay stuck in the minutiae of a miniscule God and drive myself into insanity.
It is for this reason I love the 2nd Step of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous when it says “we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” A Power greater than me…” That can be understood in many ways, for me it can mean a Power greater than any limitation or fear I could ever have of God; it can mean a God Who is a Power that is Pure Love and desires unbroken intimacy with me, loving me no matter my foibles and frailties, no matter how needy or poor I am.
I am truly searching for a bigger God: not a health and wealth pie in the sky God; not a Polyannish one who never sees the darkness of life; not a Santa Claus God who gives me my wish list.
I am in search of a God whose Love is beyond being meted out by human restraint.
I am in search of a God who is holy – wholly other – yet dwells within me.
I am in search of a God Who is beyond dogmatic and doctrinal delineations; a God Whose very Being and strength is pure Love, infinite Mercy, holy Hospitality…a Liberator and Healer who is Radically Compassion.
I am in search of a God Who in turn is in search of me…