Tuesday, August 5, 2014


   In my last post I showed the difference between our faith experience of God and how we express our experience of God.  The ancient Hebrews experienced the same eternal-infinite God that we do today, and they expressed their experience in the ideas and language of their own time and culture.  If we wrote the Genesis story today, we would write it in the terms of today's language and culture, using today's experience of God.  The page, "An Evolution Story" gives you an idea of what I mean.

   A big problem with expressing the God of our faith in today's terms is that we still use images and language that are left over from other times and cultures.  A very important--and misleading--example is to imagine God as a Being somewhere "up there" or "out there" who intervenes in our world from time to time. This image gives us a God who is absent and who has to be asked to "come down" and be with us. For example, at Mass, the priest says, "The Lord be with you."  And we respond, "And with your spirit:, i.e., "with you."  If we think about it, we just asked an absent God to come and be with us.  But we don't ever have to ask God to be with us; we always have to thank God for already being with us--and within us and the entire universe!  Wouldn't it be better then, if the priest said, "The Lord is with us," and we joyfully responded, "Amen!"

   (Note that our experience of God begins with our experience of the universe, the earth and ourselves.  Then we experience God as living and acting within all that exists, especially within ourselves.)

   I suggest that one good way to experience God today is to first of all to put away all our images of God.  For the moment, let's not imagine God as "Father," "Lord," "Good Shepherd," "King," or any other of the wonderful things we call God.  Now, with a clear mind and imagination, let's look around at the world, at the earth and at the universe:  the sun and clouds or the star studded night sky, at rocks, mountains and oceans, plants and animals, and people. Imagine all of it--and us--as vibrantly full of deep, eternal life and energy.    

   Now imagine the universe as a sponge that is completely immersed in water.  Or imagine the universe and see a warm, intense, Living Light shining within it,  "saturating" every rock, mountain and ocean, every plant and flower, every animal, every person--with the glow of its creativity, healing and world-transforming love.  Or imagine within the universe a Sacred Flame, stirring the passion of wholeness and love within and throughout all the galaxies and especially within and throughout the earth.  

   Especially the energy living within all the peoples of earth, coming from the Inner Light and Life of Love, calling and energizing the world forward into the future, especially calling all the peoples of earth forward toward ever fuller life and love, sometimes despite horrific, man-made obstacles.  

   Breathe in the vibrancy of all this life, possibility and love, and find confidence and hope in the Spirit to work to move life on earth forward, despite the pessimism that too many people insist on generating through their hatred, greed and wars.      

   With such a positive, deep alive, all-encompassing experience of God to guide us, we can now take a clearer and more meaningful look at today's life and culture:  our politics, business, science, education, etc.       

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