My very precocious little granddaughter was perched on the arm of my chair when I thought to ask her what she knows about God. She thought about it a minute and said: “I think His favorite color is yellow, a very, very bright beautiful yellow.”
It took a minute for me to think that one through. Then I was curious. “What else do you know about God?” “I know He loves me more than anyone, even Mommy and Daddy.”
Fast forward to a telephone conversation this week. I was frustrated not being able to think of the name of a very well-known person. “Oh, God, why can’t I think of it?!” My sixteen-year-old grandson took me to task for taking the Lord's name in vain. I tried to get out of it by saying that it was more a prayer on my part but that didn’t please him. Oh dear!
Same family, same Christian School, same church. What a very different concept of who God is. It has seemed to me, as I have studied theology, that humankind prefers to keep God stuffed in somewhere: into a male image; into a box called a tabernacle; in heaven; nailed to a cross; in liturgy; held prisoner in a stained-glass jail. Jesus tried to let God out. Christianity stuffed him back in.
The stories came to me today as my spiritual group was discussing Marcus Borg’s book: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. (This is not the book to read if you aren’t ready for a challenge to your faith.) For me, one liberating sentence sums up Borgs thinking and mine.
"I realized that the word “God” does not refer to a supernatural being “out there” (which is where I had put God ever since my childhood musings about God “up in heaven”. Rather, I began to see, the word “God” refers to the sacred at the center of existence, the holy mystery that is all around us and within us."
This sums up neatly what Celtic Spirituality has given me with the understanding that God is also revealed, not just in the bible, but in creation as well. In another blog I spoke of the time when, alone at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I was crawling on the sidewalk because I felt so small and I couldn’t imagine how God could possibly know I was there. Never again will I suffer that devastating isolation from the Divine.
God lives in me. A very part of my being. Gradually, over time, our childhood belief in God is challenged and we experience conversions. Conversions can be small or earthshaking revelations but the sum of them ultimately reveals who God is to us individually. Our relationship with God may always be a God who exists elsewhere, to whom we pray and who we trust, like a loving father. Or our relationship may be more intimate: a flow of loving, creative energy. Where ever we find ourselves on the spectrum, at any given time in our lives, may God always be good and faith always genuine.
Ann Dolbier is a Celtic Way Contributor. Read
Read more about Ann here.