Friday, October 14, 2016

The longer I stick with the idea that there is a God and that the God that is, is testified to in a good portion of what is called the Old Testament and New Testament, the more I become aware of how most of what I've believed about this God is so lacking and limited.  God, as I have experienced, is beyond our language to describe, our hearts to contain, our beliefs to bear full witness to, our minds to conceive.  These limitations do more to mislead people than to aid them in discovery. Indeed, any explanation that isn't steeped in mystery is likely to push people away from God, rather than toward God. Scripture bears witness to this God-beyond-explanation--God answers Moses' question about who he should say sent him with "I Am", and Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Spirit cannot be predicted, and there are far more examples that point to the undefinable nature of God.
Most of the theological stages I've passed through have been little more than a wide spot on the spiritual highway, though my own experience and what I've witnessed of others is that we set up house at these barely wide-spots; i.e., we settle in thinking and expecting we are not moving from there or changing our idea of God and who we are to be.  Unfortunately, since these are not permanent theological locations, many people who discover the impermanence of these wide-spots simply give up on anything beyond them, give up on seeking anything more, give up on God because their idea of God has been so cemented to a limited idea that they feel betrayed, angry, disillusioned, and disappointed--since the limited view cannot speak to the challenges and griefs we experience.
My experience of settling in is much like I remember when I was a boy and my father would be doing yard work. My father would give me a ride in the wheelbarrow around the yard, twisting this way and that, until he would stop near where he was working and park the wheelbarrow. There I would sit in the wheelbarrow and not get out, hoping for another ride. Eventually, however, needing the wheelbarrow, my father would dump me out.
God allows the circumstances of life to dump me out of the theological and spiritual wheelbarrows I become accustomed to, and no matter how many times I try to crawl back in, it just won't hold me.
It isn't that God isn't seen through these views of God, its just that each view is so limited.  As I move further along, I become both frustrated that language is too limited to express God, and grateful in the vast landscape that continues to broaden in truth and love that is inexpressible. I have discovered that so far there's always another wheelbarrow ride as long as I remain curious.

© 2016 Stephen Carl

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