April 8, 2014
G is for…
…God. Naturally. Sigh.
Disclaimer: This is not a theological treatise; it’s a personal reflection. I don’t want to argue theology today. Sorry.
I’ve been battling with God. Or rather, I’ve been battling with the “God” I internalized from childhood. I’ve been battling with the human interpretation of God that I somehow wound up pledging allegiance to. I’ve started calling him the God of diamonds.
Everyone knows, at least basically, how diamonds are made, right? Carbon, deep earth, incredibly high heat, incredibly high pressure. Yeah, that’s kind of how I see “my” God. Or it was. The God of diamonds is a punishing kind of God, judgmental, subjecting his carbon-based creations to extreme high heat and pressure to form perfection.
And I’m shedding that God, that understanding of God, that perhaps biblically inspired but humanly skewed interpretation of God.
My friend M frequently reminds me that I don’t live under the old covenant anymore. The judgmental, tribal, punishing God is an old covenant God.
I am a new covenant girl. I look at Jesus, the bringer of the new covenant, “who went about doing good,” who went about showing love, who went about not passing judgment. Jesus embodied love. Even when he called the Pharisees a den of vipers and whitewashed sepulchers, he wasn’t judging so much as simply describing what was true.
Jesus said, “I am the way.” His way was the way of love. Logic applies, I think: Jesus is love; love is the way.
I know this sounds so simplistic. My old-covenant habits are quivering in indignation, my frenetic old-covenant alarm bells clanging. But this is where I am today with God.
And God seems to be okay with it so far. The God of diamonds should have struck me dead (or at least ill) by now, or instigated some other tragedy in order to teach me a lesson and return me to the fold. But when I talk with God about this, as I have been doing openly and honestly and vigorously over the past few weeks (and this week especially), I am only receiving confirmations of love, affirmations from every direction—from conversations to counseling sessions to reading material and even to Facebook postcards! I mean, it’s actually ridiculous how thick he’s laying it on. (That God guy has a sense of humor sometimes.)
So I will stay on this path, and give myself permission (daily, hourly) to let go of the judgment and fierce pressure I have always withheld from others but applied liberally and lavishly to myself, and begin turning some of the love I give to others onto myself, as well. That feels really weird to say. But I’m supposed to be trying to emulate God, no? And God is love. And Jesus showed us the way.
Instead of the God of diamonds, I am sitting with and breathing in what I’m calling the God of dirt—yes, dirt: soil, rich loam, that nurtures new life, that converts old life into new life, that loves seeds and imbues them and gives them the nourishment they need in order to thrive and push up into the light of the sun, still more lifegiving energy. The God of dirt, the God of love.
We are made of carbon and love. Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer, postulated, “We’re made of star stuff.” I agree. And God made the stars, and God made us, and we are made of godstuff, and God is love—that is, we are made of the stuff of love.
My counselor said, “Jesus isn’t an asshole. He told us to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves,’ which implies that we are capable of doing this, that we already know how, even if we don’t know that we know how. Jesus wouldn’t tell us to do something that was impossible for us to do.”
Yeah. Jesus isn’t an asshole. God isn’t an asshole. Hence, it’s the God of dirt for me.