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.
Love the inspiration and happiness radiating on your blog, Thank you friend 🙂
Thank you, Gede Prama. I appreciate your time, your energy, and your kind comment. I look forward to spending some time reading through your blog, too.
Wow this is so beautifully written. I smell the rich soil of your heart. I know that His love for you will find a way through the tangle of weeds and pests. The garden will be so beautiful and a delight for all to see.
Aw, Dale, thank you. I love the smell of good dark dirt. Thank you for your anticipation of the garden to come.
Ros, is this the one you told me you were working on to offend? 😉 I loved it. The God of dirt has so much more appeal. Not that He has to try to impress ME; I just have difficulty believing he is hateful, vengeful, or spiteful.
Believe it or not, Denise, this isn’t the “offend someone” post–that one is probably “worse.” Hahaha! Thank you, though; I am giving myself to have the same “difficulty believing” that you do.
Glad you are experiencing a “God” upgrade. Enjoyed this thoughtful post.
Thank you, Tonia. It’s more of a me upgrade—or at least a self-talk and habit upgrade.
I was raised on the God of diamonds too, so I totally get this and love every word of it. I think I need a “Jesus isn’t an asshole” fridge magnet : )
Hahahaha, Deb! I’m totally gonna have that magnet made. I’ll send it to you for Christmas! I’m glad you can identify…but I’m not glad you can identify. LOL. I hope you understand what I mean.
YOU could be reworking (and definitely improving) words I have written in the past that sounded much like your God of diamonds. I really related to this and the defiance of sticking with the loving God even when all the judging doctrine from the past tries to pull you past. God is a God of love but, like you, I struggle with whether I actually am one God can love. Not so much the past two days though. Something has been different.
Oh, Linda, I kind of love that you cast it as defiance. That resonates with me. I’m really glad for the past two days for you! I sense a disturbance in the force (a good one). 🙂
Wait until you real my next two posts! I know I am not finished with this journey but it is so much lighter at the moment since I let that piece go into print on my site.
It has been a really long journey to get here. You may want to read my F- Fractures and Fault lines related story on its separate page in my site. Though I think I discuss something further than you struggle with, I think it shares some good truths I learned along my journey.
I spent all day Sunday writing it and pushed the post button only minutes before I left for my evening church service. The whole Lenten service was based around a Psalm that defiantly refused to stop crying to God for help even when it seemed like God wasn’t listening. He compared it to the spirituals and more angst ridden music forms in the last years saying that this Psalm helps us see how pain and alienation, instead of being something that makes people unworthy, may just have made people cling even harder to hope.
The Psalm he used was one that I had marked in the darkest of my experiences. It was like a benediction on posting what I had written.
I LOVE what you have written! It was a major ‘revelation’ for me too when I embraced a loving God and not a judgmental, punishing God! And when I gave myself permission to see that we are a reflection of that love (or made in his image depending upon perspective/belief), it became necessary for me to love myself in order to wipe away the fog on the mirror. What you wrote FEELS so deep and rich that I have no doubts that transformational seeds have been planted that will produce the most beautiful and loving flowers in the very near future. As you ride the waves of change, it brings to mind the following poem by Rumi:
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
Linda, thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and responding! Thank you especially for the poem! “Treat each guest honorably.” Indeed…. That message has been coming in strong from multiple directions and sources.
Wow! I completely understand where you are coming from with the God of the dirt! I think you could write a book about it! This is amazing truth!
Wow, Sharon! A book. Huh…. I hadn’t even considered that.
I love this post. The contrasts you’ve made between diamonds and dirt will stay with me through out the day.
That “God guy” is really up to something in your life.
Thank you, Melinda! I know he really is…and it’s nice to finally have a sense of the realest aspects of him! I’m so glad this resonated with you.