As I reviewed the various entries I’ve posted here, I see that, through this blog as well as the feedback of some of my readers, I have been defining more and more the God of my understanding.
This powerful notion is derived from 12-Step thinking. The founders of AA noted that on the one hand the solution to addiction needed to be spiritual but that on the other hand many addicts had negative impressions of and experiences with organized religion. Thus, the spiritual solution posited by AA could not be limited to the Christian God or the Jewish God or the Muslim God or any other God. There needed to be room for the addict to find his/her own definition of God.
Some define that God in accord with a God of a particular religion. Others may define that Higher Power in terms of their own recovery group. One man even defined his Higher Power as having something to do with the theories of Stephen Hawking.
At this point, then, here are some of the aspects I’ve come to see about the God of my own understanding:
- I need a God with whom I can fight. I have heard too many stories of senseless suffering to be able to have a powerful God before whom I am submissive.
- I need a God I can find outside of churches. Some of my most powerful spiritual experiences have occurred in nature and in the presence of great art.
- I need a God who is still creating. The God of my understanding did not stop creating after seven days. He/She invites me to participate in that creation. He/She also invites me to facilitate and encourage creative energy in others.
- I need a God that does not condemn people to hell. As C.S. Lewis has written, even after we die, forgiveness is available to us. On the other hand, even after we die, we may still need to come to terms with the impact of the pain we caused. We sometimes have to wander a bit.
- I need a God I can find in other people. I tend to be antisocial and not to like people very much. The possibility that God is present in each and every one of us challenges those tendencies.
- I need a God who is not confined by any religion. Yes, I still call myself Catholic but the God of my understanding can also be found in temples, mosques, sweat lodges, and the gathering places of other faiths
- Finally, I need a God who celebrates sensation. I have heard too much over the years of spirit as better than body. Our senses may very well be a doorway to God, not an impediment.
Reflection: Take some time to explore how you define God at this point in your life