I have just listened to an old friend preach a sermon. She doesn't know, as it was an online podcast. I had believed that I had taken a very different faith path to her and perhaps that was why we gently lost touch. I was surprised at my finding her sermon and listening to it, and pleased that I enjoyed much of it - clearly well researched, presented and human. But... it led to me sitting down to share my own thoughts.
Recently, I went to the first evangelical church service in years. I forgot there were people who think that there is one way to God. I felt a draw and acted on it, though I'm not entirely sure why. Those in such circles would say, she's coming back to the Truth and the Way.
No, I shall never again believe that God manisfests in one narrow path and sees those on other spiral spiritual journeys as backslidden or lost. My faith and relationship with God have grown and improved in the years I stopped labelling myself as evangelical, or even exclusively Christian.
So why hang out round Evos? I am acting on a hunch that we have something to give and learn from each other. If I've found something good, why shouldn't I share it?
I've written about snakes on here - shiny/enlightened ones - and I sense that this is going to be one of my snaky logic posts. I felt the need to just write - I am very into following my intuition at present. In evangelical terms, that would mean following God's directives. I do feel my hunches and whims are very much of God, whether it be to pop up in a church or to contact someone from years ago or to just write...
However, the first thing I realise I want to say is - God's not much into directives as directing. In the spiritual companion way. You might say, as in film or theatre, but I mean the actor's director, who doesn't impose their vision but who wants everyone's contribution to be valued, who will listen, and who is prepared to act differently because of what cast and crew and audience tell him or her.
I feel more and more - who is this God who is worse that humans?!
Imagine you are my congregants. I get to the top storey of a three decker pulpit, so I'm not 6 but 12 foot above contradiction. I have special robes on so you know I'm powerful and different to you. I ask - or rather, order you all to kneel. On the cold floor. Yes it's uncomfy - but you aren't to think of yourselves. Show some humility. Yes, you too, older ones and those with painful joints - learn to give to me and put bodily weaknesses aside. I could ask you to kneel here as long as I want - I am in charge! I do love you all, and want the best for you - but remember, I do know best. I also am your intimate Friend, but I am at a distance from you, divided by this gated dais as well as the height of this one person pulpit. I can see all of you - but you can't see each other. There is nowhere you can hide. I've got CCTV as well as eyes in the back of my head. You can't come to where I am - maybe in the next world, but even then, you'll only get to the second deck. And that's if you're really good. As judged by me - no appeal.
Do I sound like a good leader? Want to come to my church, live in my land, or work for me? Glad I'm your parent or friend?
How well would I stand up to human wisdom about healthy relationships? Would you want to be close to someone who manipulated you and always wanted you kept in your lowly place? How'd you like someone who ensured you needed them and made you feel bad for self suffciency, bringing poeple to the edge, to the least comfy, most scary place - just so you know how much you need me and don't leave or question me?
What do you think? Healthy marriage? Good mother? An employer you'd like the tribunals to know about? Want social services to be involved? Thinking of revolting, or at least radical reform against my dictorship?
So why is your God this tyrant, this manipulator, this person so afraid of questions and rebellion? Isn't it a sign of weakness to rule by fear? I see much of that in our world - the dependent minions uphold the status quo and spread insidous gospels to keep us in check so that the olilgarchs continue?
Do you think God likes humans who behave like this?
If God is worthy of the title, who is Love... let me stop there. It is God's most important attribute, the most vital thing on earth. Is absolute Love (the only absolute I believe in) a crushing or empowering force?
What do you want for your loved ones? As a good teacher, what do you want to see for your mentees? You want them to be all they can. You are prepared for them to reach if not exceed you. So why not the heavenly, ultimate Friend, Parent, High Priest, the All...? (Note I skipped King and Master).
If God is GOOD, in all senses (you may know the Graham Kendrick song....) can He be these things I have said? Be interdependent - yes. But a crutch than keeps you crippled? (forgive the Un-PC term, it is pleasingly allterative).
If you were my congregants, I would ask you to rise off your knees and to stand, tall. I'd come down from the pulpit. Yes, Jesus did that. And he'd make a pulpit big enough for you all to join him in - isn't that what he said he was off to do... and the big mansion.... not the rostrum for 1.
Rather than self suffciency being a sin (aren't there alot?NO - see my other posts!), it's an unnecessary burden. God is saying - I'm here, use me. There are other beings too, some with bodies, some not. What a shame to not have relationship with them too and to struggle alone. Learning to accept and ask for help, to live in balance and relationally - I am convinced this is a key theology and life essence. Live in love, live with Love.
But no writhing, no 'get down!' God says, Rise. I did, so you can too.