Thursday, January 01, 2009


The question of God continues to come back to us day after day. We believe and we doubt and sometimes we do so close to the same moment. Here's an exchange between a friend and me that I thought worth sharing...what do you think of God???
When I noted on Facebook that we were hunkering down for yet another snowstorm, a friend wrote as follows.
"God WANTS all you Easterners to have all that lovely snow!! Surely you are not criticizing God's WILL???" (This friend lives in California)
I responded as follows: "God's will has always been a puzzlement to me!!!
Alas, as my grandmother was fond of saying; "I can't understand everything I know..."
Happy New Year."
He wrote back and interesting set of thoughts; "I am ABSOLUTELY with you! God has always been and I suspect will always be a Puzzlement! Since I retired (well, maybe in the last 2 years) I have been completely rethinking "God". I think I am at the interesting point where "God" is a creation of the human mind/heart/psyche - which is OK, and which does not make "God" unreal. To the contrary. WHat the human mind conceives is certainly "real". And has power. I think this is the way the Mystery we call God "works".
What think you?"
If you know me well, then you know how I might approach these rejoinder; "My thoughts...God is a matter of the human heart. Perhaps a projection of the heart, but I suspect that as we journey more deeply into the "Interior Castle" of the human heart, so too we also begin our journey into the heart of God.
I reject notions of God that project him/her as a demi-urge or as an unmoved mover or any other mechanistic cog in the universe.
To me God is much more of an integral part of experience...the experience of love, suffering, forgiveness, despair, hope and the like...all of which invites us into an encounter with the deepest dimensions of our being...the "I am" of my own being as being in relationship with the "I AM" of God.
Still, faith such as it is, is only a leap into the unknown and the unknowable...and as such is still a magnificent Puzzlement.
As for me, the only semi knowable in life is love...and that reality is the only pathway I know to my heart and to the heart of God.
....just a thought...
Godspeed and Happy New Year.
Paul of Salem.


Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I love thoughts that require a fork and steak knife to get through and internalize.... and this coming from a vegan!
God's Will leaves me wondering about Free will. What say you about our free will and God's omnipotent nature? Doesn't omnipotence negate free will?
Megan from West Virginia

Fr. Paul said...

Hi Meg,
Thanks for your comment. When I think of God as "omnipotent" I try to see it in Biblical terms. In fact God is quite limited because of human will. We are free to be as mean, violent, hateful, prejudiced, dishonest and fraudulent as we wish to be...recent history is surely a witness to that.
In response to the nature of human nature, God cannot be anything but God. God is born, for instance, as a baby, homeless, and of an unwed mother, very poor and subject to the throes of all that befalls humanity. Ultimately he is put to death, and there is no intervention whatsoever. He is utterly helpless...isn't that curious. Jesus really is just like us. But what make God "omnipotent" is that he uses the occasion of his death, to forgive us, love us and give us the gift that we never expected, especially after we treated him so...he gives us eternal life. In fact Jesus claims the gift for himself but then curiously gives it to all humanity whether we want it or not and whether we deserve it or not.
What makes the gift "omnipotent" to me is that the gift is for EVERYONE...because ALL sins are forgiven. Even before we knew that we had done sinning at all.
We knew something was wrong...after all, there is lots of bloodshed...there still is. There was cheating, lying, and human suffering in generous supply.
But Jesus said...."I have a better idea...why don't you love each other?" We're still working on that...because being free...we'd somehow rather kill each other off...go figure.
Anyway...our job is to proclaim the good news...He is risen. We are forgiven. Love God. Love one another...please!
Godspeed to you Meg...and enjoy the veggies!