I believe in God. I believe in a Reality so big I can neither name nor describe it. People throughout the ages have tried to use human language to describe the Power that creates and each time we fall short. I don’t want a nameable, describable God. I don’t want a God small enough to fit comfortably in a human created box. My God is, to quote Buddy the Elf, “Ginormous!” and beyond. Not big in size, per se, but big in concept. In fact I’ve often thought that God is in-between: you know…nothing is solid, everything has space inside it from the heaviest metal to the smallest neutrino, and that space in-between is where I sometimes think God lives. And then I shrug my shoulders and confess I have no idea, the concept is too big for me. I have felt the Presence, which in my experience is complete joy to the point of weightlessness. Or so it felt at the time, well, at least that is the best way I can explain it. Otherworldly is a clever term that comes to mind as well.
Jesus, on the other hand, I can completely grasp. The idea of God desiring his creation so much as to try on a human suit and have a walkabout makes sense to me. I’ve wished to be other creatures in the past so as to commune on their level. And the idea of God suffering in solidarity makes me appreciate God all the more. I can’t say to God, “You don’t know how I feel,” because indeed God does know. Been there, done that, God lets me know. Jesus, God in a human suit, is all about love. Love the most unlikely, unlovable person and you experience real joy.
Jesus loved, lived with, and hung around all the folks who didn’t make the “A” list. He loved and cared for the freaks, the outcasts, the weirdos, the aliens. I’m supposed to continue doing that in order for his love to live out. And, occasionally I succeed. Sometimes I fail miserably. The institutional church is really good at failing to follow such a path. The Church as the body of Christ has done amazing good for an enormous amount of people; from disaster relief to holding someone’s hand in times of trial. As an institution the church has wrecked amazing amounts of harm; from the Crusades to the exclusion of the LGBTQ community in the larger picture to simply ignoring those who don’t look like us in our hometown churches.
As to my own example of being excluded, I keep thinking of the Bishop’s comment, “I wish some things in your past were different.” Well no shit, Sherlock, I wish the same thing sometimes. I can look back in my mind’s eye and wonder what on Earth was I thinking? But you know what? My past made me who I am today. My past allows me to understand the folks who are right now going through the same drama trauma I went through. The beauty of it is I got through it. I turned around and stopped the actions that were creating a miserable life for me and those around me. You know who helped me through that “Slow Turning,” as John Hiatt would say? People who had been through similar crap and turned around, not people from the church who all their lives dressed, acted, and smelled like minty-fresh Christians. Nope, the ones who helped me were the ones Jesus would have been hanging out with, the ones who needed him. That is the kind of God I want and at its heart I believe this is the God the Church wants as well. I pray that we both find what we want.