I like my faith big. Wide as a summer sky. Beyond. Way way beyond the scope of my mind. I like my heart to know trembling awe, and my soul to be blown away. I want to be stretched. I wish to grow. I need my faith to reflect my deepest longings and my most impossible yearnings.
I want my God to be unafraid of my doubts, or my myriad questions, or my cynical snide moods. I need a God who knows how hard it is to surrender control, or choose to be like a child. I desire a God who loves me for all the ways I seek to explain or disprove Him / Her. I cherish a God I cannot possibly comprehend, and for which there are truly no words – not even in the Bible.
I seek the sum and substance of God. The infinite mercy. The endless compassion. The creative force. The incomprehensible forgiveness. The magnificent love of those the world deems unlovable. For me, it is Jesus Christ who puts a name and face to this God. Yet, I remain confident, others have also found names and faces just as worthy.
I want a faith and a God which threaten to make me burst. To burst the bubble of my silly pride. To burst open the foolishness of my answers. To burst forth like the sun with a call to live life fully and honestly. To burst with freshness every day. To burst the illusion of certainty. To offer a thunder burst to sweep away the hot steamy agony of Life’s losses.
The faith I witness in so many today, is just so small. Tight and rigid. Frightened. So wary of being wrong. So put off by this world, that all they can speak of is the next. Their words are repetitive. Formulaic. Like bumper stickers. Advertising slogans. It all sounds too easy for them. Too cross-less. No change or transformation required. Just Life on their terms. Even God is on their terms. In fact, their God looks and sounds and behaves a lot like them.
I wince a lot at what I hear these days, at what pretends to be faith. It sounds, well, dead certain. It sound like it emits from a know it all. It sounds fool proof, but foolish. It sounds American. Most of all, it sounds like waves of answers from a sea of questions I am not asking. I have grown deaf to all the Jesus talk. All the born-again stuff. To the countless ways TV evangelists find to allow for being rich and Christian at the same time. Knowing and believing are simply not the same.
But, then, there is my own judgmental side rearing its ugly head. I don’t like that either, and I can feel its prickly heat on the back of my neck. Those people are not my kind of people. Those silly uniformed folks. Those simple critters. Those creatures of habit and law and tradition. Those damn conservatives. I told you – it isn’t a pretty side.
Still, I know this. I must claim my own need for a God I cannot fit in my hip pocket; a God who is not always on my side, or on any side for that matter ; a God who is way too large to be fit inside one faith or one religion. I feel compelled to claim this gut spiritual impulse. This survival instinct? This view from what I hope is higher ground.
More than most of what I think or feel, it is what centers me in the Grace of God, and what keeps me focused on finding the eternity in the here and now, and not wasting time planning for it after I die. I still must love those who cannot understand a word I write or say.
Keeps it all interesting. And painful. And chaotic. Keeps me human. Keeps me knowing God’s will is to celebrate that humanity, and not squander the fortune of Life on trying to be anything but human. Every human effort to build or climb a tower, has only resulted in the tower tumbling down. Isn’t it time to lift up the rubble at our feet, and say, “Here it is. This is the Truth. The bits and pieces. The shambles. The ruins.”
I once saw a most ironic sign in Devon, on England’s southeast coast. It read, DON’T DAMAGE THE RUINS. It made me laugh. Out loud. How silly, I thought. How crazily necessary. This massive fortress called faith must be protected at all costs, in spite of the fact that from day one it was smashed to smithereens.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.