I got up early today to see Lisa off to work. The first thing I did was make myself a coffee. Then I turned on my stereo to listen to music. Then I sat down to draw my cartoon for the day. After Jesse got up I made us Mexican omelets. Then I took Abby for a walk. Now I’m sitting down to write you my Sunday Lap-Letter.
Let’s talk about God.
Many years ago I met up with a very good friend of mine in Boston. We hadn’t seen each other in years. We lived together in seminary, studying biblical theology. He’d gone through some pretty horrible experiences lately and as we sat in one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Weylu’s, he told me he’d come to this conclusion:
“Either God is everywhere or God is nowhere.”
At the time I agreed. Now I would augment that a little. Actually, I now believe that those two apparently opposite statements actually say the same thing. They are the opposite sides but of the same coin.
Did you know that the Buddha never denied the existence of the soul? But neither did he affirm it. This is what is called the middle way.
Another person I read with fascination is Byron Katie, especially her book, “Loving What Is”. I’ve also read her biography. Never does she deny the existence of God. Never does she affirm it. When she uses the word “God” it is always held loosely and almost always as a convenient word to describe something mysterious or to connect to a listener who believes in God. For her, what is is God, or God is what is. It just is. Neither here nor there.
And this is how I approach all ideas about God. I do not deny it. I do not affirm it. For these are the same thing appearing as opposites. I’m cool with that.
It went like this:
I’ve struggled with the concept of God since I was a child. I remember waking up one night terrified of death. I got up in the dark and went out to my mom and dad and sat on my dad’s knee. But they had company and didn’t really attend to me. I didn’t even really know what to say or ask. I was just afraid. We lived on a farm and I saw death on a regular basis. I couldn’t get my little head around it. Pow! My desire to understand the truth was ignited. For some reason, even at this very young age, I couldn’t believe that there was a God seated in the heavens, separate from the world in which I live. A good God. Death. It did not compute.
Over time verses like these: “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28); and, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18); and “Christ is the All in all” (Colossians 3:11); and “… so that God may be the All in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), helped things make sense to me. Jewels like these, buried in a deeply diverse extended metaphor, provided a matrix within which to make sense of my world. My concept of God was breaking free of every box that was handed to me until I finally realized that no box would suffice. So I threw out the boxes. Burned them. There is no box.
Did God get burned in the process? This I can’t answer, or won’t. Now, when I feel I must refer to the reference “God”, I usually say “That-Which-We-Call-God”. That is as close as I can get to describing what we are talking about.
My waterfall dream that launched my z-theory articulates this by the use of a metaphor: what is above the rim of the waterfalls we cannot see and can only guess at. But what is pouring everlastingly over the falls and spreading all over the earth gives us a pretty good indication that there is an endless, infinite, fathomless source that invades and fills everything and embraces and captures and consumes everything, absolutely everything, and takes it back up into itself so that there is no distinguishing what is and what isn’t. And with this my mind is at perfect peace and my heart is no longer afraid.
So, as you can see, I’ve come full circle back to our table at Weylu’s. Is God everywhere or is God nowhere? Which is it?
My answer: Yes!
I love you guys with whom I feel so free to be myself and express my thoughts without fear.