"Who is God?" I am often asked.
At the mere mention of "God" my next and almost immediate thought is of an old, benevolent, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-encompassing granddaddy-type located somewhere in the sky. This is the image that comes to my mind.
Or, used to come to my mind.
I could not help it. I had been conditioned for so long to think of God as a "Father" - that the question, "Who is God?" was only lost to disbelievers. That Jesus himself thought of God as a "Father," since that's what he seemed to call him from time to time.
Of course, it never occurred to me, as it does not occur to many, that Jesus was no more speaking literally about God when he referred to him as "Father" than he was when he called himself the "bread," or the "light," or the "Good Shepherd." These are all just metaphors of something infinitely more meaningful, are they not? Metaphors and messages hidden, of course, to those whose eyes can not see beyond the God a little belief system has created.
Who Is God?
This is all part of the theistic notions of God I am learning to let go and let die.
You might not agree or wish to cling to such notions of God as a Father or a Granddaddy with grandiose abilities...a kind of Superman in the Sky. And, if that is what you need, all is well. I will not debate such silly notions of God anymore.
My feeling is, there is nothing...nothing...nada...that you or I could ever say about God that comes close to who or what God is. Arguing over "Who is God?" is like a little child fighting to defend a toy he mistakenly believes is his.
I concluded long ago that people who try to prove God is or, for that matter, that God isn't, are only arguing for their own fears - the fear she isn't real or the fear she is.
The simple fact is...
I do not think of God in theistic ways any longer. So, yes, you could say I'm an "a-theist," I suppose. That's the God, is it not, that Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens and others have been trying to bury for decades? Of course, it is. I say, "Have at it fellas'. It's past time for that God to die."
Oh, yes, it is true remnants of this God still hang around my consciousness like Spanish moss on a tree. But, for the most part, I'm casting away these clever creations of the Creator I've been conditioned to believe or have created in my own head just
Who is God to me? God is no longer outside myself...not completely anyway. It's easier for me to say who or what God is not than who or what God is...to me, of course.
Who is God to me? No longer the nice, kind granddaddy who lives above the sky...who has capabilities we weak humans do not - ie., like controlling things or making things happen, as in the weather, or the winner of Super Bowl Sunday or American Idol or my next job - and all only and if, of course, I say the "right" prayers or have "enough" faith, according to Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyers, as in having enough trash bags to carry the leaves away from my yard and the neighbor's next door.
Who is God to me...well, God is not one who makes miracles happen.
No, I regard all of life as a miracle.
In fact, God is the miracle of Life itself.
The fact you are reading this with eyes and a brain that can translate images into impulses and then decode them into messages, isn't that a miracle? Or, maybe you've just gotten too comfortable with ordinary miracles like seeing and breathing. Maybe it's only being slain in the Spirit or the healing of a disease for a donation that you think of as a miracle these days.
Who is God to me? God is not the one who helps those who help themselves...that's the American way instead and only then if we we think you deserve to be helped.
Who is God? God is not...well...I'm not saying any more. You get the point. Or, do you?
If you don't, well that's OK, too. I'm not writing this for you. If what's written does resonates, however, well...you'll know that, too. And, you're feeling glad about now to have read this.
No, I no longer think of God as separate from me. And, for me, that one little thought is changing my life in ways no other belief or doctrine or dogma of the Church or Bible truth or sermon or Sinner's Prayer or anything else has ever changed me. I mean, really changed me.
And, what IS the change about which I refer?
Who God Is...
God...is every breath I take. And, whenever I pause long enough to recognize the breath I am taking...like the one I'm taking right now...I am moved deeply...I am at peace in ways I could only ever imagine as an "orthodox" believer.
God...is every person I meet. And, for me, that is changing how I view everyone even those I cannot tolerate, and there are plenty of those folks to go around, too. I now know, what I don't like about others, is often something I don't like about myself.
God...is everything I see. And, for me, that makes all creation sing a different kind of song. And, everything sings it, from the spider on the wall to the snow-covered Matterhorn of Switzerland.
Who is God?
Just breathe. For me, that is enough.
Is it enough for you?
(This post first appeared on Dr.McSwain's website blog)
Dr. Steve McSwain is an author and speaker, counselor to non-profits and congregations, an advocate in the fields of self-development, interfaith cooperation, and spiritual growth. His blogs at BeliefNet.com, the Huffington Post, as well as his own website (www.SteveMcSwain.com) inspire people of all faith traditions. Dr. McSwain is an Ambassador to the Council on the Parliament for the World's Religions. His interfaith pendants are worn by thousands on virtually every continent, sharing his vision of creating a more conscious, compassionate, and charitable world. Visit his website for more information or to book him for an inspirational talk on happiness, inner peace, interfaith respect or charitable living.