god as manWhen we limit ourselves to only one way of thinking of God, it is usually as a “being;” a supreme being to be sure, but a human-like being.
As we’ve seen, these efforts to fit God into our heads end up limiting our spiritual experience. When we reduce God to being person-like, we limit our quest for God to person-kinds of thoughts. We pray to a “person,” we ask why our person-like God doesn’t act like a good person should, and so forth.
But if we think of God in other images; images like “song,” or “wind,” or “fire,” or “stone…” or even “dirt;” our different images open us to different spiritual experience.
Once we open ourselves, we begin to ask different questions. We ask, for example, how one is carried by the Divine wind; even when bad things happen; how to dance to the Divine song; or be rooted in and nourished by Divine soil; even when bad things happen.
god as man 2The problem for many Christians is that the person-God image runs deep in our souls. Many of us had deep spiritual experiences while we carried only the person-like god in our heads. The person-image is shot through our scriptures and deeply rooted in our tradition. We don’t yet have the same emotional connections to other ways of thinking about God. We don’t viscerally connect to God as wind or water. Our deep, real experiences of God often happened when God was human-like in our minds. “God as river” doesn’t carry the same history and visceral associations that “God as loving parent” does.
When we had an epiphany in high school; experienced a soul-healing at age 22; or had a transforming insight at 35, our God was a nurturing mother or a prayer-answering father. How does one experience an emotional connection to God… as dirt? How do we viscerally connect to a vague, ill-defined, concept like “all-encompassing connectedness?”
Many of us just don’t have intuitive, emotional associations for different images for God.
platitudesMy son Michael lost a dear friend in in a car accident last year. Well-meaning Christians offered him comfort the best they could, but they had no god beyond the person-one they had been taught. I watched him chafe under their tortured efforts to make God good in the throes of his tragedy. I watched him get angry at this god, even consider abandoning the whole idea. Their God-framework was too limited to be much help to him.
Our souls languish when we limit ourselves to only one way of imagining the unimaginable.
So in these next few posts, let’s try “God as dirt.”

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