September 26


Today's quotation:

A priest friend of mine has cautioned me away from the standard God of our childhoods, who loves you and guides you and then, if you are bad, roasts you:  God as a high school principal in a gray suit who never remembered your name but is always leafing unhappily through your files.

Anne Lamott

Today's Meditation:

I've never really known what to believe about God.  I tend to think of God as a pretty friendly being-- after all, unlimited and unconditional love are two pretty desirable traits, aren't they?  I've always felt something's wrong with most religions when they say that God's love is unlimited, unless. . . .  It makes no sense at all.  Unlimited means just that-- unlimited.  There are no conditions to it.

The fact is, though, that we've adopted our view of God from people who have come before us and who have taught us what they believe.

They, in turn, have adopted their view of God from people who have come before them.  If we follow that chain back a few hundred years, it's coming from people who were controlled pretty strongly by churches that taught us how evil and sinful we are, how "undeserving" we are of God's love.  And if we see ourselves as undeserving, then we're sure to judge ourselves pretty harshly, aren't we?  Just look at some of the songs that people sing in church to see how strongly people see God as a harsh, judgmental being.

This type of view is usually a projection of our feelings that we have about ourselves.  If we judge ourselves, then of course we're going to think that others judge us, too.  And since God is in a position to judge, then of course God is going to be making a list and checking it twice, isn't he?

How can we ever reconcile unconditional, unlimited love with any kind of harsh judgment or condemnation?  The truth is, we can't.  Nor should we try to do so.  Our ideas of God judging us is our way of judging ourselves, and we accomplish very little in doing so.

Questions to consider:

Do you see God as loving or judgmental?  Why?

Where do your ideas about who God is/what God's like come from?

Where do we get our ideas of God as someone who judges us and then roasts us if we've been bad?

For further thought:

God is a tranquil Being, and abides in a tranquil eternity.  So must your spirit become a tranquil and clear little pool, wherein the serene light of God can be mirrored. . . . Nothing in the whole world is worth the loss of your peace; even the faults which you have committed should only humble, but not disquiet you.  God is full of joy, peace, and happiness.  Endeavor then to obtain a continually joyful and peaceful spirit.  Avoid all anxious care, vexation, murmuring, and melancholy, which darken your soul.  If you perceive such feelings arising, turn gently away from them.

G. Terstregen

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