It takes a long time for us to allow God to be who God really is. Our natural egocentricity wants to make God into who we want God to be. The role of prophets and good theology is to keep people free for God and to keep God free for people. While there are some “pure of heart” people who come to “see God” naturally and easily, most of us need lots of help. If God is always Mystery, then God is always in some way the unfamiliar, beyond what we’re used to, beyond our comfort zone, beyond what we can explain or understand. Very often we want a God who reflects and even confirms our culture, our biases, our economic, political, and security systems. We’ve created a God who fits into our small systems and our understanding of God. Thus, we’ve produced a God who requires expensive churches and robes, a God who likes to go to war just as much as we do, and a domineering God because we like to dominate. We’ve almost completely forgotten and ignored what Jesus revealed about the nature of the God he knew.
Adapted from Let God be God, Richard Rohr,OFM
O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable God’s judgments, and untraceable God’s ways!
Consider how Jesus reflected his understanding of God. How does our culture reflect its understanding of God not in its words but in its actions? Where do you fit in?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Jesus answered,” I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to God except through me.”
If you comprehend it, it is not God.
The way in which a faith community shapes language about God implicity represents what it takes to be the highest good, the profoundest truth, the most appealing beauty. … While officially it is rightly and consistently said that God is spirit and so beyond identification with either male or female sex, yet the daily language of preaching, worship, catechesis, and instruction conveys a different message: God is male, or at least more like a man than a woman, or at least more fittingly addressed as male than as female.
The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.
Jesus disclosed that God is compassionate. Jesus spoke of God that way: “Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.” Compassion is the primary quality of the central figures in two of his most famous parables: the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. And Jesus himself, as a manifestation of the sacred, is often spoken of as embodying compassion.
The God of Scripture is not the “omni” god of the Enlightenment (omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient) or of nineteenth century higher criticism (to which both liberals and fundamentalists ironically bow), but a God who is embedded as a character in narrative, the subject of active verbs, the God who is on your side and fights for you.
Faith is not about understanding the ways of God. It is not about maneuvering God into a position of human subjugation, making a God who is a benign deity who exists to see life as we do. Faith, in fact, is not about understanding at all. It is about awe in the face of the God of all.
Joan Chittister, OSB