Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God is NOT Religious (Synthesis Note [31])

Song of the Moment: “God Speed” by Raheem DeVaughn (lyrics below)

God is NOT Religious

Let me start off by saying that I define God as the experience of something greater than yourself. For some it is a being or deity, for others it is energy (or the force that animates our human bodies...controls our heart rate and breath, or guides the weather and waters). Call this “experience” what you will, but we all must accept that there are aspects of our lives that are beyond our control and influence and for the purpose of this note (and understanding) I will call that “God”

I decided to write this note after a conversation I had with someone who responded to my announcement of the start of a series of small groups I’ll be running with emphasis on building relationships through connecting spiritual understanding. I was careful with my use of the word “God” because for some it creates a barrier to anything else you say beyond that. I empathize with that stance as I was raised with an old school Southern Baptist religious philosophy and was overworked with messages that God was vengeful, that I was BORN in “sin,”  that I had little control over my life, and I need to frequently ask for forgiveness for my actions. Asking forgiveness would most certainly absolved me of these sins, although I may have gone right back to doing what I wasn’t supposed too.  I had a “get out of jail free” card anyway… just ask for forgiveness and forget about it!

As I got older and began to ask questions about this (and many other aspects of church and religion), I was disappointed and frustrated with the responses I was given. Like most other things kids are told, I was expected to just “do it because I said so.”  Now, I appreciate that sometimes parents must say this because kids have a limited realm of experience and understanding, and some things you just can’t explain in a way they will understand until they get older. When they ARE old enough, however, a logical answer should be given if you hope to have them embrace your values as their own…and in my RL work I tell parents all the time... "If you can’t give them a logical answer for why it is important, then why are you doing it? Perhaps a reevaluation of where that value came from and how it is useful is in order."

Religion, unlike spirituality (or God), is not typically like this. Religion is not about God, it is about humans trying to understand the world, the universe we live in and make sense of it. It is man creating rules to govern, theoretically, having a better life. Religion takes these unknown quantities and puts an affirmative stand on them as if they are true. In essence, man has set up a system, attributes the system to God and then says “do not question me.” Don’t misunderstand me, I think that religion can be a wonderful guide for people who are seeking more fulfilling lives. It is the stance that any one religion is the one true way, that rattles my chains, because we are all different, have different levels of understanding and different ways  of interacting with each other and the universe. A path which might prove tremendously rewarding for one person, may only confuse and bewilder another because of his/her cultural awareness and background.

I liken God to a larger than life sized tree and each religion discovered the tree at various points along its length and set up shop there. The folks at the roots when describing God would say its dark and deep beneath the earth, cool and moist…the folks on the trunk would say it is dry and rough but burns wonderfully and flakes often, the folks in the branches would say God is limber and stretches far beyond sight and is full of wind, the ones at the leaves would say God changes often growing to deep greens which change more colorful as the winds cool…blah blah blah… you get where I am going. They are all describing the same thing, just from different perspectives and because the tree is so large none of them is fully able to appreciate the totality of the tree. If they would all come together, however,  and listen to one another they would be closer to that understanding than they are stuck in their own camps.

Any religion that holds itself up to be beyond questioning is destructive to spiritual growth, in my opinion.  We can ONLY acquire wisdom through asking. It is in that seeking that we grow more in our understanding of who each of us truly is in the universe and when we are able to explore ourselves and living WITHOUT judgments, like children growing to adulthood, we are able to accept our own place in the matrix of the world and the contribution we have come here to make.

There is one universal truth…we have free will (we can do what we want, when we want) We all like and want love, and we need to love each other more…and to act toward each other with love. With that in mind I offer that

God is…

Nonjudgemental - How can you have free will if there are consequences (there is no proof that the consequences come from God) we need to separate God from everything else that claims God. Do we think God is so fallible that all of human weaknesses will be embodied in God? Free will is your promise… you can do what you want and feel free to create your own benefits or consequences based upon the choices you make.

Music – that sound that no matter what color, creed, religion, affiliation can unify people unlike any other.

Love – that driving force, feeling experience we all crave, seek and rest comfortably in when found. It is ever present, always available and everlasting and EACH of us is capable and worthy of it.

Peace –  found in that sacred space of  nothing, where you can hear your heart beating and your breath pass in and out of your body. Our lives began when four cells came together and spontaneously began to release and contract (growing to become the heart)…science can explain the entire process of conception and gestation… but can not explain why or how those cells begin to contract… why do YOU think it happens?!?! (grin)

In Love, Peace and Joy…

p.s. for more information on the Spiritual Life groups… drop me a notecard! (smile)

“God Speed” by Raheem DeVaughn

How many more wars are soldiers gonna have to fight?
What’s it gonna take for all God’s people to unite?
If each one don’t teach one we’re all gonna be subject to pay the price
Each day we waste time, for babies are sacrificed.

Everybody’s searching for God speed,
Truth and
God speed
Dreams and
God speed
Life it sounds like to me that the world needs a song to sing like
La la la la la – La la la la la (sing along)– La la la la la la la la

Some  pay taxes and wonder where the money goes
Some folk get paid on a Friday and still feel broke
Some people complain, while some people vote
Some people hustle til they die while some people blow smoke


Hustlers… everybody’s searching
Gangstas… everybody’s searching
Babies… everybody’s searching
Ladies… everybody’s searching
Fellas… everybody’s searching
Pimps… everybody’s searching


Everybody’s searching for Love
Everybody’s praying for peace
I wish you God speed on your dreams
‘Cause everybody’s searching
Even I’ve been searching
Everybody’s searching


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