[Image: “Creation of Adamr” by Michelangelo. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.]
There is a hollowness within me —
for times when things were simpler…
when the church was a buffer against the raging of the world,
a community of gentle people hungering for connectedness,
a movement toward doing justice,
and walking humbly in faith.
At times I want to cry out
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
But my real question is not about being forsaken by God, but by the church. My theological education was based on the reflective traditions locked in with Augustine in the 4th century, Anselm in the 11th, Aquinas in the 13th, and Luther and Calvin in the 16th. In retrospect, I can say I was trained well to oversee the decline of the church that has moved from being a social justice movement without a very deep spiritual base to a piety club without much compassion.
God is perceived as the chief retired senior citizen
of the heavenly realms
who continues to design specific plans for each person’s life
but who no longer has the energy or the desire to be involved
in the day-by-day dilemmas of modern life.
God (or perhaps it is the Church) has become so impotent
that his [sic] followers have needed
to hedge their bets
inventing a non-scientific science
to protect God’s otherness.
Others have responded to the unfruitfulness
of God and the Church
by walking away in droves
abandoning that which abandoned them.
So, I am filled with
frustration and disappointment,
tinged with anger…
Why was I (why were we)
not better prepared for faith in a world conditioned by
the Big Bang,
the splitting of the atom,
stem cell therapy,
and the continuing onslaught
of “man’s inhumanity to man” [sic]?
Learning new ways to think theologically —
finding new patterns for expressing meaning
in a non-God centered universe —
takes its toll…
Musing about the possibilities of
puts one at jeopardy with the religious powers-that-be…
Being clear about walking the Way of faith —
without a Messiah
without a powerful God
without a heavenly after-life —
scares too many sitting in the pew…
And that is precisely where I am —
sitting in the pew with a messianic process
but without a Messiah…
sitting in the pew with an insistent calling in the name of God
but without an existing God…
sitting in the pew with Eternal Mystery
but without a heavenly realm to inhabit
and without an adequate language to express it…
It is lonely here in the pew
no longer able to hold on to the “eternal verities”
no longer “believing” what most others seem to cling to
no longer willing to sit silently while the church implodes.
With Meister Eckhart I pray “God, rid me of God!”
that I may follow Yeshua* into
Let me move along the Way —
away from my own anxieties and insecurities —
in the direction of peace and justice.
Let me go forth
without baggage packed full
of pre-conceived notions and stale ideas
walking with friends (and enemies)
with a light step
a steady pace
and a gait filled with grace.
It is not about finding answers,
but about the search for wholeness…
not about arriving at a destination,
but about the quest for justice…
not having the right beliefs…
but about living abundantly, in the meantime.
I pray “God, rid me of God!”
that I may join Yeshua*
in the messianic journey toward
full humanity, full divinity…
that I may truly become
a person with integrity and wholeness
God’s Human One.