When I speak of God, when I am talking about a Power greater than ourselves, I am not talking about the rhetoric or doctrine of God, but our experience of God.
I read the Bible a lot. I read it because it speaks of experiencing God. Do we consciously speak or write or even think about that in our day to day lives?
I can look back and define my life on earth by the relationship and the growth of the relationship I have with God.
When I was young, in school and in Sunday school, a face was painted on God. A face that sometimes I could understand and love and sometimes the face was one I would not like. A face that people would paint with their words as if they had physically seen it and better yet could define with physical attributes. A face that people would paint with such accuracy in their minds that it left no room for the experience of God. Partially this has to do with what we are able to conceptualize at age 4 or 10 or 12. It is hard to understand something our brain is not yet able to comprehend. Or can we?
I think about this lots because I have 4 children. I have four very loving compassionate caring children. I have thought about the stories we tell our children about God. Why are we telling them about God – our understanding or someone else’s interpretation of who or what God is- instead of teaching them to experience God? Experience a power greater than ourselves? Perhaps because we are not fully experiencing God ourselves.
In all the world their are no two people exactly alike even identical twins have some differences. The person next to you in church or conversing with you in the grocery store will not share the exact same thought as you do on any one thing. You may agree on something but the why you agree will be specific to you.
What I experience in relation to smelling a flower and what you experience will be different.
So how do we begin to move from living with a definition of God and that belief to experiencing God, or the Power greater than ourselves? We start by not limiting God to what and who and where and when, we start by beginning to include in our idea of God that it is an experience to exist with God that it is a relationship with a power greater than ourselves. This is where it goes from I think, to I know. Knowing something, truly knowing something, is not a list of factually based bits of information, doctrine, or rhetoric, it is a feeling or an instinct. Knowing has a spiritual connection. We “know” this because within the definition of deep knowing comes the experience of not being able to describe it in human understandable terms. To the extent that many of us, myself included, say, “I just know…”
Paul speaks of spirituality a lot in Corinthians. In the 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 6-16 in particular he addresses Wisdom From The Spirit.
Verse 13-14 says “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
If I speak of gratitude and talk about it in spiritual terms it is akin to living with and in the experience of gratitude, the feeling of experiencing it.
If I speak of gratitude in terms of definitions and language it limits gratitude.
The same holds true of God. If I speak of God in spiritual terms it is akin to living with and in the experience of God, the feeling of experiencing it.
If I speak of God in terms of definitions and language it limits God. Who are we to limit God? And in truth, how can we limit a power greater than ourselves?
As we begin to look to experiencing the God of our Understanding -a Power greater than ourselves- instead of explaining and defining God, we begin to feel God in us and see God in others so much more.
Today Let the Experience of God begin to grow in you. For we are 3 dimensional living beings; physical, mental and spiritual in our nature. As our spirituality grows and blooms the other two aspects of our lives change and grow. Share the Experience!
©Adrienne McLeod 2011
We all used to hear it from our peers when we were growing up and as young adults. “Rules are made to be broken.” There are novels, jokes and songs about that very quote. When we were all younger (those of us who are parents now hear it from the other side) “It’s not fair!” was a common phrase that usually preceded the statement, “Rules are made to be broken!” When we’re kids, learning and reaching various stages of mental development where needs wants and desires are all that matter, this makes sense. At some point we progress in the understanding that rules are in place to keep us safe and others safe. Period.
I learned early that breaking the rules was not a good thing. I clearly remember in my mind 3 particular incidents. One falling from a tree I was told specifically NOT to climb and landing flat on my back which knocked the wind out of me. Worse than that feeling was the feeling of begging my brother to not “tell” on me. The 2nd incident involved me not getting up when I was asked. Part of my getting up in the morning meant feeding my Guinea Pig and giving him water. I didn’t get up when I was asked and the Guinea Pig died. The worst and most memorable incident of breaking the rules was when I skipped school in favor of going to the barn and spending the day with my horse. While I was busy whiling away my day my Mum had fallen on some ice and broken her ankle, badly, and they called the school to have me pick up my sisters at their school. Nope I wasn’t there. I don’t remember the punishment I think my parents let the punishment of guilt and confinement to my room suffice for that one and it worked for the most part. I don’t think I skipped school after that.
These days there are some rules that I unknowingly break, but for the most part I follow the rules. I follow them for two reasons. First, my experience in breaking the rules has always been swift and relatively brutal. Second, because in regards to the law I know they are put in place for safety and an offshoot of that is that Biblically we are told to obey the laws put in place by the rulers of our town, province and country because God has put those individuals in charge.
Another reason I follow the rules even in the face of others saying they’re unjust or don’t work is; how else are you supposed to factually prove they don’t work if you don’t follow them? Perhaps a deep question, but really? I had the delightful opportunity to work in a call center. There following rules is paramount however baffling they seemed to be and however enigmatic. It seemed there were some who understood what it would take to change a rule in 90% of the cases that meant proving the rule didn’t work by following it, but most wanted instant gratification of not having to follow the rules. Again, the “rules are meant to be broken” mentality kicked in. Needless to say most continued to break rules that never changed.
There isn’t many laws I would question in regards to the reason they are in place. I might question the eating and driving law that they are working on enforcing but then drinking and driving is not harshly punished where I live so unless we’re eating a hash brownie or a shroom pie I don’t see where cutting back the eating and driving will decrease the number of accidents if that is the reason behind that law (just a thought for the local governing bodies).
It does make me wonder why my being aware of the rules seems to mean my resulting consequences are far more rapid than say someone that breaks the rules constantly. We all know people like this I’m sure. The ones that manage to get away with everything. I figure that this must be in God’s hands. Even if we look at the “rules” such as the 10 commandments they really aren’t orders to make us do something we don’t want to. They’re more like how to live life without feeling like crap. Really does it feel good to cheat someone out of something? Lie to someone? Kill someone? The first two I can vouch for during my life time…it feels like crap…emotional guidance system says, “hey get back on the road and be nice because you’re going to make yourself feel like crap.” The last one, killing someone, I hope to never vouch for whether by accident or on purpose. So I ask all of you, why do we continue to break the rules? Have we not all grown up enough to figure out that rules are there for a reason? And that reason is not just to break them?
The Gospels say the Biblical rules can be summed up in TWO rules. Love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbour as your self. Perhaps all we really need to do is…
Think about it!
©Adrienne McLeod 2011
Well, it didn’t happen. I have to say honestly I’m a little disappointed. I like some of my friends I know looked around and thought, “Did it happen?” The writings in the Bible say that no one will know when the end time comes. The date and time like the flood will remain unknown until it happens.
I heard all the jokes in the stores and people laughing and making light of it. I thought then in those moments. I don’t think that is something that I could joke about. It’s kind of like tempting fate I think, perhaps that is what they were trying to do or perhaps the thought of it made them nervous.
Where was I? Those moments when I woke up in a tent with all my family around me and the quiet sounds of nature waking up I wondered, am I here for another 1000 days? Am I gone? Are all the evil people gone? It was a distinctly odd feeling to sit and ponder those things. It was foggy in the morning too, which added to the mystery of what plane of existence I might be on. The quiet that comes with an early morning fog is still, green and full of life in potential. At that moment I wondered what that life in potential was going to be.
I got up and went to the house at the farm we were staying at and there were the people cracking beers at 7 am and I thought well I’m either in the bad group or it didn’t happen. I’m going with it didn’t happen.
My initial feelings about the rapture not happening told me a lot. They told me my faith is strong, that when it does happen I will be fine. That in striving , not always succeeding, but trying to live a good life, making amends when I mess up and being truly sorry that the rapture is not something I fear. We have all made mistakes. Some people may feel that some of those mistakes are just far too big or plentiful to be forgiven. God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness are greater than any concept we can imagine. We are limited by our humaness our thoughts of the limitations of our own forgiveness. When we make amends and are truly sorry, God knows.
Mr. Camping may have been wrong in his dates but I thank him for stirring up the thoughts of rapture. It made us think, it made us aware, it made us, if only for a moment, think about God…and for a moment perhaps think about what God thinks about us. For some that may make all the difference
© Adrienne McLeod 2011
- Rapture (jmwisdom.wordpress.com)
- My Final Thoughts On The #Rapture Craze (simuliustusetpeccator.com)
- Rapture Predictor Harold Camping: Apocalypse Rescheduled for October 21 [The Rapture] (gawker.com)
“I believe in all that is, seen and unseen.”
In my years growing up going to church and being part of a really great spiritually aware family, I always felt at odds with myself. On the one hand I believe in energy, healing and miracles, I believe in the force of good and evil, I believe in negative and positive, I believe that God is in all creation. On the other hand there is the “these things are wrong” doctrines and thought. As we are growing up and begin to question things around us that we see we also begin to ask questions about the unseen.
One of my favorite parts of the church services that I have experienced is when we all say together the Nicene Creed and Confession of Sins. Mostly I think because it states what we do believe and it’s a group admission that we all screw up. (When we’re growing up we do this lots – screw up – and so the fact that grown ups are admitting this with you is a comforting thing.) Thank goodness everyone seems to believe in forgiveness of sin!
When I was very young I attended a private Christian school, my parents were excluded because they wouldn’t “sign” that they believed every dotted “i” and crossed “t” in the Bible. The clergy from our church- which included my father- were excluded from teaching or ministering there for reasons I still don’t know. I am very grateful for the people I met and the fellowship to this day with some of the people at that school. I am grateful for the experience of it because it gave me, along with my family, and church a basis for Faith. What it also did was give me the desire to make peace between extremes. It saddens me that there is so much division even within Christianity.
There is this part of me that says to myself…perhaps if we all laid out everything, each “denomination” and church, everything that we believe and pulled what is in common with everyone we could come together and celebrate. To focus on division only brings division.
1st Corinthians 1:10-11
I appeal to you brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, Christianity seems to be finding it’s way back to itself, to oneness. I pray that continues because there are so many things to be thankful for, so many gifts, so many wonders and miracles every day around us.
I have heard those that live in fear say what if we’re all wrong. But truly, what if we’re all right? What if Believing in One God with all your heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself are the whole of the truth and The Commandments the way to live a life that brings joy and contentment, and all the rest of it ways to try to explain those concepts?
Do not divide yourselves over things that are for God to judge. But come together. For whenever 2 or more are gathered…
©Adrienne McLeod 2011