Sunday, June 7, 2009
God Out of Bounds
I would like to color outside the lines for a while here. I don't want to argue about the Bible or about orthodoxy, or even really mention them at all. What I want to talk about are the other ways that I experience God, the other paths I've found to wisdom and joy and wonder and transformation which I associate with God but which are not always officially authorized by the adherence-police of our time.
In talking with real live people, once they've gotten past the pat and expected answers we all learned in Sunday School ("love", "the Bible", "Jesus"), some of these things turn out to be the meat-and-bones of someone's lived spirituality. Why are some people so afraid to honor that? Not me. I go out there looking for God in everything. I don't always find God, but when I do, what a thrill!
[Raises a mug to looking high and low for God - salut!]
If I have the time and interest to sustain me, I'd like to cover a number of categories of my experiences of God "out of bounds". I've listed them briefly here, but I may not write about them in this same order. We'll see.
I also welcome all of you to add your own experiences of God out of bounds. Come on, don't be shy. You can even post anonymously if you're afraid the adherence-police will find out :)
The examples I list are not meant to be exhaustive, just things that come to mind under each category:
Fantasy and Myth
...Tolkien (as always with me), Ursula K. LeGuin, Joseph Campbell, Karl Jung, and so on
Poetry and Music
...T.S. Elliot, Langston Hughes, e. e. cummings, hip-hop, Schubert, trance, the Blues
Other Religions and Spiritualities
...Zen and "nothing special", Vajrayana's Six Realms, rave culture, ragas, chaplaincy, vision quests, chanting Om, Islamic prayer, martial arts
...family, romantic, friends, enemies
...beauty, the destruction of beauty, the end of civilization, sharks (!), humans as animals
...apparently God is sex-positive
...Understanding Comics, abstract, representational, awe
...to live up to expectations, to succeed, to overcome fear and anxiety, to be cool
Violence and Nonviolence
...the arc of the universe (?), "I foolishly thought violence would free me from violence", Experiments in Truth, Walter Wink
...Universal spatial scale, scale in time, scale in diverse phenomena, biological examples, the anthropic principle, rules and breakdown of rules, math as metaphor
...A General Theory of Love, Sam Harris, Ekman's emotional templates, hallucinogens, modern dogs
Way Out There
...aliens, the occult, conspiracy theories, torture and objective truth
As I go through this series, I invite everyone reading to comment about their own experiences of God out of bounds...