Making God Personal

As I track back over my years as a Christian (and even prior to my conversion), I had many an occasion to relate to God like I would a person – and at times felt like he was talking back to me. God was always the convenient person to talk to when I was undergoing some kind of trial; when life cruised along, I had no need of the relationship.

After the deep examination of my faith, and thinking through the experience of others, I now reach the conclusion that I no longer believe in a personal God; I no longer picture a supernatural being that I can be in relationship with, a super-human who governs the universe. In some circles such a comment would make me an atheist; yet I have not abandoned belief in God in the slightest. Which now leaves most of my conservative associates rather confused as to what I do believe.

‘The Big Man’ in the sky was, and is, a useful metaphor for some; yet in our pluralistic society, it does not serve the good of humanity. Where Christianity was the predominant religion, with God and Jesus the central points of focus and society operating under a feudalistic system, these metaphors had a great deal more meaning and application than they do today. Unfortunately the evolution of our Western society into a self-satisfying paradigm could in part be blamed by the personalization of a Christianity that is focused on having a ‘personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ’. Where religion is compartmentalized into life in this regard, all manner of evil is given free reign, as we serve the interests of ourselves and our families over and above the greater interests of the world.

That is not to say that there are not many within the fold of conservative Christianity that find within a personal relationship with God in Christ something that permeates their whole existence, to the point of being wonderful activists for worthy causes. I believe this is evidence more of heart and passion than belief; for just as much good is being done by those outside of any faith-experience, or inside of other faiths. I do not wish to denigrate any person’s belief system at all, even though at times the fundamentalism that is so prevalent frustrates the crap out of me. Rather, I am more interested in the distillation of vital faith that ignites passion for a life of love and inspiration and beauty and joy. Instead of a merely dry faith that revolves around knowledge and emotional experiences, I crave a faith that brings together the best of humanity. I don’t find this in the ‘personal God/personal Christ’ paradigm. I find God in you; I find God in me. I find God in everything good, lovely, perfect, beautiful. I find God in this moment, in the stillness, in the silence.

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