Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I found God!

A collection of magnets, with unseen currents of energy holding them together.
"A layer of reality."
Lately I have written about a sense of connection with fire fighters when I have visited them. Somehow we have talked easily at depth about life, family, health, values and even death. I have said that as I have come away from my chaplaincies I have felt like something sacred has happened. Somehow in the connection there is something very special.
I get this too with a group of people who gather in Space2B on Wednesdays. We chat about life, values and experiences. There is something special going on.
Sometimes also I have mentioned the feeling I get as I watch people in the Drop-in centre enjoying themselves, sharing with each other and relating to us. Something special is happening.
I have a friend who runs sustainability classes in our church building. She also sees it as her responsibility to clean our drop in centre on a regular basis. We talk from time to time and I have immense respect for her. Her father in Ireland is coming toward the end of his life and she left on Friday  to spend time with her mother, father and family for a few months. I saw her in the street on Wednesday, I leapt out of the car and ran along the street to say goodbye.  I yelled out to her, she turned and held her arms out for an embrace, thrilled to see me. We talked, had one final hug and went on our way smiling, both of us glad to be able to say our farewells. Once again there is a deep connection, born out of shared values, a similar sense of purpose, an openness to one another and a sense of sharing the journey of life.
I have a friend who has gone back to live in Hungary. She calls me "Dad". When she was in Dunedin we grew to have a warm "father-daughter" type relationship. Now she is in Hungary we sometimes message each other through skype, and you can even through the distance still sense a warm connection, a yearning to link, people on the journey of life, open to one another.  I could mention other people with whom I have this sense of connection.
I have a theory. That is that somehow God is the connections, or in the connections. I am fascinated by magnets. It intrigues me that you can have these two inert looking lumps of metal, but if you bring them toward each other you can feel an unseen pull. If you put iron filings onto a sheet of paper on top of them you can see magnetic fields, unseen currents of energy. I think that when human beings are open to one another there is a similar current of life and love, and that somehow the one we call God is in that current, or is indeed the current. I am stewing more on this so I will let you know more thoughts as they come. Thoughts and implications are tumbling through my mind and they tie a whole lot of things together, giving perspective and perception.
The Dalai Lama says....
"All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether."
I find a certain affinity with this. For a long time I have tended to call myself a "follower of Jesus" rather than a Christian. Again and again I find a lack of affinity to what mainstream, and fundamentalist Christianity has to say. It no longer rings bells, though I am deeply hooked on the way of Jesus. I stick with Church ministry at the moment because it provides a base from which to express the way of Jesus, but I often find it an inhibiting and limiting base. Again more exploration needs to be done.
Burning books...
I picked up a commentary the other night, and began reading it in bed. I was gathering together thoughts for the next Sunday's service. As I read it I thought, "This is not where I am at!" While at one stage this study would have fitted into my frame of reference, I no longer considered the writer's emphasis to be in line with the way I now see Jesus. I threw the book into the firewood basket, and the next night happily burned it. I have shelves of books I will probably consign to the firewood basket like that. Spiritual growth is a funny thing, I feel more connected inwardly, though these writers would probably say I am a backslider, or "unfaithful".
In a similar way in gatherings of earnest Christians, I find a sense of isolation. Their language does not ring bells. I am a follower of Jesus like them, but somehow where I am is not as institutionalized or not as "religious".  I can no longer be where they are.
That is my burble, half thoughts, and inner journeying for tonight.

1 comment:

Keith Harris said...

I greatly admire your honesty and courage in putting your thoughts in print for all to see, Dave, particularly in view of your vocational position. For what it's worth, you and I have similar ideas, although yours are expressed much more eloquently than I could ever hope to do and have evolved through immensely greater study of, and immersion in, religion.