The word “God,” is among the most useless of words because its meaning is lost on us. Whose God are we talking about when we talk about God? Whose idea of God is under consideration? Fundamentalist Christians have an idea about God. Fundamentalist Muslims have a different idea about God. Reformed Jews have a different idea about God. Who is right about who God is? Can you imagine a convention of all those who have deep-seated and heart-felt ideas about God coming together to decide the right way to think about God?
The word God means too much to mean anything. The word conjures up for some of us old memories, old wounds, bad experiences—and some of us want to run when we hear it. It reflects a world-view and a thousand theologies that are no longer sustainable, much less, helpful. We have lived beyond the way our ancestors thought about God, and, to use the word faithfully, we have to spend so much time saying what we don’t mean that no one can be sure of, or remember, what we do mean.
Doctrinal definitions are “noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.” To say who God is and who God isn’t just adds more ingredients to a stew we cannot stomach, adds more confusion to our lives, and keeps a harangue going that outlived its usefulness long ago. To replace an old doctrine with an updated doctrine merely perpetuates the practice of creating a swirl of words without referents. We debate the doctrines, and lose the center, and treat those who oppose us in ways that are not God-like regardless of how well we articulate our view of God.
We don’t need another Doctrine of God to add to the pile. We need to torch the pile. We need to learn to live aligned with the center of what matters most. We need help connecting with the heart of highest value, with the essence of what is essential, with the core of what is crucial, with the soul of life itself. With the bedrock, the rhizome, from which we all come.
If we lived out of that connection, it would be a different world. Because we cannot do that, because we cannot live aligned with the center of what matters most, we hate each other, and blow each other up, and live in ways that refuse to take the best interest of the other into account. A life lived out of the center of what matters most is the thing the world is starving for. The world does not need another idea of God. It needs people who are living God-like lives.
In light of what do we live? What makes us think that is worthy of us? What are we doing to see into the heart of highest value? In what ways are we endeavoring to experience, connect with, and express that which is truly important? To begin to answer these questions is to live toward the heart of what matters most. It is to listen for what is being asked of us, to search for what is of highest value. It is to live organically, dynamically, creatively, in relationship with the moment of our living, unfolding there that which may never have been expressed anywhere ever. It is to live without a script in the service of the good. It is to live connected at the level of the heart with all other hearts, and with the heart of life itself, with the heart of the process that is the foundation of life and being.
The miracle, the wonder, of life is the process by which we come to life, and are alive. This process evolved the gene, and the gene evolved consciousness, and consciousness impacts both the gene and the process, in a feedback loop that creates turbulence, chaos and more possibilities than there were at the beginning, which, itself, is an amazing thing to consider. Not only that, but consciousness also intuits, glimpses, hunches, suspects, feels, a world–or worlds– beyond consciousness, a world–or worlds–beyond the world of normal, apparent, tangible reality, a world which is—or worlds which are—also a part of the process. Or perhaps, how’s this for an idea, is responsible for the process. Consciousness apprehends a heart at the center of the process, or beyond it; consciousness apprehends love at the center, or beyond it, compassion at the core, or beyond it. Whether at the center, or beyond the center, matters not. Apprehending the heart, wherever it is, and living aligned with it is what matters most.
Through consciousness, through awareness, we are involved in a relationship with a process which deepens both us and the process—which brings both us and the process—into greater harmony with each other, and enables the recognition and expression of values that are at the heart of life and being. “Values at the heart of things—lived out in our lives.” Consider that, if you will. Ponder that. Imagine that. It’s a different way of thinking about God, and about Incarnation.
The process creates the means of its own evolution, of its own realization. The process evokes its own becoming. Through the long years of the process, of life living toward itself, toward the realization of itself, the values at the heart of the process are perceived, what is truly important is clarified, what matters most is envisioned, identified, and served. We advance the process toward the realization of the good that is at the heart of the process. We become one with the process in the service of the good of all of life. In living without a script in the service of the good, in the service of life, we produce—we participate in the production of—a wonder we could not begin to imagine before experiencing it.
If this doesn’t do it for you, come up something that does! We have to represent our experience of reality to ourselves somehow. We have to say something about how we think things are, or might be, and where we think things are going, and what part we might be playing in The Whole Show. We have to make sense of things as well as we are able. That much is certainly part of the process, that much certainly cannot be denied, this sense-making, order-finding, pattern-seeing, structure-producing, relationship-creating, capacity that is our gift—the gift of conscious awareness—to creation.
And the development of consciousness past the point of simply passing the genes along—to the point of being able to set self aside in the service of that which is perceived to be greater than self, greater than survival, greater than life—this, too, cannot be denied. The process has carried us beyond where the process needed us to go if genes making more genes were all the process had in mind. Evolution continues. The movement is toward the world that is beyond the ordinary world of normal, apparent reality. The process is a thoroughly spiritual enterprise, carrying us into the realms of mystery, wonder and awe—into the heart of goodness, beauty and truth—and the Source of Life and Being.