Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hi God!

I enjoyed Conversations with God. I also enjoyed, The Shack. Celestine Prophecies was another one. The Bible literally saved my life.
Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening to God.
I liked when I joined AA I was asked to create a "loving god of my understanding". That meant I couldn't take one off the rack, or even get a tailor made one but rather that I had to make my own. I had to get out the duct tape and binding twine and really think about God.
I've heard of God all my life. I liked when my friend Milton told me that when he did this exercise himself he realized that he had to make a God that went everywhere with him, one that would be in the jail and asylum and not just in the church. He said that when he made that God he found out to his own surprise that it was the same God he'd heard about at his mother's side as a little boy in church.
My God wasn't much different.
I liked the story about the wise men sitting about being blind folded then placed around an unknown object, told to feel the object but not move and later to describe what they'd felt before them after the object was removed. One said it was a great wall, another a snake, another a pillar, and in the end they began to argue about just what the object was. That was until the object was returned and they all realized that they were being introduced to an elephant for the first time and all were right because from their perspective it was true what each had known.
"I think the Bible is called Holy because you always learn something more each time you read it and it always seems to have the very thing that you need at that same time," he told me this in Abbotsford. We were standing near the House of James. He'd told me he was a youth worker in a Christian fellowship and we'd just begun talking about God and the Bible. It was a warm and sunny day.
I teach a course in Spirituality and tell people that Thomas Merton encouraged people to learn first about the God of their family and childhood and where they were born. Trungpa the great Buddhist leader in North America had criticized the westerner for treating religion like a 'smorgasbord'. His book, "Spiritual Consumerism" always impressed me.
I was born in Canada. The Canada I was born in was decidedly Christian. Canada was always a Christian nation. The French Canadians were predominantly Catholic but there were catholics in my neighbourhood as well. The English Canadians were predominantly Protestant. All the Indians I knew were Christian too. The French had settled Canada and then the English had taken it over. Later we had Mennonites and Ukranians in the neighborhood but they just brought other forms of protestantism and catholicism to my neighborhood. The Jews came then as well and come to think of it there were always a few Chinese about because we ate in their restaurants but the ones we knew went to church too. The black lady that came to our church was a sensation for a while but only because she was probably more baptist than the baptist Christians in my church.
So it only followed that I'd get to know about Christianity. That was the root of my country and it was the religion of my home.
My father was a theist and went to the Baptist church with my mother but whenever I asked him about his own faith or religion he'd just joke and say "I belong to the round church. It's round so the devil can't catch me in the corners." Today my Dad attends St. Paul's Anglican Church in Ottawa. An Anglican minister was with my father when my mother died. My mother and father had taken to attending the Anglican and the Catholic services because Anglican and Catholic priests came to visit my mother when she was in the hospital.
I learned about the pagans as part of my search into my celtic roots. There was a kind of pantheism that infused Celtic Christianity and brought it close to the native spirituality I shared with my Metis cousins.
I talked with God a lot in my adolescence. It's why we did drugs. The promise of Timothy Leary and so many in the late 60's was that hallucinogens would help us to know God. Baba Ram Dass' Book Be Here Now played a part in that phase of dropping out and dropping in.
Right now I'm reading a book called "Leaving Church" by a female Anglican minister. She too liked to talk to God.
God is everywhere. God is here. And God is there. I liked that St. John of the Cross, the great Christian mystic, would say over and over "Nada. Nada." God is everything and nothing. I loved the via negativa and the via positiva.
I first formally meditated with Self Realization Fellowship, becoming a Kriya Yogi through the teaching of Paramahansa Yogananda but later I meditated with Benedictine and Trappist monks. Doing Tai Chi with the Taoist Tai Chi Association and later in Hong Kong I'd think of that as 'meditation in motion'.
I'd sat alone on hills at dawn meditating but came to enjoy the group devotion with the Pentacostal Church in Saipan, gathering in the early morning together to talk and listen to Jesus.
I like the song "You have a friend in Jesus." Listening to Third Day as I sail in the ocean or drive in my truck I feel I'm closer to the light.
There's that 'spiritual feeling' that I feel so often in so many ways and so many places. It's not like any other feeling. It's part of a spiritual awakening. It's transcendent. It's the nectar of creation. I feel 'touched'.
I loved C. S. Lewis' book "Surprised by Joy'. Sitting in Theology classes with my friend John I felt I was really learning something as important as the chemistry I'd once been transfixed by. At Regent College and St. Mark's we studied men and women's understanding of God.
As I've become older I find again that conversations about God are as important as they were to me in my youth. I'm lifted up and look higher and find that those who share these thoughts and experiences with me mould me in the way I want to be moulded. I loved cross country skiing with Dr. Lam the EMAS missionary doctor. He radiated his love of God. Sam, a mensch of Jewish wisdom, talked to me of Yahweh, while Phillip and Willie always talked to me of Jesus.
My friend George and I go for 'sole food" at his favorite French restaurant Chez Michel and often we talk of soul. He's a jazz musician who has toured churches as I have. We love the choral music and listening to ministers talk of their experience of the divine.
Hi God. I'm thinking of you. St. Paul taught us to "pray unceasingly'. Prayer and Meditation become one in god. Hi,God!

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