The Ever Changing God.
Inspired by this article (http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/05/13/christians-its-not-sin-change-your-beliefs#.VAbDrJNs7Yc.twitter) I have been thinking about how the way God has changed for me over my years of being a Christian. How is it possible that the One who never changes, who is the same yesterday, today and forever can change? I think the revealed truth of the ever changing God is flowing within our Scriptures, and through the life experiences and walk I have had since the age of fifteen, and probably even before being shaped through my perception through my whole life. The evolution of the God I believe in continues to happen and will happen until the day I die here and probably beyond. Because God is vastness and eternal there is always going to be something to discover and shape my view of Him or even Her. It is a bit like a courtship and marriage relationship, it continually evolves, our view of each other evolves as we learn more about one another and then what we learn begins to change. Allison will often say I have changed and that she doesn’t even know me anymore. It is because our relationship has evolved from the seeming perfection of courtship when love is blind and the other is beautiful in all ways, to a place of marriage and then the different dynamics children and wider family bring, to times of conflict and where the imperfections are no longer hidden, to times of separation and stress and changing of physical needs, desires and practicalities. Then we as individuals change our views on things as we get worldly wise, this effects the relationship too. Changing jobs, relationships, mistakes, boredom of the mundane, affairs, moving locality, all effects how we see each other and how we create ourselves. We change, it is normal. Yet I am the same. The same person, the same heart, but different…This is why separations and divorce occur because the changing perspectives cannot be grasped or lived with. You are not who I fell in love with. This is true of God too.The ever changing God.
Who are you Lord?
You always get to know the God of other people when you first become a Christian. They introduce you to their God, or at least their image of God. This is great if you accept this image and are comfortable with that image for the rest of your life, but what if you allow the relationship to develop and grow and evolve as time moves on? There will be times when you do not even recognise the One you are in relationship with, the One you courted and engaged with. The God I originally knew had a plan for my life, a once in a lifetime, do not miss it type of plan. A plan I could miss out on if I was not careful. A specific road that I needed to walk along. Miss it and miss out. Talk about a weight of expectation and chance of blowing it big time. The stress if finding out where God wanted me to be. Guilt, fear and condemnation because God would only bless me if I did His will. Then I heard a guy called Rodney Kingston talk about a different God altogether. A God who was not so fussed about a specific tightrope walk, but One who showed us the big open fields of life and said walk in any part of this field and enjoy it. I will soon let you know if you get it wrong. Until then just live. My God was beginning to evolve even as a young Christian. Never again would my God cause guilt through missing it. At Bible college I really lived with the guilt trip. I lived with the guilt trip of the God who wanted me to pray for at least an hour a day, and read chapters of the Bible every day. And even more than the weight of that guilt I lived with a habit that I knew God was disgusted with, I regularly masturbated. Not with porn or anything, I just masturbated. Obviously growing up as an older teen, early twenties lad. But I was disgusted with myself and had a God that was disgusted with me too. I really believed He would punish me, or at least not use me because of this habit. I struggled with years over this. Then I heard a guy, a charismatic vicar called Eric Delve speak about a young man that came into his church office for counselling. He said the young man was very embarrassed and every time he tried to talk about his problem he couldn’t. After trying for ages he finally whispered his shameful habit of masturbation. Eric Delve blew me away when he said ‘oh is that all, I do that all the time.’ He knew a God I didn’t. A God that was not hung up on our issues. The God I discovered and that evolved in my life slowly accepted my issues too. They were no longer issues that bothered Him or me. This process continues through life and in varying degrees. I can honestly say the God I know today is not the God I knew back when I was a teenager. God has evolved and changed. And maybe so have I. The angry God that I need to obey becomes the loving Father. The loving Father of His own children, becomes the loving Father of all creation. The loving Father of all creation becomes the loving Father of all races, creeds, religions, Nations. The Evolution of God. We continually need to ask, who are you Lord?
A God of Our Own Making.
The problem with many of us is we always have the image of another’s God to carry. The God of the preacher, teacher or Pastor. Their image of God is the one that is often transferred to us. Then we take on the image of the God of the authors we read, or even the God of those in the Bible. We are often told about personal relationship but many of us live as if it is impersonal and that we can only know Him through others. What we need is a God of our own making. A God that has evolved through our own walk and life experiences. A God we have found, not what others find for us. I can always draw an opinion of others from someone else, but that opinion will always carry baggage. An example, the press tell us about extreme Muslim terrorists, someone can then say all Muslims are bad and need to be nuked (a conversation at work last night). I can then take on that image or create my own. Last weekend at Greenbelt I met a Muslim who took a couple of prayer sessions, what a Godly, peaceful, humble man he was. He was the Muslim I had found. This not only evolves my image of Muslims but of God Himself. The God I knew of the Jesus is the only way to heaven variety gets stretched and challenged. God begins to evolve again. Does God love horribly judgemental, proud Christians but hate this man because he chose the wrong religion? God changes again. But is there not a danger of making God in our own image? Don’t we already do that anyway in church every week? Don’t we make a God in the evangelical image or the Bible believing image or the God as end time judge image? What I am saying is we need to allow our God to evolve to the personal God we see on our own journey. How He has revealed Himself to me and embrace how He has revealed Himself to others, it may be different for all. Wind for one, fire for another, a whisper for another, as Jesus to another,as a burning bush to another, as freedom to another, as a prison to another, as presence to another, as absence to another, in song to one and in silence to the other. We need a God of our own making.
Fully Embraced But Fully to be Discovered.
God is always evolving in my life. When trying to run from everything I discovered God in the depths. A different God to the one I even preached about. A God that David knew about that he could not shrug off. In the absence of God in my life there was God. For me it was like a blank canvas God, One I had never met before. I had only ever met Him through religious exercises of church attendance and ministry and preaching and prophesying, I had never met the God of I have nothing. I was not connecting through prayer, the Bible, sermons, songs, this was connection through being, running, sinning. A God who was, who did not need to be drummed up or prayed in or even felt. He was. This God was not hung up with stuff like I thought He was, or was told He was. He was gracious, loving, embracing, silent, accepting. Not so hung up with people becoming Christians as revealing Himself to all men; Christian, Muslim, pagan, atheist etc. Gay, straight, married, divorced, single, got it together, totally messed it up. This God was threaded in the whole of my life, my family, my work, my leisure, my gathering and my not gathering. Not so hung up with who I could become in Him but embracing me as I am realising that He totally fuses Himself into and through my being. He is threaded into Hollywood movies and through Holy books. He is their in fiction as well as in fact. A God I fully embraced and yet know there is so much more to discover. I used to sing Lord you are changing me, now I think I am changing Him. At least what I see of Him. My life daily will be about the evolution of God.