What Size Is God? Nov02

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What Size Is God?

The real question is, what size is YOUR God?

We don’t know much. We try to find truth and figure things out, but we’re all just searching, often guessing.

But this I know, if your God fits in a small box, your image of God is likely due for a makeover.

When I was a child, we learned there are nine planets, with Pluto being the smallest.

Today scientists argue on whether Pluto is even a planet at all, and in 2014, announced the discovery of 715 new planets outside of earth’s solar system. They think there are likely billions of stars, and our sun is one of the smaller ones.

NASA estimates the Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across. As space probes travel further and further from earth, we are finding not only more and more galaxies, but clusters of galaxies!

Perhaps one of the coolest discoveries is that not only is there more to find, but the universe itself continues to expand.

Notice the image with this article. It’s actually named, “Celestial Maternity Ward N81!” It’s all rather mind-blowing! How cool is that?

The universe we thought was quantifiable and static, or even dying, continues to grow.

Growth and expansion are a mark of the universe. Should they not also mark of our lives and understanding of God and reality?

If the universe is as big or bigger than we thought, how big God must be! If the creation is this magnificent and expanding, how much greater the creator!

Yet a great irony is the extent to which we have made God so small. We make God fit into small buildings and tiny communion cups. We’ve created a myriad of boxes and forced God inside. We think how boring religion is, so look elsewhere for excitement and fulfillment, and to grasp something larger than ourselves.

Seriously?

If your God has been reduce to a set of rules, a series of clichés or a foundation of fear, GET OUT OF THE BOX, and LET GOD OUT ALSO!

How do you do that? I’m sure there are multiple ways in dozens of traditions. Here are some places I’ve gone for life. There really are voices out there that are refreshing, mind-expanding and life-giving. If how you’re thinking and what you’re doing are working for you, great. But if you’re tired of the same ole same ole (often BS), I implore you to expose yourself to alternative thoughts and voices.

Rob Bell is a 45-year old theologian, thinker and generally cool guy who has escaped the boxes and discovered ideas that have been buried too long. While some see him as a heretic (a person holding views that are at odds with what is generally accepted), I have come to see him as one uncovering understanding that has been buried by centuries of myth.

The Liturgists is a group of forward thinkers who are trying to rediscover the wisdom of the mystics, sages and theologians throughout history who sought God and found profound truths. I follow their inspiring and though-provoking podcasts which can be downloaded to your smartphone or found on their website

Ask Science Mike is a podcast and website dedicated to exploring theological issues from a scientific perspective. (Mike is also part of the Liturgists.) Science no longer has to be at odds with faith. So if you have questions or conflicts concerning science, faith and life, check out Science Mike.

Greg Boyd is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has written several books that re-think ideas about the revolutionary nature of God as expressed through the life of Jesus. His podcasts and blog articles have given much freedom to ask questions and question some of the assumptions of today’s religious climate.

Richard Rohr is an outspoken Franciscan who has introduced many to various traditions including the dessert fathers, radical people of faith throughout history and precious nuggets of truth gleaned in diverse religious traditions (including Hinduism and Buddhism). As the 4th century Bishop of Hippo, Augustine wrote, “Truth is truth no matter where you find it.” Rohr’s book, Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, was super liberating for me, and his emailed devotionals continue to feed my soul on a daily basis.

Phyllis Tickle (who passed away recently) was a writer who examined Christianity from a sociological perspective. A few months ago I listened to her book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why. She shared a perspective that it seems Christianity (and likely most other religions) seem to have a giant rummage sale about every 500 years, when concepts of God and theological positions are reconsidered. The last big rummage sale in Christianity was the Protestant Reformation; and guess what, we’re due for a rummage sale now. It was October 31, 1517 that Luther posted his 95 theses (challenges to the religious status quo) to the church door at Wittenburg, Germany. We will commemorate that world-changing event in just two years.

I remember hearing an analogy years ago that the church is like a building that has had years of scaffolding tacked on. Because of that, it has become extremely challenging to tell the difference between the scaffolding and the original building. It’s time to tear off the scaffolding—all the crap that’s been tacked on to religion—and get back to the reality and beauty of the building.

What you find when you discover fresh voice is they introduce you to other fresh voices. Like minded people hang out.

For example, Science Mike recently had a motorcycle accident that is affecting his ability to focus. So we invited Rob Bell to guest-host his podcast. Filling in for Mike, Bell addressed questions submitted by listeners, a format different than his books or podcast.

There are many other folks out there who are resisting the status quo and pushing the boundaries to understand God in a fresh light and what it means to live a life of faith in the 21st century.

Don’t be discouraged by all the small-mindedness out there, go find a bigger God. I promise that he/she is out there.

 

 

Image of Celestial Maternity Ward N81 in the Small Magellanic Cloud; retrieved from: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1998/25/image/a/