‘God never changes’ is one of the religious mantras I find troubling. So often it is a prelude to a rigid interpretation and understanding of God.
I’ve been in the south recently where I began a search for a church home. I encountered several congregations who called themselves bible based to indicate they only follow rules set out in the bible.
One church in Miami, even claimed to be a New Testament bible based church. One bizarre result is that no musical instrument is used in worship because there’s no account of any being used in the New Testament. In Ft Lauderdale another pastor, while proclaiming the love of God, provided a laundry list of people, from Roman Catholics to atheists who were not going to heaven.
I understand the need for security in an insecure and uncontrollable world where death is inevitable. I understand the need for and the good that religion has done and can do. I believe that God never changes but it’s my belief, and it includes what I believe God is and therefore what it is that doesn’t change.
Modern life is confronting a paradox unparalleled in human history. Our technology is drawing us closer together at the same time that it is pushing us farther apart.
We are all now connected in a global economy and on social networks that have no borders. However, instead of the electronic media of the past that was limited, reasonably similar, and provided thoughtful editing, today we link overwhelmingly only with those who are similar to us, and the opportunities to engage with the diversity of human experience are diminishing.
The existential quest of human experience is to see ourselves in the other person.
This is the basis of our humanity. The purpose of all religions is to guide us in bridging our instinctive self centeredness and experience this spiritual birthright. This is the essence of the golden rule and loving our neighbor as our self.
God is a concept too awesome to reduce to human proof. The ancients wouldn’t even speak the name. Our individual concepts based commonly on sacred but human sources are by definition less than the whole, limited to the sources or experiences we incorporate in them.
The most fundamental concept of God, which Christians learn from Jesus, is that our Creator is love. We are not the only culture, in human history to believe this. This is the source of that spiritual birthright, and it has been available to every human from the beginning of time.
However, our understanding of the nature of God’s love should change as we grow in understanding it more fully. Not to change is not to grow.
While I have faith in what I know, the depth of my faith is in my unknown.
It is in the humility of my doubt that my humanity is born. It allows me to see in my fellow human another of the ever changing faces of God’s love.