Sunday Morning Musings: The Church has its own seasons and today begins the season called Pentecost. This new season begins fifty days after Easter and commemorates the receiving of the Holy Spirit by Jesus’ first disciple (according to Luke`s writing in the Book of Acts). Of course, in John`s gospel Jesus offered the Holy Spirit to those gathered on the evening of Easter, bringing once again into question the writing of and meaning of Scriptures. Naturally, this would lead an inquisitive mind to ask about other elements of belief.
One of the most difficult to understand is that we called the Trinity. Sometimes the Trinity is referred to as the idea of God being revealed as three entities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost – if we read the King James Version). I have given up trying to make any explanation of the concept of The Trinity. Arguments have taken place over the centuries, which have led to disagreements about the very nature of Jesus. Was he human with divine qualities or fully divine just pretending to be human, and so on It is no wonder that many folks today are just throwing up their hands with the whole idea of religion and its beliefs.
It was no surprise to me to see a cartoon this past week about two people discussing the concept of the Trinity. The one said to the other: (not an exact quote) you seem to have no problem believing in black holes, yet you can`t get your head around believing in the Trinity. Which once again raised the issue of science versus religion – or in other words: give me proof.
Besides a sense of wanting proof for everything, it dawned on me that maybe proof has little to do with a sense of disbelief in God. Rather, what occurred to me was that our concern is not so much about needing a complete explanation as is the fact that we don`t want a complex God. We want a God who is easy to understand. Sadly, this often leads to wanting a God who can also be controlled by us. Wasn`t it so much easier to have faith when we believed that God was like an old man with a beard, up in the sky watching over everything waiting for us to die so `he could send us either to heaven or hell? Yes, those were the good old days. Never mind the fact that such is what John Westerhoff referred to as an affilliative stage of spiritual development. That is to say, a level where we connect with those who thing or believe as we do because we are told to do so – we don`t need to think for ourselves.
I have no difficulty with anyone believing what we choose to belief – we all do that. But I do have concerns around those who do not do their own thinking, who want a much less complicated God. I want a less complicated God, as well, but I don`t want the what has become for many the church`s god who offers conditional love that demands we fit into certain boxed. A church sign I read recently spoke of the impartiality of God – yet, LGTBQ people are often excluded, as are blacks or others of different faith groups. I once invited other churches to join in a prayer vigil but was told that because I chose to invite non-Christian groups they would not participate.
Let’s not complicate God or faith with strange beliefs. God is love. For me that is all that matters.