I realized whether I’m writing on my blog, working on a novel, jotting down some poetry or writing a new song, I love to write. I’m one of those folks born with a need to share what’s on my mind and I have this crazy creativity that needs to get out of my system. I’m self-absorbed or self-indulgent like that, but then its why we have writers. Writers share a message and others are free to read and like, or read and reject or ignore; but we are gifted to write. There is that part of creativity in writers.
I have been needing to write down my memoirs for awhile. It was bound to happen and so I have a new page, Autobiography Beginnings, that I hope you will enjoy reading. I’m working on this book and will add the chapters as I write them.
Today, I will place this excerpt from the book beginnings Chapter Two titled, “Forward Progress,” because it was originally written as a blog post and it fit in Chapter Two quite easily.
This could mean many things depending on who is progressing and who is moving forward. My life has been defined by a spiritual progress. I went from small child dependant on an omniscient God, to a child who hated God, and then to a child who questioned God, and then to a totally accepting adult with a dogmatic and unbendable belief system (falsely called faith), and up to now where I am a progressive follower of wherever God takes me and shows me truth through the lens of love.
Now, that last part in my journey may seem too hokey and rose-colored glasses, but I know that I see clearer looking toward the light when I keep my shades on. I don’t want to be blinded by the light.
God, the Great Creator, the one inside and outside and within and without, is defined by humans throughout time. The forward progression of our thoughts on God is decided by culture and time period.
God is viewed through the lens of how we view our world. God becomes defined by those who speak the loudest about God. Thus, we can have some real asshole beliefs about God, when in reality we are simply viewing God through a pile of whatever came out of the wrong end of a donkey.
If you are raised sitting around a campfire and listening to the Shaman share his view of God, then you will probably believe God to be whatever this Shaman said. If you are raised in an organized religion you will probably believe whatever said religion and preacher up front tells you of God.
Rarely, do we step out and progress further in our God definition than what we’ve been taught. We get secure and find comfort in having a fully explained God, neatly placed in the box of our religion and upbringing.
But then, there are those who step out of the box, leave the cave, leave the building, leave the doctrines of tradition, and the authority who states, “that’s just how it’s always been,” and start to search for God outside the box.
This was me when I not only came out of the closet, but also came out of my little spiritual box.
This can be called, “Forward Progress.” In a culture it brings about new religions and new governments and new laws, and revolutions; but, on a personal level as one human being, it can bring about all types of life changes and life directional shifts and upheavals, or a revolution of thought. This is a new chapter in a life.
It brings about change – either for good or for bad. But then, good or bad is decided by whom?
Who decides what is best for you? God? Whose god? Questioning outside the box leads you to even more questions. You realize the world is one infinite question after another, and you either keep pondering or jump back into the box, or find another neatly put together box and jump in that one. (I think that’s why you’ll find many diehard Catholics become Mormons or a Protestant going to Catholicism. You see a lot of box jumpers.)
Who IS GOD, then becomes, and became, my question. When we begin to ask who we are to God, we then need to ask who is God to us. Who is God to…me?
In this day and age, early 21st century, if the world is progressing forward then we are at a time when wars, hate, lines drawn, societies building walls, humans developing anti-equality laws, relationships, and cultures have to say, “We learned from the past, and now move forward to a more enlightened future.”
Do we progress forward? Do we make good changes or bad changes?
I believe as I earlier stated about how an individual jumps back in the box or chooses a different box, rather than exploring a more enlightened path, our countries and societies do the same thing. It’s why we have Neo-cons in the United States and why we have new abusive and violent laws against gays in other countries like Russia and Uganda. We step forward in kindness and then step backward into hate.
When I earlier stated that I began to see the world through a love colored lens I realized I could not step backward into hate or jump from one box to another. I was finally free from that box and was ready to explore the world in a loving and caring way. If I’m being loving and caring then I won’t be judgmental and hate-driven. I can’t tell you for a fact, dogmatically that this religion is better than this other religion, but I can, for a fact, say that God is real to me and people are here to stay and so I either get along with them or live in a box.
Let’s look at the God picture for a second: I have to ask, “Is God good for us or bad?” Who defines good and bad? Is God good or bad? Perhaps that’s the first question we should ask. If God is infallible and constant, infinite and timeless, creator of all, then what does that have to do with good or bad? It just “IS.” So then do we really care if God is good or bad?
This creation has good and bad things – evil things at times when you consider cruelty and inhumane actions. Is this how we find God – through humanity? …The predator/prey example? Destructive forces of nature in constant turmoil and constant climactic change?
Well, there is no good answer to give us any real definition. We could stand our ground on one definition, but then what source do we go to in finding solidity to this conclusion? If we are progressing forward then we don’t stop on a definition. We don’t get comfy despite the little box we found that has a really soft blanket inside. There is NO SUCH BOX THAT HAS EVERY ANSWER INSIDE.
And, if we stop then how do we explain the progression of history on humankind and creatures alike? We don’t still live in caves and even if you don’t believe in macro-evolution you do realize there has been myriad micro-evolutionary changes in our world proven scientifically.
Forward progress is real and a must, for cultures, societies, and for us as individuals.
Our culture has constantly changed. Our technology has constantly changed. Our communities and political systems and those lines of power have constantly changed. Life and livelihood keeps progressing and moving forward. Movements have come and gone. New religions and ideologies sprout up and then die out.
Our view of God, in those same transient ways, also change.
And then there is me. I have read the Bible for over 30 years over and over again. I saw the words one way 30 years ago, and then another way 20 years ago, and even differently 10 years ago, and now everything is so different in how I perceive the wording. Did the writing change? No. (I read the same version.)
I ended up progressing and moving forward. I stopped listening to what others told me. I got quiet and began to listen to that small inner voice. I say God spoke to my heart. I opened my eyes. I finally listened.
I know when I look at other human beings that God is not them. God is outside humankind, and yet within us each, but only when we notice it inside. God is outside a book of words. God is outside every individual and yet dwells with each one of us. Some seek and some don’t care. It’s not a contest.
Inspiration is fully given to anyone – any old Joe or Joanne on the street. I see a smiling clerk at the store who tells me to have a good day from the very core of her soul and mean it, and I am blessed by God because of her being inspired to share this joy inside. We are ALL able to be inspired by God and have an inspired word at any given moment.
To say that your religious box, neatly put together centuries ago, by those who decided and spoke the loudest is the only box to use is a lie. “This is our unchanging box.” Others come along and look in the box and don’t touch the contents and keep passing it along completely intact.
I came from a Christian fundamental; grace alone, infallible Bible-only, inerrant truth, type of box of religion. This was the only box I dared to look inside. One day God told me, “STOP.” Stop and look up. Go outside that box. And this began my forward progress.
Boxes are fine for a time, but they eventually fall apart like all things made of cardboard. Getting a bigger and better and shinier box to place all those little things inside doesn’t change the fact you cannot progress inside a box.
God will not ever, nor will God ever, stay in a box created and manufactured by human beings. When you realize this it’s the first step in truly knowing God. Not that you ever truly will, but you are on the journey finally.
It’s like children and their toy boxes. Eventually, they move away from that small group of toys and go off to college and see the world (unless, you happen to be a character in Toy Story).
I like Jesus and the idea of Jesus. There are so many schools of thought as to whether he existed or not. I don’t think I really care one way or the other. I like the message of Jesus: “Love God and love others.” “Know who you are.” “Seek God and you shall find God.” “Care and be generous.” “Don’t judge.” “Be true to yourself.” “Be a light in a dark world.” “Always help when able.” I mean, these are things that we should do as human beings and in this way we are God on earth.
Love: Could you imagine (like the song by John Lennon) if we were all guided by love that there would be no more wars, no more boundaries, no more hate, and no more laws. Equality would never be questioned because it would be a given. Judgment is unnecessary because grace and mercy would abound. There would be no prisons. No poverty because everyone would help out another. Peace. There would be peace for once.
This was the message of Jesus, but we always draw lines and we always place our boxes there on the front line. We so love our boxes. I know this will never happen because humans will always behave as humans. There will be no heeding this message of Jesus.
But, I ask YOU – the person reading this – to leave your box. YOU start the forward progression because if only one person starts, and then another starts, soon we will have a world of people progressing in this path of peace. God isn’t in any box – God transcends boxes.
Peace be with you.