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Our spiritual evolution from where we were as a nation and species just fifty years ago to where we are now and where we can be is stunning.
When I grew up we had very strict and definite guidelines. America lived in the middle of a warped sense of puritanism. A lot of America still does, but more and more we work to drop the trappings surrounding fear for the liberation of Love.
Living in the South I am surrounded by evangelical fundamentalism which just baffles me. It is very much like the religiosity of my childhood which said that if we didn’t do what our parents, teachers or other adults told us to do, God would be very angry with us. If we were bad enough, we would go to hell.
God was the ultimate wrathful father.
About ten years ago I was talking with a Franciscan priest who told me that he thought my idea of God was that same wrathful father God. I could not imagine anything further from the truth. I told him that all of my life my idea of God was that he was just like my grandfather.
My grandfather was a happy man who loved life. I remember him best for the great sense of contentment he had whenever our family gathered at my grandparents’ home for a holiday or Sunday dinner. We children loved our grandfather dearly. He loved us equally or more. As the youngest in the family I had the privilege of sitting beside him at dinner. When it was over the men and children would go to the living room while the women cleaned up and talked.
As the youngest I got to sit on my grandfather’s lap beside the front window. The Packer or Cub game would play while we fell asleep. That has always been my idea of God. Falling asleep on the lap of a warm, loving grandfather who smells of meat, potatoes and gravy.
That is our God if we are willing to let Him be our God.
God is a warm and loving grandparent. He smells like Home. Everything is safe as long as He is here. He is the center of calm no matter what else occurs.
It is okay for us to let go of our fears. We live in a society that still uses the God threat to make us behave, child or adult. If we don’t do what society wants us to do, then a punishing God will rain down hellfire on our heads.
This is not the reality of God.
God really is like my grandfather. Yes, there are things we need to do to make it possible for humans to live peaceably together in our world. We don’t need to use threats and whips to make this happen. It can be done with love and cooperation. The catch is our own willingness to live a better, happier life without fear. We are safe to live in happiness without fear.
We have all the spiritual tools we need to make this a better world.
Let us reach out for the loving arms of our Grandfather with the willingness to be loved.