As you may know, lately, here in Blog Land, I’ve been pretty seriously goofing about with my new camera. Oh sure, it’s been fun. First Roscoe the Zoo Cat shocked us. Then The Evil Tree terrified us. Then the “Art or Garbage? debate confounded us. Then the Fully Atrocious porta-potty name made us wonder if I was ever going to grow up. And finally, of course, we pondered The Mystery of the Apparently Depressed Yet Romantically Hopeful Yoga Practitioner.
Ahhh. Good times, all.
Still, there comes a time in each of our lives when we must put behind us the frivolous purfuits fribulous perpoots fritterless stupid stuff of youth, and concentrate instead upon Matters of the Spirit.
And for me, being Christian, that would mean concentrating upon God.
By which of course I mean the Christian God. By which I mean the Christian concept of God — given that it’s impossible, of course, for anything to be known to us beyond or outside of the way it manifests in our mind and heart vis-a-vis our concept of that thing.
No concept; no perceived reality, right? We’ve got to know what something is before we can process the reality of it. We Christians can all agree on that, right? Not that our God is real — of course we believe he’s real. But beyond the reality of God as we know it — which is to say beyond our concept of God — we understand that God also has realities, processes, and dynamics we can’t even begin to conceive of. We know that in a very real sense, what we worship and experience as God is but a reflection of the totality of the unimaginably vast phenomenon that is God.
It’s like being in Africa. We can be sitting on a veranda beholding the sun setting over a golden veld stretching miles to the horizon, and be stirred to our soul by it — but we wouldn’t then be experiencing Africa. We’d be experiencing only a tiny fraction of Africa. It’s not actually possible to experience “Africa,” any more than it’s possible to swim in every drop of the ocean at once.
Africa, for any one person at any given time, can only exist as a concept, not a specific, perceived reality.
Same with God. I can have — I can experience, hold within my mind and heart — a lot of Him. But I can certainly never contain within myself anything near to to his entirety.
My job — my pleasure, my honor, my responsibility — is to as often as I can expand as much as I can my small, cranky brain and my miserable, shackled heart, so that, if only for moments at a time, I might perceive and appreciate any more at all the wonder, majesty and infinite compassion of God.
The “problem” is that expanding my perception of the totality of God tends to leave me a tad speechless on the subject of God. How can it not? What fool, in the presence of God, talks about God? Who imagines their words will add to God’s reality, will enhance God’s experience, will further Pump God Up?
Which isn’t to say that passionate pastors and thoughtful theologians can’t do much to inform our understanding of God. I know they can; I know they do.
They’re great at it! Often! And so I tend to leave that function in life to them.
And what do I tend to do, instead? (Not, God knows, that I don’t often enough add my own noise to the “Let’s All Understand God in the Exact Right Way, Which Is The Way I Do!” cacophony.) If you read this blog much at all, you know what.
You know I quite often say things, like … Hey, look at this camera that came in yesterday in this huge box of junk someone donated to one of my wife’s thrift stores!! :
This really came in yesterday.
It’s something to see, isn’t it?