I was struck yesterday while I was preparing my cartoon on the death of Brennan Manning that he called Jesus “the human face of God”. More of this thoughts deserve to be mentioned here:
“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am.”
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.”
In the cartoon above we see the man investigating the minutia through a microscope. He can’t see God. Then we see the man looking through a telescope at the vast universe. He can’t see God. Then we see the man studying exploring holy books. He can’t see God. Then we see Christ on the cross desperate. He can’t see God. This is reality. I’m not joking. Every honest person knows this.
I posted what I thought would be a simple statement on my Facebook page yesterday. I said:
“One of the greatest equalizers is that not one of us has seen God.”
Some of the responses I received made me want to throw my hands up in the air in despair. Some people claim to have seen God or know somebody who has or read about someone who did. Others say that we see God every day in the small things if we have spiritual eyes to see. Others said there is no God to see anyway. Ah, the human mind’s capacity to believe whatever it needs to believe! I talk with people all the time who defend the absolute inerrancy of Scripture where it says, “No one has seen God and lived”, but they claim they’ve seen God or that others have. I know many people who claim to have to seen God and even stood before him in heaven and received orders. Yet here they are walking around as alive as ever. We have no problem living with cognitive dissonance.
We are desperate. The incredible diversity of responses made me realize that people are desperate to see God or desperate to believe he can be seen. I claim we are all like Christ on the cross. We all suffer. We can achieve some Buddhist detachment from our suffering. But the suffering is there. It pervades the world. Honest people know this. And in the midst of this we cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But I don’t believe that’s the end of it. There’s a bigger picture. It sort of reminds me of Paul’s idea that we may not see but we are seen. The greater story is that we are embraced in the All-Knowing and All-Seeing. The greatest of these is love. Love remains. I love helping people learn how to live honestly and authentically in this Mystery.
At The Lasting Supper this evening, we’re going to have a Potluck Hangout, a video conference, where we are going to talk about belief. Those who consider themselves on the spectrum of belief are going to share their journeys of faith with us. I can’t wait! I invite you to join us.