Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Opening Up To the Mystery Of Love

A lot of Christian "God language" has been increasingly foreign to me since I left Christianity some 12 years ago or so.  The imagery of an all-powerful Man-Person-In-The-Sky gradually crumbled, but still the language persists. And it works for a lot of people, but not for me.  My favourite Christian author is still Henri Nouwen, the late Catholic priest and author, and he writes the following:

"What can we say about God's love? We can say that God's love is unconditional. God does not say, "I love you, if ..." There are no ifs in God's heart. God's love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God's love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. God's love is from eternity to eternity and is not bound to any time-related events or circumstances. Does that mean that God does not care what we do or say? No, because God's love wouldn't be real if God didn't care. To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants us to love God in return.

Let's dare to enter into an intimate relationship with God without fear, trusting that we will receive love and always more love."
The meaning that Nouwen infuses into his writing still resonates with me, particularly his persistence on preaching the love of God. But his symbolism is increasingly foreign - "God does not say," "God's love wouldn't be real if God didn't care," etc.

To this I would say, "God is not a Person, an anthropomorphic version of ourselves only stronger." Rather, when I speak of God, I speak of a deep spiritual presence that lies beneath all things, above all things, and through all things, including me. This spiritual presence is love itself, so we can still glean much wisdom from authors such as Nouwen, even if we jettison a lot of his imagery.

I refuse to believe that everything I see has happened by random chance. But I also readily embrace science.  I will open myself up to something strong and powerful.

I will open myself up to the Mystery of Love.

Mark Andrew Alward