The number of things I know about God is shrinking. Having reached the beginning of my 80th decade, I’m a bit underwhelmed by the current state of my theological knowledge. When I was young, I knew quite a bit about God. Today, I am pretty much limited to two affirmations: God is Mystery and God is Love. That’s it. The mystery part says it all: I’m not sure how God created the world, I don’t understand either the incarnation or the resurrection, and though I am rapidly approaching it, I am completely stymied by any attempt to describe or understand the eternal afterlife.
I am experiencing this disappointing shortfall of knowledge in a quite positive way because the things I believe about God seem to be growing. For instance, I believe our dogs and horses go to heaven. I can’t really defend this rationally, except that I know that God is Love. I believe that God loves Democrats and Republicans equally. I believe God loves both never-Trumpers and forever-Trumpers. I believe God is color blind and loves babies on one side of the border as much as babies on the other side of the border. I believe God loves straight people as much as gays and lesbians. I believe that the pronoun “he,” which I use often, is inadequate as a reference to God, but that God has been called by many names through the centuries and is perfectly OK with it.
I believe that if, as Christians, we could learn to speak about what we believe rather than what we know, we would get along a lot better. It is even possible that if we confined our conversations to what we believe rather than what we know, we wouldn’t be talking about splitting the church and dispersing our spiritual energy at a time when the world needs the church more than ever before. I believe that if we were to be more cautious about speaking of our knowledge, and more courageous about proclaiming our faith, the love of God that we know about would spread like wildfire throughout the land.
Rev. Don Underwood