The Momentous Step
The moment in which we become aware of the creative action of God and are therefore able to respond or resist, is the moment in which our conscious spiritual life begins. In all the talk of human progress, it is strange how very seldom we hear anything about this, the most momentous step forward that a human being can make, for it is the step that takes us beyond self-interest, beyond succession, sets up a direct intercourse with the soul’s Home…. Large parts of the New Testament are concerned with the making of that step. But the experimental knowledge of it is not on the one hand possessed by all Christians, nor on the other hand is it confined to Christianity. Evelyn Underhill
God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are systems which human beings have created to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God; I think it only points me to God—John Shelby Spong.
I believe that Christianity is not the only path to connect with God.
Even from pre-confirmation into Zion Congregational Church in Portland, Oregon. Read that, 7th grade, when I went to a Billy Graham rally in Portland, Oregon…and the only reason I “went forward to know Jesus,” was because my best neighbor buddy got up and walked forward…and to not join him meant I would miss my ride home with his mother. I admit—was much more practical than theological. Even more when in the “back room” with the Evangelists, they more than spoke, they hammered their version of the spiritual life, maintaining “it is only through Jesus you can know God.” They handed out small books with the only Bible book the Gospel of John. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I never let that hammer pound me into myopia about how God connects with ANY of us, regardless of the body of religious language. To say the only path to God through Jesus Christ? True for many. But, personally. That is myopia which shrinks God.
So it is…the quotes from Evelyn Underhill and John Shelby Spong make sense…and are powerful and encouraging. Thanks to Gerry Metzger and Joanne Carlson Brown, treasured clergy colleagues, for sharing these affirmations on their Facebook. Although I do not believe the “moment in which our spiritual life begins” doesn’t have echoing moments along the way.
I believe knowing God is more than a special converting moment. That happens, for which gratitude is profound and full. But, there’s more. I believe “knowing God” is a process…that happens, hopefully, with a frequency that affirms the place of hope and joy and peace and love. And can happen throughout the human journey.