This may sound strange but I LOVE our universe. I love that we are conscious of our selves, that we understand so much about our location in space and time, and I love that there is so much we don’t know – the mystery and intrigue keeps life exciting. It reminds you of the importance of the process, not the result. Dreaming and working to achieve your dreams so that when you make it you can dream a new dream. There’s always more to learn. There’s always new ways to create. The universe has infinite creative potential. This is God.
I love capturing beauty with my camera. I love thinking about the beautiful things I can see, hear, smell, taste – thinking about why I can see, hear, smell and taste them, and what gives me the ability to think about these things. The language that allows me to put feelings into thoughts and into words.
I love contemplating what this process of creation tells us about the nature “God”, about the nature of our expanding universe and the nature of ourselves and our role in this ongoing evolution. I love learning about religions and I try to keep an open and empathetic attitude to ideas and perspectives different to my own. Each perspective has come from somewhere, every person has a story, and every idea has its purpose and its place. Like people, perspectives and ideas, and like our universe and our understanding of God – CONSTANTLY CHANGE. We constantly know more. We will never know everything. And that in itself is what makes life so fantastic.
Today I went to St Matthews Church in Manly to listen to Ken Duncan, the famous landscape photographer, speak about Life’s Adventure, and the process of capturing the beauty and glory of God in these landscapes. I enjoyed this very much, until the end.
What I enjoyed was hearing the story behind the amazing panoramas. Each photo took patience and intuition – listening to that voice inside of you that Ken attributed to God. I do that too. And I find that listening to this voice is how I get my shots. It’s how I find the words. It’s how I live my life. Connecting myself with the all-power energy that surrounds us and connects all of life. To say no
Confronted with images from Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion – with the blood and guts of an Anglo-Saxon Jesus suffering “for me” on the cross – juxtaposed with his amazingly beautiful panoramas. I felt sick to the stomach.
“The only way to God is through Jesus Christ”
I’m sorry. I do not agree. I can not.
a) People of other religions also connect with “God” (even if they speak another language and call this great force by another name like Allah or Jehovah – all the same MONOTHEISTIC god…) Who the heck would I be to say they are all deceived while the Western religion has magically got it right?
b) The power behind life I call “God” is more powerful than what this simple narrative makes out. What kind of God would REQUIRE a human incarnation of itself to suffer and die in order to have a relationship with me? Couldn’t an all-powerful God conquer death without requiring a death?
I’m still searching for answers. I’ll share more of my Christian journey when I get time to read through the writings I have done over the past few years. But there are just some times I have to speak up. This was one of those times, and I had to communicate these few points with Ken Duncan… so I wrote the above little essay on a feedback form and hope he gets in touch with me to discuss. If you are going to go out and tell everyone about Jesus, then maybe he has some answers. Those with exclusive perspectives of their own religion have a lot to answer for – not least the Clash of Civilisations predicted as a consequence of identities mixed up in such opposing exclusive views.
I do have to say though I was really impressed with Ken’s talk and I absolutely LOVE his work. And i loved his wonderful example of faith and listening to “God”. I relate to that. But when I see something that seems to me to be at the roots of world violence I can’t just sit back and watch. I have to say something.
Yes, a Jewish revolutionary was crucified 2000 years ago. Yes, this man changed the lives of many people – telling them to forget the church’s bureaucratic rules and instead follow his example and discover a personal direct relationship the divine power behind creation. He told them to be pacifists – to let your enemy slap the other cheek. The earliest Christians did this. Shame we don’t do it anymore, instead ignoring the Sermon on the Mount and focusing on the human theological interpretations of a narrative, mis-interpreting premodern writings in our modern paradigms. Focusing on rules, on separation, and on literal interpretations of myths.
Jesus said to forget the bullshit – life is not about obedience to autocratic rules. It’s about two things:
1. Love “God”.
2. Love your neighbour as yourself.
I find myself seeking the divine power behind our existence, connecting with it and allowing that connection to guide my life and help me pursue my unique role in the unveiling of the universe’s expansion. I am still debating whether or not I want to personify this power – it seems to have benefits of comfort and communication, but at the danger of tricking the mind to really think this power is actually a person. I don’t think anybody really believes God is a person, which is why I find the THEIST / ATHEIST debate so strange.
It seems to me it’s not a question of “is there a God?” but is actually question of “what is this power we call God?” and how can we best understand and connect with this power? Should we seek it through a deeper understanding quantum physics? Through looking at the major religions and identifying common elements – separating human-designed theologies from the original messages of the prophets? Or through seeking a deeper understanding of ourselves and our own potential to have a prophetic-like relationship with the divine.
Sometimes I find myself truly seeing other people and other forms of life as other expressions of myself. If i was born into their situation, I would be living and responding just as they do. This is why the concept of “sin” seems so foreign – most of the time these actions are derived from their life’s experience, and when you seek the cause of destructive behaviour, it is not something that the person had control over.
I love those moments where my separate identity disappears and I feel at one with the universe. Floating in the ocean allowing waves to carry your body up and down is one of the most meditative states that make me realise my separateness is a temporary condition – one I must enjoy each moment without fear of it’s inevitable end.
“But what do I know, I’m just a model”
And it’s late, I’m running on 5 hours sleep, my eyes are heavy so I’m going to post this, have a shower and go to bed.
The picture I used for this post is a meditation poster called Supreme Light from the Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual university – www.bkwsu.org