I've realized that my posts on this new blog so far have come in very intellectual words, seemingly from a very intellectual place. It's funny and humbling to notice this, because I sometimes find myself very frustrated with people who approach spirituality solely intellectually (being intellectual is not the point!!). So, given that, I thought I might clarify a little.
I notice God everywhere. God is just under our nose - all the time! Over the past year I have learned to look for positive things when everything seems to be falling apart. In the same way, I have learned to look for God when God seems impossible or just utterly absent.
Often when I pause for a moment, I see God in my friends, I feel God in my ability to persevere difficult times, in my joy when times are better. I see God in the sunlight and the clouds, I feel God in my pulse, in the smiles and tears of strangers and of my family. God is my life, the lives of my friends, and all the stories of pain and of love I've ever heard. God is all the love in my life, given and received, clear-cut and confusing. There is nowhere and nothing that God is not, for God is everywhere and everything.
I can't always tap into this sense of God very easily, but I'm getting better at it. All this intellectual stuff on this blog is an attempt to articulate this sense, and to relate it to my experience of Quakerism and other people's experiences with God. I have no doubt about God.
I feel a strong urge to come up with some intellectual description of God because I am a scientist. I am a chemist in practice and at heart. At this point in my life, chemistry is a strong calling of mine. This brings me into relationships with other scientists, many of whom are very skeptical of religion and God, or have abandoned both altogether.
In February, shortly after attending the YAF retreat in Burlington, NJ where I found grounding I'd been without for quite sometime, I found myself having a very challenging conversation with a friend of mine who is atheist. As I tried to explain Quaker practice and my concept of God, I had to define every single term I used - even words such as 'grounded'! She asked me if I found that I had to "check science at the door" when I went to Meeting for Worship, and my response was "of course not!" If I had to check science at the door, I never would enter in the first place. Continuing in this conversation, I was challenged to explain my concept of God and how it did not contradict science, and that God was not just an explanation for things science cannot yet explain. To me, God and science are not two separate puzzle pieces to fit together covering different areas, but rather are utterly overlapping. I have yet to come up with a good analogy for how I see God and science together.
In any case, now, when trying to articulate God in my life and what I mean when I say God, I use that conversation as a standard. "If I used these words with my atheist friend, would she understand them as I mean them? Could I explain this to a skeptic and not get written off as a nut? As a scientist, is what I am saying possible and real?" I ask these questions not for fear of being judged, but to hold myself accountable. I will not let myself believe something because it is easier to and not confront the belief head on and test it thoroughly.
So, Friends, any fumblings I have with intellectual descriptions are not for lack of faith, nor for lack of experience. I am seeking to articulate, and I am seeking to find the right context.
Love and Light,