In the movie The Ugly Truth, we relate to the unfortunate partial realities of two characters played by Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. Gerard Butler, plays a man, who displays the partial reality of a carnivorous man who struggles with change. Katherine Heigl plays a woman, who needs to have control of her life and has a desire for a relationship life and sociological life that is deeper in culture and sophistication.
One of the first scenes in the movie, we find Heigl on a date. She is being overbearing, and, reveals to the guy that she is on a date with, that he carries 8 out of 10 characteristics on her date. The guy is immediately turned off by this, not to mention the fact that she has performed background checks on him.
What I love about this scene, and, this character, is the unfortunate reality that we cannot fall in love with a list, or, the idea of a person. But, I think we do the same things with God. Like Heigl, I have seen in my life and in the lives around me, that we fall in love with the object, but, not the subject, the person.
If I were to look up Justin Bieber on Wikipedia, I could find out where Justin was born, the albums he created, how he likes to hang out with his label mate Usher, but, that doesn’t mean that I know the Bieb’s. And, just because I read my Bible, listen to sermons, and, participate in Theological discussions, doesn’t mean that I know God. Christianity has very little to do with your belief structure. The idea of God, is beyond conception of man.
So, if I take the Truth, that God is love. If God is the infinite, and, is therefore, beyond comprehension, the God is love, but, God is also not love, because, God exists beyond our own understanding of love. God is only love, insofar, as we experience his love. Because, the comprehension of Love, cannot be understood intellectually, but, only experientally. For Truth, is only as True as far as it sets us free. This is the point of Salvation.
When we are fighting for doctrine, right belief, I must ask, what is the difference between, me and an atheist? We are both fighting over an idea. We are not engaged with the person of Jesus. We are not engaged with incarnational Word becoming Flesh. The need for correct doctrine and belief, becomes nothing more than intellectual and religious idolatry. When we participate in this need, God does not exist.
When we enter into relationship with Jesus, our beliefs become unified with this Truth. We become lovers of the Bible. We become lovers of Love. We become lovers of Peace. We become lovers of Justice. We become lovers of Grace.
Does God exist?
When I am able to submit myself to the mystery of myself, and, of God. I can slowly accept and appreciate the bigness of who God is. I am able to accept that God is greater than my own existence. God is transcendent, and, therefore “the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him. (2 Chr. 2:6). We are able to learn to submit to our own inner existence, because, of the indwelling of the holy spirit. We are able to accept that God is all, and, is in all (Col. 1:15).
This invites us into a new spiritual journey. One that allows to experience others in the Truth of who they are. A relational journey that allowed Mother Teresa to proclaim “The dying, the crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved — they are Jesus in disguise.” We also find a new love of what is around us. We begin to see the saturated creation described in Romans 1. A world that is remarkably beautiful. We enter the reality that Jurgen Moltmann spoke so vividly “When I love God I love the beauty of bodies, the rhythm of movements, the shining of eyes, the embraces, the feelings, the scents, the sounds of all this protean creation. When I love you, my God, I want to embrace it all, for I love you with all my senses in the creations of your love. In all the things that encounter me, you are waiting for me.” The spiritual journey allows us to go inside and fall in love with what is, even if it’s not lovable. We see that the parts that are not so lovable, are still loved by God. Richard Rohr paints the journey so well “The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what’s there: all of it.”
It’s only in this relationship that God exists. That we are allowed to open our lives to life. To understand that walking with God, gives us eyes to see and ears to hear. Minds to learn and hearts to mourn and embrace. In the world where we have to get God so figured out, that we put him in the box, and, escape the mystery, God doesn’t exist. We learn who is along the way, in the journey with him, just as we do with each other.