I'm a talker. I talk with people on planes. I enjoy gatherings where conversation is at the center. I am comfortable conversing about pretty much anything including sex, money and politics. But, for most of my life, I haven't been very comfortable talking about God. Somewhere along the line I got the feeling that it's too personal and intimate a topic. And I noticed that most of the people I spend time with -- and they cross a wide range of ages and backgrounds -- are also uncomfortable with bringing God into the conversation.
Sure, it's fine when you're in church or synagogue. But in everyday life, not so much. Yes, you can talk in terms of spirituality, but actually referring to God seems somehow inappropriate.
So I have channeled my inner rebel and am now working at being comfortable about talking about God publicly. And I think it is making me a better person.
When you talk about God, you open up a part of yourself.
You invite connection, and sometimes, skepticism. You make yourself a bit vulnerable to people by making something we generally view as private, public. Essentially, in my view, you get more real. You go deeper into what makes us human.
When you talk about God, you move into a place of respect and love. For most people.
I believe talking about God has gotten very confused. Practitioners of extremist rhetoric -- no matter what the religion -- talk about God all the time. Their words and actions are grounded in the belief that there is only one way to have God in your life, and it's their way. Everyone else is wrong, and they will be punished in this life or the next.
My God doesn't see it that way. My God asks to be treated with respect and love and gives that respect and love right back to me. And my God asks me to treat others the same way.
When you talk about God, you live in your imagination and heart.
For a long time, I did not talk about God because I had too many questions that went unanswered. How could God let so many bad things happen in the world? Why was God punishing me by taking away people I love? Why was this bearded guy on a throne treating women so cruelly?
I could not get beyond my brain. I could not trust what I could not see. I could not use the power of imagination to unleash my heart and soul. I could not get answers because I was talking, not listening. It made me very sad.
So I turned to others to hear their stories. One of the people who moved me was Albert Einstein. I was so intrigued that a genius scientist could have such a clear and public relationship with God. Here is a link to some of his best quotes.
But this one is my favorite:
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
To talk about God is to exercise our unlimited ability to imagine. To go beyond the "slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." Just like we imagine air and gravity, we imagine God. The unseen becomes real and vital.
We call it faith.
Can you and I talk a bit about God, too? Discussion is open.