Have you ever just traced a moment in your life back to the place where God started preparing you for that moment? I end up doing that a lot. Much of my journey toward God has been deliberate: I studied the theology and practices of world religions systematically as I felt my way toward a coherent idea of who God was to me in my life, so looking back I can trace God’s hand in my journey quite concretely.
So much of my spirituality is cerebral--before I can come close to something with my heart, I have to have a pretty firm grasp of it in my mind. Take, for example, the Trinity. This was a sticking point for me as a child. "God is three in one, three in one, three in one" (did you learn that song around Easter? It still plays through my head!)--it just didn't cut it for me. And the egg analogy... Well, I hated eggs as a kid and couldn't even get past how disgusting they were.
So I spent the better portion of last year (easily ten years after the Trinity began bothering me) dissecting the history of the theology of the Trinity* and now when I conceive of the Holy Spirit or God the Father/Mother or Christ the Redeemer, I can enter that mystery with my heart as well.
But the cross—the cross has always evaded me. I have a very distinct memory from when I was about 7 or 8 of just staring at the giant gold cross behind the pulpit of an otherwise austere sanctuary and just trying to figure out how I should feel about it. I stared with such intensity that before I was dismissed with the other children were dismissed for Sunday School, the pastor brought it up in front of the whole congregation. I don't remember what she said that day, but the feeling of confusion when faced with the cross has lingered. It seemed to be so important to other Christians—did I just not get it? What was I missing? All I felt while looking at a cross was a little bit of indifference mixed with a lot of shame, shame that I couldn’t grasp the emotional importance of that symbol.Read More