On March 7, 2010 I stopped believing in God. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I’d been working on abandoning my faith in God for weeks and months and years before that. It’s just that on that particular morning it became abundantly, undeniably, irrevocably clear. The moment my wife’s life ended there was simply no room left in my world for God. More to the point, the whole idea of God stopped making sense to me.
But perhaps I should explain myself before the credentialing committee of my Church decides to revoke my ministerial standing. The “God” I no longer believe in is the one I grew up with (as did many other folks I know)–the one who can be quantified and defined, understood and comprehended, named and controlled, captured and kept in a box. All too often, at least in my case, to claim that I “believe in God” implies that I have some sort of comprehensive grasp of what I mean by the name “God.” And clearly I do not. How could I possibly make such a claim? What I have come to recognize is that God (by whatever name you might choose to express that reality) is ever so much more vast and incomprehensible than I will ever be able to even begin to imagine. And letting go of my tight-fisted grip on my tiny little “God” has been such a sweet relief. My horizons have expanded and my soul has room to breathe. I don’t have to “know” anything. I can now begin to experience what has always been true – that I am swimming in a vast ocean of Sacred presence – always have been – always will be – no matter what! This life I’m living, this world around me, the people with whom I share the planet, even my wife’s incomprehensible death, all of it is Holy, all of it is a part of the Sacred Source. It is Mystery with a capital “M.” None of us will ever be able to do more than scratch the surface in one tiny corner of understanding. But all of us, individually and collectively, can experience the fullness of it. We just have to let go of the notion that we are somehow in control, that we can somehow “make sense” of it.
I will continue to try to put the experience into words. That’s what I do. I suspect that is a part of what it means to be human. We are “meaning-making” creatures. But I will try very hard to be clear that whatever I say must be understood as a whisper of a hint of a fleeting and ephemeral glimpse of the great Mystery in which we all swim. And I will try very hard to always listen honestly, respectfully and expectantly to the stories of my fellow travellers on this journey, no matter how strange and foreign they might seem to me. We are all swimming in the same ocean and their perspective may help shine light on my experience. Will you join me on this wondrous adventure of letting go into the heart of Mystery?
By Roger Lynn
Roger Lynn has been an ordained Disciples of Christ pastor since 1981. He has served congregations in Arkansas, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Currently he is the Transitional Pastor at Country Homes Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. He has long been active in inter-faith dialogue and recently began participating in Dances of Universal Peace with a wonderful group of Sufi friends. In March of this year Roger’s world turned upside down when his wife died from complications related to Stage Four Breast Cancer. Since then he has sought to process his grief with openness, honesty and integrity. This has been possible because of a strong network of supportive family and friends.