It’s hard to be truthful when telling our stories. It’s hard to understand what the truth of our story is. I live in a world of Christian thought, a world I’ve been wandering in since I was born. After reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, I spent some time trying very hard to imagine a world without God. It was simply the latest in a years-long line of experiments of mind in which I turn the diamond that is God-in-the-world over and over, looking at Him from every conceivable angle, trying to get one more inch of insight into this beyond-me mystery.

Last fall, it was God’s all-knowingness, the idea that He already knows. Everything. Every piece of every moment. Every thought, every decision, every nuance of wind that rumbles through the seen and unseen fabric of my life. Standing outside of time, with all of it in front of Him as it runs in all its wild forward-backward ways, as quantum physics is teaching us. This idea stopped me in my tracks for weeks, trying to imagine why God would bother with such a thing as this little world, wondering what in the world is in it for Him?

That was another thought that made me roll around in bed at night. What does God want? For Himself? He cannot have need of us. If He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and has been in the trinitarian community of love since before the beginning (whenever, whatever that was), what does He want out of this thing we call humanity, the earth, and the near-infinite universe (not to mention the possible parallel universes–again, see quantum physics)? What’s in it for Him? Why would He want us to give Him glory? Does He have some lack of glory? Does He not have enough?

And here’s another, and this one has been around a long time, but it didn’t strike me with force until sometime in the past six months. Blood? God needs blood to satisfy the legal debt caused by our sin? Mr. Diety, for those of you who’ve seen the very funny videos I reference here before, balks at Jesus’ question as to why God can’t just forgive humanity willy-nilly. But it’s a good question, seems to me. Why couldn’t God just forgive? Why the need for his Son to die? God needs blood?

And of course, I’m curious about all kinds of things. The fossil record, whether or not there were one or two guys bound in chains that Jesus threw demons out of at the cave, the implications of quantum stuff (which I don’t understand at all), not to mention the mysteries of love and forgiveness and the alleged transformation of the human heart.

And then, there’s the awe and beauty of every day. The news is full of death and horror. Everyone constantly blogging about the bad, the worse, and the evil. Warring and jawing about what’s good and what isn’t, what right and what isn’t, what freedom is, what it isn’t, what love is, what it isn’t. I’m irrelevant, I know, sitting here in my little office on Independence Day, blithering away about suns rising and winds blowing and frames of film that send me into orbit, barely able to breathe. It’s just that I’ve got this habit of rising early and working myself into a dither of thanks, even if I feel utterly atrocious and near-throwing up with the depression in my chest. I drag out the awe of the previous day, every piece of which I’ve been given as a gift, and I try to just say thanks. Thanks be to God–and I confess God is far more and different and wild and untouchable and nearer and crazier than I have in the past or ever will in the future grasp–for life.

Conclusion of my God-thoughts? Well, some of them are radical sounding in my ear, but in the end, we think what we think. I think He loves us. I don’t get that, but I’m working on it. And when I say He loves us, the word “love” there might as well be a foreign word we’ve never heard of, so unrelated is His love for us to what usually passes for love in our world. Every inch, every second, every piece of the space-time fabric, every slice of memory and future, even the final rest that will place us in His hand in an entirely new way, even in death…love.

I wonder about saying some of the radical thoughts out loud.   The chief of which is the meaning of the little phrase “for us” as in “Jesus gave his life for us.”

…more on “for us” coming….

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