Friday, November 15, 2013

The God of My Understanding

There is a phrase within A.A. that seems to trouble many within the Christian world, and I am not sure why it does other than the fact that there is not comprehension of what it means.  Throughout the literature there reference to a "God of your understanding," and from what I can tell, many within the church do not like the wording or the idea that it portrays.  I don't know why it is bad to have a God of my understanding.  Does it take away the power that He holds?  Does it change who He is?  I have to answer these with a no.

To have a perfect understanding of who He is seems to be an impossible feat.  To say that I understand completely  takes away the need for spiritual growth.  To say there is nothing more that I can learn of the nature of God seems to be very self-centered and self-serving.

I think of Paul who was killing in the name of God.  He had a God of his understanding and thought what he knew was right. He had the opportunity to learn and grow in his understanding of God, and he did change.   In his conversion to Christianity he had to change what he thought he knew of God and what He expected of His people.  His growth in understanding changed his view of how he needed to act and say things, but in it all God did not change who He was.  Paul was the one who changed.

If some one as influential as Paul could have a huge change in his understanding of the nature of God, why can't I?  A.A. does not say that our understanding of God is perfect nor complete, it is just a knowledge at a specific place and time of our spiritual journey.  it does not say that we must stay in the same place either.  In fact it is encouraged to have spiritual growth in understanding of God.

Being raised in a Christian home I was surrounded by God, but I cannot say that my understanding of Him was ever very clear.

To view God as a loving entity has been very difficult. The stories within the Old Testament, having the anger and destruction caused me to see Him as unloving and uninterested in people's day to day lives.  Or if He was interested in the daily lives it was to watch over us and to do something as way of punishment if there was failure to do what was expected and demanded.

Even the God of the New Testament bothered me.  The thing that people said was the greatest expression of loved seemed to be violent, mean, and unloving.  How could some one who said they were love purposefully send His own son to be murdered.  Yet, if God was willing to do something that bad to His own son, what would He be willing and capable of doing to me?  It was this fear that drove me to God initially, because I wanted to do all I could to make sure He would not do something to me.

As I aged and ventured out on my own, the fear changed to a movement away from Him.  I started rationalizing that if God was only waiting for the next mess up in order to punish me; why bother?  I knew I was going to mess up plenty, why did I need to torture myself with fear, worry, and anxiety of what God was going to do?

This was the God of my understanding for many years, and while this is not who I see Him as, at one point this was my God.  Throughout this time of my needing to grow and find better knowledge of Him, He did not change, my small mind must change in maturity of who God is.  If there was no growth in knowledge my understanding of Him would still be stuck at a view of an angry and violent God, which would not have the ability to do me any good.

So, my argument it this:

No one who is honestly searching to know god will let the understanding of Him stay the same as the first day they started the search.  This is the why I say, a person starting out in A.A. is going to have a personal way understanding God (as we all do) and it will grow and change as their spiritual journey matures them.  No Christian has the same understanding after a week, months, years of growing and learning about God.

So, let's stop taking away the support an addict needs simply for the fact that we do not like the way something is phrased.  Or, if we are going to take it away, let us make sure that we as the Church are going to be willing to be the support and knowledge that the addict needs to find recovery and then growth in God.

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