Saturday, July 16, 2005
Its not what, its who
Today I am packing to head off on holiday to Shetland. Those of you who have talked to be recently will wonder at another trip, only this one is my first real holiday since Christmas 2004 and so I believe I deserve it. Whilst on the train to Edinburgh I re-read the most recent Adrian Plass diary, “The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass on Tour”, and it emphasis the theme of today’s post. The meeting and experiencing of God through people. The idea that one can experience the Christian god, something that we cannot see but only ever feel is a crazy one. Scientists, atheists and even myself have all, over time, gone to great pains to show how god cannot be “shown” through people. Yet I have met some extraordinary people and so through meeting them I have realised that you really can experience God through people. The act of encountering is often not one that you have when you are with that person; it is what comes with the reflection afterwards. As I mull over the days events, with “The World Tonight” whispering in the background, I tend to ponder upon the influence that those I have come into contact with have had. Often it will be a simple smile, or indeed a laugh at the joke told at midday or whatever. Yet once in a while I cannot stop thinking about that person. This is not in lustful or romantic way, instead this on another level. This is where the way a person acts or what they say take on undue precedence in my life due to who they are and how they live. That is not to claim they are the second coming, instead that that particular person not only brings me something new, but also enhances my faith without even knowing it. This enhancement only happens with reflection as the joy of sharing my time with these people blots out any theological thought, bar any discussion in their company, yet I cannot stop thinking about what they have done that day. This experiencing of God, over seeing God is because from it I can not only gain but also feel closer to my God. I see God in many different people and things and am always amazed at the new sights, sounds and (well I am a student) smells that this planet holds. This viewing of the gifts of god is wonderful, but it is like watching a beautiful bird in the jungle on television. Once can appreciate the beauty whilst still only seeing it in an abstract reality created by the “goggle box” that you are watching. Whereas I experience God through people through the tales they tell to me and the experiences we share together enhance me more than in that moment. There are few people who do that, but I could write a list of people through whom I can defiantly experience God. It is wonderful, it is amazing and it has lead me to explore new thoughts and reflections that I wouldn’t have comprehended last week, let alone last year. That said, my struggle with meeting God through people is on a much more PC basis, rather than scientific or reality base. I struggle because my list comprises of 5 men and a singular woman. This is worrying because they are all white and reasonably middle class (though they would hate to admit it). Whilst I am a firm believer in god being a reflection of your culture, not an abstract culture to you, I do worry that my experiences of God are far too limited. Whilst over time I will meet others through whom I will experience, I can only hope that this is from a broader spectrum. Else the God I meet at the end of it all will be a Guardian reading, sandal wearing, muesli munching liberal…actually…. upon reflection…I quiet like the sound of that!