Spiritual Mathematical Knot

Spiritual Mathematical Knot

A conversation on Facebook helped me appreciate the ultimate spiritual mathematical knot – drawing closer to God. Baha'i RingstoneResponding to a Baha’i quote on the challenges inherent in searching for God a friend posted this tongue-in-cheek response “So. Pretty easy overall.” A mathematical formula to describe how easy it might be came to me in a flash. The difficulty we have in finding and drawing near to God equals our actual distance from God divided by how close we think we are. Let’s unpack this spiritual mathematical knot.

Thinking we have God in our back pocket creates a mathematical impossibility. You can’t divide by zero. This is the challenge facing those who, like I once did, think they are comparatively closer to God than others. 

A group I once belonged to was über-obedient. We kept many Torah Commandments, like the Sabbath, Holy days, and food laws. By having both the law and the testimony of Christ we believed we were closer to God than anyone else on earth. In some ways, maybe we were. We took God at His Word and organized every aspect of our life around obeying, following and worshiping Him.

impossible divideAnd yet belief in proximity to God kept us from drawing any closer. My personal battle with this is described in painful personal detail across the pages of the first two books of my Trilogy.  The People of the Sign describes my involvement with the Worldwide Church of God and its 1995 implosion. That devastating fail was underscored by many members blaming the other side instead of becoming introspective. Being a victim of divorce and kidnapping helped me understand the two sides. Detachment helped me realize I was nowhere near as close to God as I had thought, opening up the “valley of search” described by the Baha’i quote that led to this blog.

Spiritual Proximity Sensor 2

My personal search around the world is described in The Hardness of the Heart. How we view and treat our fellow man is directly related to how open our heart is to God. Self-sufficiency, judgmental attitudes and the belief that we already have enough of God in our lives creates an impassible divide between us and God.

There are many ways to conclude we are as close to God as possible, which becomes self-fulfilling. How close are you to God?Fear of turning to God due to feelings of guilt and inadequacy are but mirror images of this arrogance. They are also expressions of a focus on ourselves. These too are fetters of ego that create distance.

Yet anyone who thinks they are far away from God can easily draw nearer just by deciding to. Recognizing the distance allows us to instantly decrease it. Think of how Christ welcomed and embraced sinners, while condemning the Pharisees. Apparently such spiritual equations function more like quantum mechanics than classical physics.

How close are you to God?This makes searching for God  sound easier than it is, of course. But on the other hand, we usually make it harder than it is. And I think that was the point of my friend’s cheeky, and well-timed response to my Facebook post. Thank God for friends who help us untie spiritual mathematical knots. Or tie them, as the case may be.

Are you as close to God as you want to be? Or knot? John 13:35 says everyone can know who follows Christ by a simple test. Do you know what it is?
A Relentless Search For Truth

A Relentless Search For Truth

Dear Reader,  I’m hereby announcing a delay on the publication of the sequel to the namesake of this blog, The Hardness of the Heart.

The Hardness of the HeartWhat is taking me so long?

One reason is that it is painful work walking barefoot across the strewn rubble and glass created by the shattering of the WCG.  Yet this is needed in writing this volume, which I hope will appeal to anyone who views organized religion as generally hollow and corrupt.  Disagree with this assessment?  Give a listen to what retired episcipal Bishop, John Shelby Spong, has to say in this interview on youtube.

And as I slog through revision upon revision, seeking to create a book which will adequately address the specific theological questions of interest to some, while writing a story compelling enough to interest the hordes whose questions are less well defined, I have found myself repeatedly asking why?  Why do I torture myself in this way?  Why do I continue to put my thoughts and ideas forward, when skeptics and haters so frequently misunderstand, and even attack?

As one early reviewer put it, this author is on a relentless search for the truth.  I’ve found that the more I knock, the more I seek, and the more openly and publicly I raise the questions, the more clear and profound the answers become.  Even if others aren’t seeing things the way I am, or are not obtaining answers at the same time I am.

Layla and Majnu

Layla and Majnu

And what would a People of the Sign post be without a musical reference?  Have you ever wondered how Eric Clapton chose the name “Layla” for his signature song?  The name comes from the story of Layla and Majnun.  This enduring legend has inspired middle eastern poets and mystics throughout the ages.  It is the timeless story of a love so strong and so deep that it drives the lover to madness.  He loses all in a desperate search for the beloved.

For me this story took on a new significance when I realized that I, like Majnun, was searching in the dust for my beloved.  My beloved was God.  And the rubble of the WCG was the dust.  That and the long ago disintegrated manuscripts of what I considered the Word of God.

In a world full of error, lies and confusion, the search for truth can be like that.  And yet it’s not a search I’m willing to give up.  I hope you’ll join me in this madness.