Father. Father? Father!! *&$#@! Father! …father…

The Cry to God as ‘Father” in the New Testament is not a calm acknowledgment of a universal truth about God’s abstract fatherhood. It is the Child’s cry out of a nightmare. It is the cry of outrage, fear, shrinking away, when faced with the horror of the ‘world’; yet not simply or exclusively protest, but trust as well. ‘Abba Father’–all things are possible to Thee …

Rowan Williams

This is from my readings a couple days ago. I’ve read it before but for some reason it seemed to resonate a little more deeply on this particular day. One thing that education and life experience rob you of is your innocence…or maybe just your naivety. There was a time that I could get pretty emotional about the “Abba, Father” sermon. It was quite simple because I have a model “earthly father” to project upon my image of God. When taken to a divine degree, it made for a pretty impressive Father God. Then I went off to seminary to get my credentials…learn to minister, to preach, to vocationally do what I felt “called” to do. I’ve lived within this vocation for about 20 years in various forms. It has been an interesting and rewarding journey for the most part.

However, one thing I’ve realized over the last couple of years is how jaded I have become concerning religion. I’ve found that it fits well in the old adage, “Legislation and sausage are two things that are much better appreciated if you don’t have to watch them being made.” For me, religion can easily be added to that list. My understanding and experience of God is for the most part a vocational, religious and abstract exercise. It has been well outside my experience to actually engage “Father God” in the concrete ways alluded to by Rowan Williams.

The closest I have come to that was hearing my own cancer diagnosis almost a year ago and lying in my bed at night pleading to live to see my grand kids. However, as the urgency of that time fades away with each clear report from my doctor, I easily equate those emotional prayers with the trauma of that initial experience. Please hear me accurately. I am not trying to be overly dramatic, nor am I saying I’m an agnostic or atheist. I am merely saying, a tangible relational experience of God has ranged from difficult to non-existent in recent years.

I’m attempting to adopt some new practices into my spiritual life. I’ll see what happens. My rational self remains rather skeptical about the outcomes of these new routines. I’m sort of at the point that I want to say to myself, “Don’t just do something, STAND there!” I’m weary of DOING religious stuff. I would like to be in a living relationship. It would be cool for it to approach my relationship with my dad. Instead, it’s still an abstract exercise at best.

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