Years ago I read a wonderful book called, “Your God is Too Small” by J.B. Phillips. In it he wrote about how most of us struggle with God or faith because we keep making God too small-we make or imagine him kind of like us or maybe like a human being with super powers. But even if God was a human being with the powers of the whole Justice League of America-it’s still a human construct and hence, according to Phillips, too small.
I thought about that this week when I was meeting with some theology students and we were discussing some new ideas about God and evolution and how God may intersect with physics and God and Love may be the main construct of evolutionary direction…yeah, that kind of talk.
At one point I said, “But what about a personal God?” and I got THE look, and someone said, “Well, I used to believe in a personal God but then I studied…”The message was basically that believing in a personal God was kind of juvenile or “early” in spiritual formation.
I do pick up that slight judgment in other places as well. That look or word that suggests that those who (still) believe in a personal God have not matured in their spiritual development. There’s a kind of spiritual condescension, “Oh, I’m past the personal God thing. Now God is a cosmic force or a New Physics God…blah, blah.
So me, doing my daily-very personal-prayer starts to feel small-or worse-I feel unsophisticated in my faith.
But then after confessing to my very personal God that I feel small cause I’m not making Him/Her big enough, start to think, “Whoa, isn’t making (perceiving) God as a distant, cosmic, force of the universe just another way to make God too small?” (Yes, irony: in making God so big we make him small again.)
Can’t God be a galaxies-wide, loving, impersonal cosmic force and a personal shepherd at the same time? Why can’t God (we are talking GOD after all) be BIG and small at once?
I think that Hillary Clinton can be the president of the United States and Chelsea’s mother at the same time. So why can’t God be both (and more) simultaneously?
Think about this: If we really grasp the Trinity and if we swear that we believe in this three-in-one business, then why not a God who is all: all forms, all types, all sizes, all styles, all dimensions simultaneously? That’s a Higher Power worth having around.