God has been starring in my life story quite a bit recently. To some, there’s no question that God is always the main attraction of their life. Honestly, for my own life, God seems to pop in and out like rainbows in between all kinds of weather. For all my years I was fed, and have since feasted, on large portions of what I’ll call God Soup.
I was birthed in a hospital and tended to mostly by Catholic nuns, as my mother’s primary doctor was on the golf course when she went into labor. I was christened in an Episcopal Church, as a sweet nod to my mother’s parents and our Protestant Irish heritage. My grandpa on my dad’s side was a loving Lutheran. Although, his wife, my grandma never joined him. Neither one of my parents shared a traditional church with me and my sister. Instead, nature and life experience were encouraged to allow us to form our own opinions at our own leisure.
As we were being raised in the Bible Belt, Christian religion and church-going occurred primarily socially for me. I attended a Lutheran pre-school and went to their church services with my best friend and neighbor. When I started spending the night with friends my God time was stretched between an assortment of churches: Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Episcopal. I enjoyed the medley of youth groups and their diversity of activities. We explored a range of exciting life potpourri like nature walks, camping, charity service, church pancake suppers, animal support, and choir. I confirmed myself in the Episcopal church and became strongly involved in their church services as an altar girl and most any activity the church offered. I even fell deeply into the Happening scene for a time during my teen years. Our family shared various Jewish holidays, such as Passover with my sister’s Godmother’s family. Every piece of religion gave me another perspective on God.
Transitioning across the country for college and post-college, I further widened my sense of religion and where I might find God, along with what soup combo may be delivered to me next. The Grateful Dead hippie community furnished me with God through peace, love, and happiness in all living things in life and nature’s every turn. The Buddhist’s taught me compassion, forgiveness and true love of all others, as well as connection with my inner God self. My overlap with the Vatican and Pope proclamations and especially Pope Francis encyclical Laudato si’ revolutionized my belief in the faith communities worldwide being able to work together alongside anyone. While the spirituality of the Self-Realization Fellowship community embracing all pillars of religious practice introduced me to meditation and sermon stories from all faiths, weaving a beautiful arc of the history of God’s presence throughout generations. Not to mention, I adore that if you take the first and last two letters of the Founder Paramahansa Yoginanda’s surname and put them together you get ‘Yoda’! And two of my best girlfriends (non-Jewish) married Jewish men and we celebrated Hanukkah’s and Passovers with our friends’ groups mishmashes with Christmas. To top it all off, my assemblage of ritual practices throws a thousand more layers of God spices into my soup. From many pagan, covens, yogic and tantric divinations, I effuse a love of Mother Earth, the positivity of the occult, and bodies as hallowed form.
Whatever your revival jam, I’m gonna bet it’s influenced by your upbringing and your inclinations. It’s pure human of us to lean towards what we’re taught and shudder the thoughts of the same depending our interactions within those experiences. Some of us aren’t raised with a choice. Some embrace the comforts of a fully God driven life. Others may have the freedom to consider all angles of religion, spirituality, and ritual to make up their own minds. Still, some shun a tie to any of it.
I’ve been ‘spiritual’ more than anything else for as long as I could intelligently (subjective, I KNOW) speak about whatever religions and ‘God stuff’ everyone would bring up in my sojourn. My God Soup leans into an added belief in moral myths of Greek Gods and Goddesses as very useful stories which I’ve made as pilgrimage in concentrated learning too. I anoint myself with grounding my being into calm, honoring another side of science with it’s basics in the sun, moon, stars, tides, and things I can ‘see’ or feel. God in any traditional sense isn’t my straight cup of tea, as I prefer the idea of God as the Universe with all its wacky science, explosions, manifestations, and mysteries to be my collective God connect.
As I’ve traveled the world my God Soup comes in handy and continues to take on a ferocious variety of flavors…
You can come to God in many different ways.
You can talk with God in many different ways.
You can be taught God in many different ways.
Prayer and devotion offer a translucency that reverberates in many cultures and looks different on many people. What I find most facilitating about the interfaith portability is the room for collaboration if we allow it to flower. My wise step mom reminded me the other day “When you plant your seed don’t plant it with fear”. I find our global cultures are so cosmopolitan, yet a tad frayed with ego in many instances. Frequently we expect followers of our points of view. Those who defer to another mindset are commonly fearful. This serves no one. I mean NO ONE. When you’re manipulating your matter benignly consider a more merciful stance. There is an elegance in being boisterous about your ability to envelop the God speak of others. I have a lifetime of learning and I should not leave anyone on my path out of their space to fill me with another seasoning for my God Soup.
A few fun takeaways from my thoughts during this storytelling:
- God is dog spelled backward and anyone who adores dogs knows they are endless love. So there.
- God is not one thing only. If you’ve never searched the Internet for “God” and taken a good few hours to trail that rabbit hole, I encourage a little time doing so. It might humble many, as it enrages others. To me, it’s a friendly reminder that God is or is not as much as we choose God to be. Hence the stock of the soup analogy.
- GOD has playfully taken on many forms for my momentary needs: Goodness On Demand, Grand Opportunity Denominator and some symbolic picks Great Out Doors and Good Orderly Direction.
- God may be a person, a man, or whatever you wish a God to be for you personally. That’s your God-given right — Define God or not, however, you like.
Revel in the reveal of opening to your own God Soup.