Maybe seven or eight years ago, after a long struggle with religion and faith, I finally decided it was okay to let go of the dogma and contradictions of religion and just allow myself to experience God. No rules, no constraints, no dogma. Just... God.
And I was... amazed.
I found that religion is kind of like a snow cone. You have your paper cone (let's say that's the religious text of your choosing, Bible, Koran, Torah, etc.), you have your flavored syrups (let's say that's your specific religious flavor, catholic, lutheran, baptist, hassidic, etc.). Then you have the shaved ice, without which a snow cone would just be a coneful of syrup. Let's say that this, the pure water, is God. The purest essence of love.
I found that outside of a cone, God was much bigger and vastly different. Continuing the metaphor, I found that God is not actually cone-shaped!! I discovered that my God has no real shape, no boundaries. And without that flavored syrup, God is actually much more refreshing for my body and soul. In fact, without the flavored syrup and constraints of the cone, I find that I can go sledding and skiing and make angels.
I also found that God can take many forms! God can be the ocean that keeps me afloat, the drink that nourishes, the ice that creates solid footing. God is really kinda amazing!!
The way I see it, the inventors of the multitude of religions (all human people with their own human agendas, btw, historic fact), created a container in which to stuff their specific bits of God, concocted a flavor they liked and suited their purposes, and soaked that pure essence of love in the thick syrup of religion.
Recent 'religious' controversies make me even more glad that I was able to let go and get to know God apart from the cone and the syrup. God is boundless, vast, and loving. The various small-minded hatreds that are slung around the news and interwebs in the name of religion are sad. That's not the God I know.
Men Of Marvel - *Note: This post is not appropriate for young children. And the older ones will be all, "Ooooohh! I'm gonna tell DADDY!!" so you might lock them out, too...
23 hours ago