(See videos at end of post)
My friend Mina is proudly neopagan. What’s a neopagan? Good question. It would be easier to say what a neopagan isn’t, since they represent more of a subculture than a specific set of beliefs. Mostly, though, they are not-christian…ians. Which was the key to Mina’s “conversion,” in the first place. It wasn’t about what she was for, it was about what she was against.
Mina was raised by legalistic parents for whom God was The Great Killjoy, his motto: “If it feels good, don’t do it!” What she fled to when she left that narrow (and unbiblical) set of beliefs was the extreme opposite, a sort of religious democracy in which everyone gets to define who or what they want God to be. Mina bristles at the slightest suggestion that God might not be customizable. Fact is, I’m not sure she actually even believes in God. But that’s not the point. The point is that she has a right to define him, her, or it the way she wants to. Dammit!
But what if there is a God?
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you have a body and a personality with likes, dislikes, abilities and passions. Now, there may be someone in, say, Indiana (or Indonesia) who believes you are “a walking slice of pumpkin bread”—and I would defend that person’s right to believe what they wish.
But that would not make it true.
When God first spoke to Moses, Moses asked, Who shall I say sent me? “I AM WHO I AM,” God replied, “tell them I AM sent you.” (Exodus 3:13-14) God’s point? “I am not who they say I am, I AM WHO I AM!” Dammit! (OK, I admit, I added that last word.)
The comedy sketch Hello, God? first performed by my old duo Mitch & Allen, addresses some common misconceptions about God, misconceptions based on speculation, rather than revelation. The point? If a person (divine or otherwise) does not choose to reveal themselves, we can never really know who they are.
In Hello, God? a young man attempts to reach God by telephone. Instead of contacting the God who is, he ends up dialing a series of misconceptions, i.e. God who isn’ts.
Dear Mina, I love you. And I pray that one day you’ll come to know the God who is, a God who, however uncustomizable, is infinitely more wonderful…
…than any God who isn’t!