You probably haven’t noticed this, but prophets are often outside the fold of the norm in scripture.
Whether its Elisha, Elijah or Jesus himself it is difficult for those who stand outside of religion and claim a relationship with God to fit.
This is, no doubt, because humans long for “normatives” we long for a checklist by which to live our lives, some way to say this is the right (and only) way to be in relationship with God and each other.
Of course if we were created to be that way we wouldn’t be the multi-faceted, every learning, gender-fluid beings we are. Our spirituality and sexuality would not exist in complex relationship to each other, and our experience of the world would be all the same.
Its amazing that Christianity has plateaued into a “normative” state for so long.
In Diana Butler Bass’s book she reclaims the ordinary-earth, water, fire and air. She claims them as ways to experience God in mystical and tactile & experiential ways.
Because these days, when people of all ages have been burned by institutions (whether they be courts or government, schools or churches, scouts or libraries) and are highly suspicious of institutional wisdom.
Experience, instead, informs.
Diana Butler Bass talks about our experiences in the following ways…”Adam and Eve are made from hums, placed in Go’ds garden, and directed to care for the soil from which they came….” Land “is the source, the material basis, of the food supply (no dirt, no food, no us); or it may be viewed through the eyes of spiritual awareness, as part of a divine ecosystem….disregarding the ground is sinful and evil” p. 43
Humans are made of dirt ”
And Diana Butler Bass puts poetic narrative to her experience, allowing life to be mystical and mysterious in its particularity and beautiful & beloved in its multiplicity and shared interactions.
She dignifies the spiritual awareness that so many has, with a well reasoned personal narrative, grounded in scripture touching on the ideas of God as home, neighborhood as a state of being and the hospitality of creating a commons to dwell in.
“Spirituality is about personal experience–the deep erealization that dirt is good, water is holy, the sky holds wonder; that we are part of a great web of life, our home is in God, and our moral life is entwined with that of our neighbor.”
None of that tells us a checklist to be healthy, wealthy and wise, “it is about tracing the threads of the interconnected universe.” 238
Diana Butler Bass explores the spiritual revolution as it is unfolding today. I highly recommend reading with an open mind, to understand God, and just how accessible Xi is.
Personally as a pastor, I love to learn about how people understand God to be in their lives, and to me church is/should be the place where we share our differences to enrich our own faith. I hope that mystics are heard especially when they are not understood and help us to change into whatever church is being born today….