On the surface, I'd have to say we don't have a whole lot in common. We're different ages, with different interests, and different calls to serve... but her words paint such vivid pictures and speak directly to my battered soul in a way that makes me feel like I've found a true kindred spirit. I'm only 75 pages into the book and already I would give it my wholehearted recommendation.
Actually it's on pages 74 and 75 that she describes the place I am in my spiritual journey in words I can only sit back and covet. They are the words I wish were mine. They make that perfect of a description even though she's speaking from her perspective as a pastor. She says, "On my worst nights I lay in bed feeling like a single parent, unable to sleep because I knew I did not have enough love in me to go around. God was the boundless lover, but for many people God was the parent who had left. They still read about Him in the Bible and sang about Him in hymns. They still believed in His reality, which made it even harder to accept his apparent lack of interest in them. They waited for messages from Him that did not arrive. They prepared their hearts for meetings that never happened. They listened to other Christians speak as if God showed up every night for supper, leaving them to wonder what they had done wrong to make God go off and start another family.
"I suppose I could have helped them see how their life histories deepened their distress or given them some more grown-up ways of conceiving of God…"
What struck most in this passage was Ms. Taylor's suggestion that my conception of God as a missing parental figure is immature.
On the one hand I'm going to take that as a valid criticism and seek out examples of how a grown-up handles this relationship. Maybe my relationship with Him does need to change. Maybe the very way I view Him needs to shift.
On the other, I'm going to back pedal a little bit.
Of all the names that God is known by, the one He has specifically asked us to use in addressing him is 'Father.' Does that not designate ours as a Parent/child relationship? And as part of a Church culture that makes a big deal out of keeping the traditional family unit whole, does that not grant me the expectation of an engaged and involved Father?
Am I just being a petulant bratty child? Do I need to just grow up spiritually? How does one do that? Where can I look for realistic examples? Is my conception of God as my literal spiritual Father wrongly interpreted?