Growing up our house was messy in many ways, but for the sake of streamlining this a bit, messiness by way of things everywhere and anywhere. As a result of this messiness, we didn’t have people come over except for a few barbeque’s and perhaps celebrating a birthday or graduation party; but even these events were few and far between. I ached and I yearned for having people over at my house, I love to cook and I love to cook for others, so to have without was an unfulfilled part of my life…until I moved out.
It hasn’t been dinner parties every week at my house, but it has been a semi-frequent event. Friends have come over, family has come over, a lot of diversity and I love every minute of it. And that’s why sometimes I dwell on the deeper truths that come from a center of “the kingdom of heaven is within you” and “the kingdom of heaven is near” and the truth I find time and time again is that the table is being set inclusively and so with my time and talents, I too choose to set an inclusive table.
My table is messy and dirty, who comes to visit and dine with me varies, but all are welcomed and none are sent home with an empty stomach. More is garnered in time spent at my table, everyone (as far as I know) have had a good time and want to come back. And there are even opportunities for others to go set their table for me, because we’re in this human condition together, there are symbiotic relationships all around us. So that’s my inclusive table, and when I think about God’s inclusive table I think this…
Too often, regardless of what religious group you’re a part of or if you’re just a spiritual person, it’s easy to find ways to delineate ourselves from others. Yet in a lot of different religions I find common ground and that comes from personally learning about different religions, but more often it comes from being in community with others; whether it’s sharing a meal or just getting coffee, people are people, and there is so much to learn.
Over the last few years my personal theology has gotten smaller and smaller. Not that I am saying I’m renouncing what I think and believe as to who Jesus is and what is attributed to him doing, but I admit that Christianity does not contain the entirety of God. God isn’t controlled by religions, God is much bigger than that if we allow God to be. Personally what I think my faith is at this time is finding ways to love God and love others and not being a jerk. Sometimes/often times I am a jerk, that I want to bring people to where I am at in life and in my own time frame and not their own. Sometimes/often times I make it more about me than Jesus, and yet I get brought back to a “get it together man!” mindset from the Holy Spirit; she’s pretty good at what she does…all I’ve got to do is sometimes/often times listen to her more and listen to me less.
Reducing in quantity my thoughts and ideas and perspectives that shaped my personal theology has increased my quality 1000% fold! Because I am able to step away from it all, not dejected, not frustrated, but humbled and willing to let God take over. It’s a “burden” of sorts, but I let God have it just as God should. It is about God, it is about us, and sometimes we need to figure out where that line is…but granted, God makes the line, we do not.
I think that when I have kids of my own I will provide them opportunities to learn from people from different walks of life, yes I will do my best to influence them from what I know as a follower of Christ, but to aid them in becoming well-rounded world citizens I aim to give them opportunities of going to mosques, synagogues, et al. places where people come together. I also realize that I will encourage my kids to ask difficult questions, and that sometimes questions don’t have answers. This latter part can be perplexing, because it is hard enough to grasp some answers that come from our questioning, but to be without answers period can be frustrating. I also realize that when I get to being a parent I want my kid’s faith to come from where they are at in life, and maybe for a while they will identify what I and their mother have shared with them, but I want them to make it their own- this of course comes with age and maturity, and in their own time frame and not mine.
I want them to partake in the joy and the freedom and contentment and grace and unconditional love that I have found! And that maybe, in which I am hopeful for, they themselves are able to “go and do likewise”. That they set their own tables, holistically, and embrace all because they themselves have been embraced by a creator who created them and loves them deeply and dearly.