God in the belly

We had another God conversation yesterday. Me and my five-year-old uber-questioner (for our last see Jesus in a Spaceship).

“God is in here”, he said, patting his belly, on the way home from another indoctrination at school. “So I guess that means he’s like a ghost…but not so white…and smaller because otherwise you’d have a really big belly!”

“Yes,” I replied, “I think God is inside, but outside too. God is the life in everything, the energy in the Sun, in you, in the birds and flowers, God is everything magical and mysterious that we cannot see, God is in our breath…” but whilst I am grasping for definitions, he has already moved on. “What’s for supper, mum?”


God is on my mind at the moment. I go to sleep at night listing the qualities I understand as being God. I no longer hold with much of my Christian upbringing. But I do believe there is far more to us, to the world, than meets the eye. The life of the spirit and cultivating its growth are central to my life.

We had been visited by a very sweet Jehovah’s Witness monthly for years at our old house. I have debated the Bible with her and read her magazines. When we moved house I was relieved I would no longer have to have these uncomfortable conversations. Until she turned up on our doorstep three weeks after we moved in. Bother!

But this week I feel I may have disappointed her. She was showing me an article entitled  Who is God?
“I think this might be of use to you,” she said.
“Umm, I don’t think of God as being a person,” I said, “more of an energy force, a universal, underlying life force… ” I was scrabbling again.
Her face fell. “Oh! I didn’t realise. You don’t believe in God so? I thought… so I’m not really going to get very far with you, am I?
“No” I replied bashfully, “But I think you’re a really nice person!”
Oh dear. Another person worried for my immortal soul!

Another friendship is faltering because of our divergent beliefs in “God”, “religion” and general dogma. We don’t seem to be able to converse at all…nor steer clear of the topic.

And I know that every time I touch on the subject here I am terrified of scaring off my readers in droves, the religious amongst you, and the non-religious alike…

And so to you, yes YOU dear reader. You might have thought you were tip-toeing unnoticed over these pages, but the stats counter keeps rocketing up: I know you’re there. This week was annual delurking day when bloggers ask their valued readers to come forward and say hello, especially if you’ve never dared show yourself before! So take a moment and tell me, in the comments box below, who are you?… And if that’s too easy, then tell me: What does God mean to you? Where does God live? And how do you know this?

LIKED THIS? THEN YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY THESE POSTS…
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
COOKING WITH LOVE
PEACE BE WITH YOU
METTA MEDITATION OF LOVING KINDNESS

  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous02-16-2011

    I am one of those tip toe-ers :) Your right it is difficult when you don’t believe in “god” like others do. Seems we share a similar out look on it. My husbands family is very christian church going (more than once a week sometimes even) so they are forever telling my kids about “god” this has been hard when they ask me a question and I give a very different answer than there Papa did. I do try my best to not offend my husband or his family’s beliefs but it is very tricky! especially cus they think I will be going to hell when I die and my children purgatory cus they aren’t baptized by the church, but I digress.
    I enjoy reading your blog:)
    Liz

  2. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-16-2011

    Hello Liz, thanks for stopping by…and sharing yourself. Glad you’re here!

  3. Heather
    Heather02-16-2011

    My name is Heather. I’m a freelance writer from Ohio. I think I came across your blog through Twitter or Radical Homemakers, but I don’t really recall. The “voice” you write in struck me…seems you are parenting with honesty, and, frankly, that seems rare to me, especially around where I live. It’s refreshing, so , thanks!
    I write at http://semi-farmed.blogspot.com/ about homesteading, parenting, writing…and so on.
    God…that is a touchy subject, but I’ll try. To me, “God” is everywhere, a universal, creative life force that has no name, no body, and no limits. “God” is in everything so “God” lives everywhere: in the rays of sunshine coming through my window, in seedlings pushing through the snow, in the eyes of my friend’s two year old son and in my own nine year old daughter. “God” is light and darkness, life and death, everything and nothing. I know this because I believe I’ve seen it and experience a little bit of it each day.
    I think, since no one can truly understand “God”, we assign multiple and varied names and characteristics to something we cannot fathom in an attempt explain it and, perhaps, control it. Humanity does this often with things that are best left as mysteries. Maybe that’s just what they were meant to be.
    I was raised as a Christian, but am probably more Taoist/Buddhist in my beliefs now that I am older and free to experience the world a little more on my own. You are right in saying it is difficult, and sometimes a barrier in forming relationships, to be a non-christian, particularly when it comes to raising kids.

  4. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-16-2011

    Oh WOW Heather, WOW, that is really well put. Sounds like we have a lot in common!

    Keep it coming people, am loving putting names and faces and ideas to my readers. Hurray!

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous02-16-2011

    Religion never played a big part in my life growing up. Yes I was taken to Church on occasional Sundays, For Easter, For Christmas and baptism and weddings were the norm for us, but I was allowed to make my own choice.
    I must admit, it meant something to me. Walking into a Church gave me ‘a feeling’, Spiritual or Faith I could not say, but ‘The Bible’ I could not follow, to me I could not believe in it. But then we moved to Ireland. I remember sitting around a friends table and them saying to me you must embrace Religion in Ireland. It will have a part in your childs life. I questioned this. I did not want to take my child along the religious road when I doubted it myself. I disliked the ‘sin’ part of the faith. Why should my child feel every week they had sin? Why should they confess when those senior to them had abused their place? How can I teach my child when I did not believe in it myself? Questions upon questions that even I could not answer.
    But then my child went to school and problems surfaced because I did not agree? What should I do? I was frustrated at how much Religion played a part in my childs education in the normal school day. Was it not more important for them to learn to read and write? To learn arithmetic? History? Countries of the World?
    I am still pulled from pillar to post. To what I believe and to what Ireland can offer for my child.
    And because of that insecurity my usual name is not added to this blog. Why should I feel inferior because of my questioning of faith?

  6. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-16-2011

    Oh thank you Anon for your forthright honesty..give me one clue…do I know you personally? I am totally with you on all that you have said, being “non religious” in Ireland with a child in a national school is DEEPLY challenging. I always joke when I go down to the village shop on a Sunday morning and go past all the cars that I am the only heathen in the village (A la Little Britain), because it seems like it is only us out of the whole village who doesn’t go to Mass. Yet I do not think that that makes me a less spiritual, less caring, less attuned, less compassionate human being than them… but we are the odd ones out because we are not SEEN to conform. Not much good at conforming, me.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous02-16-2011

    Yes Lucy. You certainly do know me, but alas I am not brave enough to write my name.

  8. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-16-2011

    It’s alright I have got a short list in my head of who you might be 😉 And I certainly know who you are not!!

    Anon is a cool name tho, means you were responsible for a lot of great works of poetry!!!

  9. erin
    erin02-17-2011

    I visited for the first time tonight via mama-ohm…and what a post! Great in soo many ways, and has me thinking…of religion and family members (sisters) who seem to only want to approve of me if I come to ‘believing’ like they do. We weren’t raised with religion, but they found it as a “way to medicate” as adults. Conditional cr@p that feels so in-authentic and artificial. I know there is a something greater than myself, and that’s where I leave it most days. I know it beckons seeds forth, and shines love in the children’s eyes that I awaken to each morning, it brings rain, hail and thunder and all of life…is there more? I don’t know, and honestly am content not knowing, and enjoying my awareness of it in incremental steps…while holding my boys, out in the garden, holding a steaming freshly laid egg…

    Be well!!

    ~Erin

  10. Twyla Dill
    Twyla Dill02-17-2011

    God….. such a controversial subject. As an 18-year-old I haven’t had that many years to contemplate such things. I was raised with an absence of conventional religion; raised even to be skeptical of all organized religion. Over the past few years I have started to explore spirituality, divine femininity, and a host of other paths. Not settling or trying to pick and choose, but merely exploring, learning and growing as I find more meaning in life. I feel the life force, the energy and the otherworldly-ness (or whatever else you want to call it) every day in everything of beauty and pain alike. And I am perfectly happy leaving ‘it’ a mystery.

  11. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-17-2011

    Beautiful, ladies. Twyla I think you have me on your blog roll – thank you, Erin welcome I hope you come back and find yourself at home here. I LOOOOOVE Mama Om.

    Thank you for your insights (and for revealing yourselves!) Interesting that you say you are happy to leave it a mystery. I am constantly wanting to define it logically and linguistically. I guess it is my need to define and control, and a writer’s instinct. Which is a little ridiculous really seeing as no one has ever managed to explain God really,so that others can understand, because no one KNOWS definitively.

    No traditional believers speaking up (and one person has removed themselves from my FB page – ooops!)…you’re very welcome too. As are the atheists amongst you. Once we all speak from our own experience it’s all good.

  12. Patrick
    Patrick02-17-2011

    I was standing out looking at the stars recently and it suddenly occurred to me how small I felt relative to everything around and above me. I’ve often felt quite snobbish about religion but I was struck by how I could really understand it at that moment. Religion is where our human desire for knowledge, understanding and relevance meet the impenetrable scale and mystery of the universe. I’m sure that sounds like the bleedin’ obvious but it was great for me!

    Personally I find magic in the mystery, joy in the thought of what we will never (and don’t need to) understand and love for the divine instinct to pursue truth – scientific, spiritual, artistic or moral.

  13. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-17-2011

    That, ladies and gents is my dear husband… who I rarely discuss religion with “in the flesh”! Long live the old blogger medium. Thanks PT, an inspiration as always, and far more than meets the eye.
    x

  14. Carol
    Carol02-17-2011

    I have three children too – aged 11, 8 and 6. I get the questions. I find it hard to answer them. While I am looking for words a 6-year old can fit into their world-view, they are, yes, wondering what is for supper.

  15. mb
    mb02-18-2011

    i am so right there with you on this topic. i was also brought up in a deeply religious (christian) home, also am no longer religious, but i am deeply spiritual, in my own way. and i am also definitely grappling with how to interact with people in my “real” life, my blog life, all of it. it’s quite a topic. i don’t even think i could get at the tip of the iceberg on it here in a comment but i wanted to offer some solidarity. :)

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous02-18-2011

    Hey Lucy
    Weird! I’ve been having lots of god thinking too! In my lifetime so far I have been a catholic by upbringing, a born again Christian by choice, and a rejecter of faiths. Where I am right now is somewhere between Quaker and Buddhist but even those labels are just that -labels. I have a problem with people being condemned to hell for not believing in the ‘right’ god. Just been re-reading Siddartha by Herman Hesse which has been a wonderful experience and left me feeling utterly refreshed and satisfied in the searching-for-what-god-means department. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s words also seem to be speaking to me right now… Right now I’m thinking that god is a decision to do good over evil, it is a potentialilty in the heart of all. But that is a human perspective – we like to hang a human face and human morals in making an image of god we can identify with yet nature is magnificent even when no humans are in it. The world and the universe would and could carry on without us humans so we are certainly not at centre stage, even though we think we are. Alice Herz Sommer had some pretty amazing insights into the nature of the human heart, she was absolutely beautiful, in spite of what the Nazis did to her. Such grace and deep compassion. Better get back to my ‘ godly’ work of mothering my little growing ‘gods’ and they’re going to be grumpy if mummy doesn’t stop writing to lovely strangers and get them some brekkie! Hehe. Lots of love to all on this thread – paula in cambs :-)

  17. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-18-2011

    Thanks for those book/writer mentions Paula, will check them out. I know Krisnamurti, well not personally, but you know what I mean. Sounds like we’re on similarish paths. Thanks for checking in.

    Hi Carol and mb, thanks for joining in too, great to have you here.

  18. Donna
    Donna02-19-2011

    I grew up Catholic,then became Protestant ( Congregationalist) when I got older,but haven’t gone to church in over 7 years.
    I find more solace and peace just sitting in my yard,or walking the woods,surrounded by the vision of Nature and the sounds of Nature,than I do sitting in a church. I think of God as an energy,that is in everything around us,including ourselves. I think when we pray,we are actually looking inside ourselves for answers,strength,etc. I believe we are all equal,regardless of religious belief,color,or sexual orientation.I don’t believe in legislating morality,or anything else that forces one relgious view on everyone else.

  19. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet02-20-2011

    Hi Donna, welcome, sounds like we have a lot in common – thanks for stopping by.

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