God is our Father—just think of it! Fortunately, when we do that, we are not thinking, just realizing, delighting, being.
Being a son or daughter. We understand the Father through relating in the ways that are appropriate to who he is. Our Father loves us all. We learn about God by learning to love his children as our family.
Father implies personal, implies loving, implies close—as the Qur’an says, “closer than your jugular vein.” Father implies that we are all his children. But children can grow up to be like the parent.
Personal implies relationship, expression, even beyond words in the communion of soul and spirit. But words are often the most natural way for us to express ourselves naturally to our friend.
God implies Creator, good, perfect, worthy of worship. In worship we meet him most directly and fully. His power is not to overwhelm or terrify us, but to uphold the eternal order that structures the evolutionary process of the ongoing creation.
Even if scientists should clone a viable human, the unique personality and the divine spirit that indwells it come from the Father, not from the materials of the living body.
When my son Ben turned three, he surprised me. When he was two, Hagiko and I expected him to manifest the emotional rebellion known as “the terrible twos.” But there was no such rebellion. I prided myself on our parenting. But at age three for a number of months we got the emotional resistance—strong and determined. And I would become angry. At one point I realized that I could have hurt this beloved child seriously. At a conference I attended a workshop where I shared my problem, and the leader of the workshop, Tony Finstad, gave me the teaching I needed. When I came home, I adopted a new approach. Whenever I would start to get angry at my boy, I would think of my Father and how understanding and merciful he was and is toward me. That thought, that opening, that returning to square one, was enough to restore me to a right mind. I did not know well enough what it means to be a father until I got to know God.
I wonder what the concept of a universal family, the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, could do for human families. And how divinely receptive families would reorganize this world.
This philosophy of living is for the family.
My evangelism is about family. My favorite technique these days at the moment is to ask persons, “What does it mean to you to be a daughter [or son] of God?” (If I ask someone who does not regard him- or herself as a son or daughter of God, I’m prepared to change the question: What would it mean to you to regard yourself as a daughter of God?
I’ve gotten some very interesting answers.
“To be living as a reflection of his presence and his love.”
“To be held in high esteem.”
“I’ll be in the best place eventually. I’m going to rise above.”
“It’s important that something bigger than me and bigger than anything I can imagine love me; and that mean’s all’s right with the world.”
“God looks after me in life’s hurdles. I pray for the strength to deal with them. I don’t pray for him to remove them.”
“Full of life.”
“I get to help people.”
“I wake up every day asking how I can make the people happier that I’m going to meet today, what I can do to make their lives better, whether it’s my wife, tennis partners, business associates . . . . I’ve been so blessed, and I love to share that.”
I’ve posted on the concept of personality as a gift of God.