Dear Pope Francis,
I’m reading this poem today at the closing liturgy of the 2013 Sophia Summer Institute. It has been a great few days hanging out with the likes of Barbara Holmes, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, David Abram, Paula D’Arcy and Thomas Moore. I’m truly inspired and spirit-filled.
It’s also an incredible honor to be reading at the closing liturgy, which is called Missa Gaia. Two years ago I attended my first Summer Institute and participated in that liturgy, and was awe-struck. And today I get to be a part of it. I’m truly blessed an incredibly honored.
Here is the poem I’ll be reading.
The God I Know
by Kevin Aschenbrenner
I wish I had a way to tell you about the God I know.
A God who watches the Super Bowl
Waving a foam finger
Rooting for everyone
And no one.
(OK, God secretly pulls for the lone, improbable buttercup bravely pushing its way up at mid-field,
and hopes the clashing gladiators above give that flower the space it deserves as an equal in creation.)
I wish I had words to describe the God I know.
A God who doesn’t vote,
or care about party affiliation,
and is neither liberal, nor conservative,
nor even centrist.
Because God created the best non-political system,
a great creatocracy
And God’s only slogan is:
Respect everything I created,
even what you don’t like,
or think has value,
or disagrees with you,
or disgusts you.
Take care of it all.
(In God’s eyes, pond scum is just as glorious as diamonds.)
I wish I had the chance to tell you about the God I know.
A God who geeks out over science
gapes at supernovae.
Has witnessed the unfolding of evolution — first-hand.
A God who delights in the antics of an atom,
and the leaping of a cricket.
This is a God of deep time and matter made of exploding stars,
A God waiting, breathless,
For what comes next.
I so wish you could know this God
when I see you write off the existence of the Divine
based on the inaccurate descriptions of others.
like a cosmic game of telephone,
get things muddled,
and are more about the human communicator
than a Divine Creator.
I don’t really blame you.
God has a lot of bad spokespeople,
working on their own agendas,
staying on their own message,
spinning words that serve themselves,
and rarely the Divine.
You’re right to say God doesn’t exist.
He doesn’t. That God.
The judgmental old man in the sky,
sitting above and apart,
deciding who suffers, who dies, and who thrives.
It’s OK to say that God doesn’t exist.
I don’t think he does either.
I just wish I could clear away the word cloud about that God,
the misinformation and miscommunication,
the really, really bad PR.
I’d take a fan and blow that fog of not-God words away.
Leaving not emptiness,
but the all-encompassing fullness of truth,
that can’t be compressed
into vowels and consonants
that just aren’t equipped to convey
the everything that is the really real.
But maybe, if we sat long enough
in that silence,
a contemplative dance
of word and truth
And we could talk about the Divine
maybe not completely,
but at least more accurately,
based on deep experience,
using better words,
formed in cooperation,
and mutual understanding.
And God would do
a slow soft-shoe
fist-bumping the sky,
in joy at our much-anticipated arrival.
Hope you have a blessed Sunday.