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"God" in 400 words or less - by Bruce Sanguin
NOTE: Bruce Sanguin is a dear friend and colleague. He serves Canadian Memorial United Church of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he leads his congregation in a progressive form of Christianity in their mission of "exploring the Christian tradition through an evolutionary model." Rev. Sanguin meshes his evolutionary perspective with Integral Spirituality (following Ken Wilber) and with Spiral Dynamics (following Don Beck). His three books are: Summoning the Whirlwind: Unconventional Sermons for a Relevant Christian Faith (2006); Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos: An Ecological Christianity (2007) and; The Emerging Church: A Model for Change and a Map for Renewal (2008). He is the coauthor of a curriculum, "Experiencing Ecological Christianity" (2008). I recently interviewed Bruce for my Evolutionary Faith podcast series. It was excellent! Check it out here. He was asked by his denominational magazine, The Observer, to write up his understanding of God in 400 words or less. What follows is his response.
In the song Lord of the Starfields Bruce Cockburn’s prays to his God: “O Love that fires the sun, keep me burning”. After 13.7 billion years, the love that fired the universe into being is still firing through an evolutionary process infused by the radiance of the divine. There was a time when I imagined myself over here looking out upon the universe outside of me. Today, this objective relationship to the cosmos is supplemented by a more mystical appreciation of a uni-verse.
I am also the presence of the universe in human form – the conscious face of evolution. When I choose to live as a manifestation of this fire, I feel most alive. My big self is as large as a cosmos and still expanding. This I call my soul.
The two fundamental characteristics of God are creativity and love. These can be distinguished, but not separated. Each is folded into the other. Divine creativity is expressed primarily in, through, and as the evolutionary history of the universe. The evolving cosmos, including life on our planet, is the incarnation of God’s deep creative desire for love to find its fullest expression. The story of evolution, then, is itself a sacred text, revealing God’s heart and intention. This implies a non-coercive bias to the evolutionary trajectory of the cosmos – toward an increase in love.
My core spiritual practice as a Christian is to situate myself in the same stream of divine/cosmic yearning that animated and took flesh in Jesus of Nazareth- and to do so until I become one with this impulse. When I am in this yearning, this blessed unrest to be the incarnational presence of God’s love and creativity, I experience the joy of deep purpose.
This is Christian discipleship, then, to be a student of the process by which the divine yearning allures us to incarnate this desire in the affairs of our life. To be in this divine desire is to be anointed (christified) with the same vocational arousal that animated Jesus of Nazareth. It is to undergo a fundamental identity shift, through the realization that we are occasions of the divine creativity and love coursing through the cosmos imbued with the purpose of birthing the “new thing” God is doing. Anointed and called to be the new thing that is eternally springing forth from the heart of God, we proclaim and enact the Kin-dom of God.