March 21, 2012
What’s your lifeboat? Faith in many ways is a lifeboat, that thing which keeps us from sinking when everything else has failed. The problem many of us have is believing that ours is the only lifeboat. Because what we have is keeping us afloat, we think that no one else could stay afloat without being in our boat. Even the Titanic, as woefully prepared as it was for disaster had more than one lifeboat. I think God offers humans many lifeboats as well.
Christianity indeed has a terrible history of burning women as witches, putting Jews in concentration camps, and imprisoning people during the Inquisition. Christianity has no right to pretend to hold moral authority over other religions. Nor do denominations or personal belief systems have any absolute assurance that they are right to the exception of others. All that being the case, Christianity is still my lifeboat. My faith has value to me. I acknowledge that there are other lifeboats out there, and that they keep many people from drowning. However, if a drowning person swims by my boat, I will do everything in my power to help them to safety. Since the boat I have the most control over and familiarity with is mine, that is the boat they are going to be invited into, at least as long as my boat is helpful for them.
In my boat, I believe that God dwells in all of us. I believe that God created each of us with a hunger for union with God and with each other. I believe that there are many lifeboats and pieces of flotsam that can keep people safe in the short term, but because we were created for union, the smaller our boat the less useful it may prove to be over time. I need a faith I can stretch out in and feel my spirit growing, not cramping. I need enough other people in my boat that I feel community and not isolation. I need to feel that the people in my boat are willing to work together as a team and will never set me adrift alone.
What’s your lifeboat? If you are drowning, climb into mine. If yours has become too tight or too lonely, there is room in my boat. I believe that God created the boat I happen to be in big enough to accommodate all who come aboard. I also believe that God created many lifeboats that will one day all fit together into a beautiful wholeness, a completion of God’s creation so that ultimately we have absolute union with God and with each other, fulfilling that innate desire to be one.