The Family Jesus Belongs To

The family that Jesus knows he belongs to and belongs to forever—and the family he wants everyone else to belong to—is the family of the lovers of God; it is this family that must spread all over the earth, and spread its warmth and charity and passionate concern for just conditions into every corner of human society if human life is to become divine. A simple-minded, unquestioned, or stubborn adherence to the family unit only blocks the creation of the real family of God. And in making—or implying—such a radical distinction between man-made families and the ultimate and universal God-created one—that of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the lovers of truth—Jesus is going against not only the conventional wisdom of Judaism and the Palestine of his time but against the inherited wisdom of almost every human religious tradition.

Song of the Builders

On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God—

a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside

this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope

it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.

The Quest

I have discovered that the religious quest is not about discovering ‘the truth’ or ‘the meaning of life’ but about living as intensely as possible here and now. The idea is not to latch on to some superhuman personality or to ‘get to heaven’ but to discover how to be fully human.

Surprise

Fortunately, God is not what we think God is—not in any small way what I might think, nor in any big way the sum total of what a whole bunch of thinkers, great thinkers through the centuries, might think. And yet we have no choice but to try to think what God is, what and who God might be. At some point God comes to meet such thoughts. God arrives and appears as Surprise…. And something new is grasped in the surprise; something is learned; experience—it could be called experience with God—is gained. But God remains infinitely free, infinitely out of our control in whatever we come to know.

On Not Seeking God

I may say that never at any moment in my life have I ‘sought for God.’ For this reason, which is probably too subjective, I do not like this expression and it strikes me as false. As soon as I reached adolescence, I saw the problem of God as a problem the data of which could not be obtained here below, and I decided that the only way of being sure not to reach a wrong solution, which seemed to me the greatest possible evil, was to leave it alone. So I left it alone. I neither affirmed nor denied anything. It seemed to me useless to solve the problem, for I thought that, being in this world, our business was to adopt the best attitude with regard to the problems of this world, and that such an attitude did not depend upon the solution of the problem of God.