Tear Down the Walls!

Walls. We all run into them now and then. Perhaps we’ve even built one or two. Sometimes, when we’re running low on creative fuel, we might say we’ve “hit a brick wall.” If we're being forced into an uncomfortable situation, we might feel like we "have our backs against a wall." For protection, we hide behind walls, and when we see injustice in the world, we strive to tear them down. We face physical and psychological walls often throughout our lives.

As we journey with God on a spiritual path to a closer relationship with God we hit many, many walls. Others erect walls that block our spiritual journey for a variety of reasons: belief in God is passé; religion is just another corporation trying to control you; spiritual experiences are tricks of the mind. As seekers of relationship with God, we are bombarded with ideas designed to make us think twice about being a person of faith, a sojourner toward spiritual wholeness.

Jumping the hurdles of the outside world is only half the battle. A large part of any spiritual journey is clearing our internal selves of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). The FUD factor prevents us from doing a good many things—especially believing in a Universal Power. FUD is the most effective wall humans have ever built. It's used in our political campaigns, in ads trying to sell us medicines we don't need, and even in religions. Organized religion might, in fact, be the system that first created FUD. After all, for thousands of years many organized religions have told us that we are worthless and damned unless we follow the prescription to salvation only they possess.

It’s brilliant, really: create a disease and then claim to have the only cure. Naturally, this cure is locked away in a secret vault—a vault that they will only open when we do what they want, say what they want, believe what they want, or pay them enough money. Fortunately, the walls of that castle are being stormed by people like Richard Rohr, Bishop John Spong, Marcus Borg, Joan Chittister, Karen Armstrong and others, through whom God is showing a deeper truth: There are no walls between us and God. This was, beyond a doubt, Jesus’ message, too.

The only real wall blocking our spiritual path is simply fear of the unknown. When God taps us on the shoulder, our first instinct is to deny it. We either write the event off as a trick of our imaginations, or we think, “Why would God choose me for anything?” We think this, in spite of the fact that nearly every story in the Bible is about regular, ordinary people called to do extraordinary things by God. Samuel, Joshua, David, Rahab—they all had to overcome their FUD and begin trusting that God was working through them, that they were worthy. Even Jesus has moments of doubt. That should make us feel a little better when we do, too.

We’re all worthy of God’s love. While we’re working to tear down the social walls of injustice, bigotry, racism, economic warfare and hatred, the first wall we need to obliterate is the one that prevents us from feeling God’s love. It’s knowing we are loved that gives us the strength to fight the systemic evils of this world. The wall that prevents us from feeling that intense Universal Love? God’s already at work ripping it apart, one brick of fear, uncertainty, and doubt at a time.

Meditation: I am not afraid to be worthy.

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