Saturday, April 2, 2011

I can't love God

Samir Selmanovic: It’s really all about God
My deadpan honest and brilliant New York City friend Norm once raised his hand during the worship service discussion time and blurted out, “I can’t love God.” What flashed through my mind is that Norm would rarely, if ever, say, “I love God.” It was just not something you could hear coming from him. He was one of those people who are usually absent from discussions of theology because they are impatient with words and are busy embodying them.

Every gathering has people who for some reason do not fit in the group because they are not up to par in some way. They look like they don’t have a clue, or taste, or a shower. Norm could always be found talking with these people, lavishing on them genuine curiosity and an open heart.

So when he said, “I can’t love God,” we all gave him space to explain himself, perhaps to confess that this whole God thing has been overrated. He continued, “I have so many people I am committed to love, but my time and resources are finite. If I add God to the list, I will only be able to give God a small part. But,” Norm paused to try to find the right words to explain his silly sacrilegious confession and then continued tentatively, as it asking for permission, “If I can love God through loving people and the world, then I can love God with all of my love.”

At that moment, I came to understand how sweet and real Norm’s love for God really was. Norm isn’t about God because God isn’t about God. Or alternatively, Norm is all about God because to be all about God is to be all about all of us.

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