I could not see God in me until I stopped thinking of God as He.

Buddhist DeitiesI was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian church in Texas. I was taught God is angry, vengeful and male. As a small child, God was scary and something to fear. But that did not make sense to my soul. So I decided to do my own research, because to me leaving limiting beliefs about the Divine unexamined is really limiting God.

Regardless of what other people wanted me to believe, it made sense if a supreme awareness initiated the events resulting in the creation of everything, then a part of that consciousness must reside in all human beings and in all that is alive.  This means, by design the original creative consciousness bestowed a spark of itself equally in both men and women. Judaism teaches every person (Jewish and non-Jewish) was created b’tzelem Elohim, which is Hebrew for “in God’s image.” For this reason, every person is equally important and has an infinite potential to do good in the world.

One indication a supreme consciousness was placed into male form by male authors and translators of the Christian Bible is found in the meaning of the word Jesus Christ used originally to address the Divine in the Lord’s Prayer. According to the monk Michael Green,

When Jesus lived he spoke Aramaic, an archaic language that frames matters of the Spirit more softly, and perhaps more appropriately, than the truncated Latin, German or English translations of the gospel that are now so much a part of our heritage. Biblical scholars inform us now that when the Son of Mary addressed the mystery of Godhead, the actual word Jesus used is ABWOOM, a term that has always been rendered for us as Our Father, but would be more properly understood as Our Mother-Father-All-in-All.

I hold a deep faith within my heart an infinite loving power exists. To me, it is one who gives birth to all, or our divine parent, or Radiance who shines through all that is. I believe it has no specific gender, race, or ethnicity. It does not exclusively endorse any one person, group of people, or particular set of religious beliefs.

These all-inclusive, positive, life-affirming values allow me to honor the divine spark of it equally in each human being regardless of gender, race, social status, position within society, or spiritual practice. Inclusive acceptance also fosters a deep appreciation for, and obligation to honor and protect, all animals and the natural world.

When we change our view to include the Divine in all life, we can see God in one another and in ourselves.  I believe accepting the Divine cannot be boxed into one form is the surrender necessary for ego to fall away and heart to take the lead. Only heart/soul, the home to our Divine spark, can foster an intimate relationship with the Divine, with ourselves and with all life.