One of my unique claims to fame is as a child I almost drowned in a Rock and Roll legend's pool. Chuck Berry is a very distant relative of mine. So distant I've never even met him. But I did get a chance to swim in his pool. I was supposed to stay on the shallow side because that's the place for those who cannot swim. The beach ball I was playing with just wouldn't allow it. The ball flies across the buoyed line that separated the shallow from the deep. I pursued and began to sink. Then the hand of my uncle pulled me to safety. Saving me from being a footnote in Chuck Berry's storied career. This experience reminds me as well of the safety of the shallow end of things.
The shallow end of religion is such a safe place. To remain in the four feet end of faith is so secure. It's there in the shallow end where so much certainty lies. You can always be sure of who's right and who's wrong. You can be certain who is in and who is out. In the shallow end of any faith is where you can be assured of whom you are justified to hate and can relegate to the margins. It is on the sallow end of faith where fundamentalism lives and you can always mold God into what you want instead of the other way around.
But there constantly remains a sacred voice calling us to the deeper places of faith. There is a resonant invitation to move beyond the buoyed line of demarcation. And those who answer this call and dive in discover there was always in the heart of God the desire for all to be one. It has always been God's intent to foster peace where there was human strife. It has always been God's plan to bring humanity and creation into harmony. It's always been God's goal to reconcile humanity with the Divine. We find this out only when we venture beyond the shallow end and find ourselves in the contemplative depth of faith. Where we meet a loving God who's been waiting for us and wanting to be with us in the Divine presence.
The longer we periodically spend time in the Divine presence the harder it is to hate those we were told to hate. The certainty of those who are right and those who are wrong seem to lessen giving us the ability to care for those on the margins. The deep end of faith expands our capacity to trust God. This is because on the deep end of faith there is messy compassion. Where you don't have all of the questions answered or all of the solutions found. Instead you just have a life immersed in the deepest part of the heart of God that only knows how to love. For better or for worse I'm diving in to the deepest part of faith and the deepest part of the heart of God. There's not much certainty there for sure and I hate that. But I have found I love people a little better from that place. And from this I don't want to be saved.