“There is more than one way to skin a cat.” The phrase, according to Wikipedia, has mid-nineteenth century origins with several variations that involve doing away with cats. I confess up front to being a ‘dog person,’ but I am equally allergic to both and would rather not come too close to either. Today however, that phrase only gives me a place to start and a theme to begin with, as I share a feeling that I have had for a long time:
I have written different articles, in different places, with a different story in each, about the wonder I find in discovering God in such a variety of places and pathways. I have used a story about finding the road home as an analogy. I have used a story about discovering a new route to my dad’s office as an allegory. I have even borrowed a story which used the idea of one’s hometown as a metaphor for the religion we were born into. I have used the Warren Buffet idea that here in the United States each and every one of us is a lottery winner simply because we were born into this country. Had I, or you, been born someplace else; had I, or you, been born into a different culture, family, or even town; we would likely not have the same feelings about life that we do.
Religion is one of those key factors that shape our lives, but had we been born Muslim instead of Christian, we would be as devout, and we would consider ourselves as right about what we believe, as most of us do now. You see, I do not accept the idea that one religion is better than another or that God can be found only along one path.
In my sermon Sunday, I expressed the importance of being able to, at different stages in life, clearly express the faith we believe, particularly when we join a community of faith. I think it would be helpful if we all, from time to time, wrote a statement, expressed in poem, or painted a picture of who or what God is so that we better understand our own feelings and better live our faith.
After church I asked a bright little girl to draw a picture of God. The drawing, on a simple sheet of lined paper, shows a daytime scene with a sun, a couple of clouds, an apple tree, a person, a bird, a bush, and the ground . . . and every item is labeled – GOD.
We see the sacred in all that is, and throughout the ages different people have found ways to describe that in culturally specific ways. Does it really matter what path we are on, as long as we treat all that is with a sacred significance? We label ourselves by the name of the one who is the principal revelation of all that is sacred to us. Whether we follow the Buddha or Muhammad, whether we seek the Sacred through the Hebrew Scriptures, or include the New Testament and call it Christianity, does it matter so long as we seek peace and justice among all people?