Yesterday, while doing my duties as Creative Director of Watchfire Music and reviewing new album submissions, I’ll have to admit I got a bit off course and unconnected with the pure idea of Inspirational music for a moment when I was reading the liner notes of a new submission.
The artist wrote, “May our God El Shaddai, who through divine providence gives them a compassionate heart…” and I got stopped on that and asked the Missus, “Is ‘El Shaddai’ from the Bible?” Her answer was, of course, “Yes” and I’m now somewhat embarrassed to say that inwardly I breathed a small sigh of relief and went on reading because now this guy was “OK”. He wasn’t some sort of a nut.
Inner bells went off, gongs gonged, sirens wailed and I stopped my reading again and thought about the trap I had just fallen into. “Who cares what he calls God?” I thought. The guy was from Nigeria. In the Yoruban language of Nigeria God, the Supreme Being is called Olodumare. In French He’s called Dieu. In German, Gott. In Russian, ???. And, of course, in Mandarin Chineese, ? (Shén).
It took us all a couple of decades to finally accept that God just might be a She and I’ve tried to teach my Sunday School class the concept of God being an It for a couple of decades as well – trying to get my boys as far away from an anthropomorphic God as possible.
But there I was for an instant falling into the age-old trap of human prejudice and, sadly, fear. Fear of another man’s beliefs being different from mine – the scourge of religions today, one of the primary reasons for war, and the worst result of human lopsided bias possible. Suddenly, reading about this wonderful man’s ministry and passionate mission for God’s work, I got scared that we just might be different.
It happened to me and I’m supposedly a freethinking, liberated, trans-denominational leader of an Inspirational music company! I’ve spent my life studying Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, etc. and yet I too fell into the trap.
I forgive myself this human foible because I do recognize the inevitability of prejudicial fear. I was married to an African-American woman for 18 years and dearly loved her family and friends and yet was often shocked to see the racial prejudice come up in each of us as we lived together. This misconceived world thought is a powerful error in the human experience and something that must be guarded against constantly. I often laugh inwardly when I hear someone say, “I’m not prejudiced.” We all can fall. In fact, even that inward laugh may be an act of prejudice.
My consolation is that at least yesterday I did stop and investigate my thought. Once I did I saw the trap and clamored my way out of it and repaired my thinking.
If you want to call God “doG spelled backwards” go right ahead. I’ll try to hang in there with ya’ and see through the semantics or language barriers and try to get your point of view. If I don’t get hung up on the words and their spellings, maybe I can learn something more from you about God.
I do know this: Whether you call it God or Yahweh or El Shaddai or Fido for that matter, the concept of this Supreme Being is bigger than all of us and no human word can contain the fullness thereof. There isn’t a word invented in this mortal language that satisfactorily explains it.
Having thought this whole thing through, I promise to be better next time. Perhaps I’ll catch myself a little quicker. Perhaps I’ll react a little less fearfully. Perhaps I’ll grow in grace from this and have no prejudiced reaction at all.
That would be a great step in my evolution.
Even More Inspiration
Tags: Communication, God, healing, Inspiration, Inspirational, Inspirational Music, Inspirational Music Artist, Inspirational Song, Personal Thoughts, Peter Link, religion, Spiritual, spirituality, Watchfire Music, Watchfire Music Artist