The Bliss Blog

I was listening to Marty Moss Coane’s interview on Radio Times on  NPR this morning with David Peters,  a former military chaplain who served in Iraq and returned with PTSD that he attempted to self medicate away with alcohol and  multiple relationships once he returned home to find that his marriage was dissolving. He had been raised in a Christian tradition and had believed that if he ‘followed the rules,’ he would be protected from all manner of harm. He penned a book called  Death Letter: God, Sex, and War, that highlights his experiences before, during and after the war.

He was highly influenced by existentialist theologian Paul Tillich who stated: “The courage to be is found in the God that appears when God disappears in the anxiety of doubt and fear.” Being a presence in war when the power is in the hands and weaponry of the invaders changes people and not always for the better. Peters was able to find his way through the dark and frightening maze of that turmoil and, I am guessing, views it as process, not a one and done event.

One of the things that resonated with me was his belief that God is not an entity, but rather, an experience. I was raised in Conservative Judaism that presented the Creator as a rather temperamental male figure that you better oughta not tick off. Certain prayers were read and chanted in synagogue and rituals performed both at home and at services to stay on His good side. God was about love, with a tinge of fear thrown in for good measure.

Over the years, my perception of Spirit has morphed into that of Peters and Tillich. I have shared that I view the God of my understanding as an energy and not an entity, and will refer to it as “God, Goddess, All That Is”. My perception alters as I, like most people, create God in my own image, not the other way around. I view it as life force energy that permeates everything. I do experience the Divine moment by moment and even in the midst of my own maze, I use it as a candle to light my way clear. My experience of God is not of a Being that makes things happen, like a team winning a certain annual sporting event, or prevents things from happening, such as trauma and tragedy. To me, God is the healing balm that gets me through the pain, whether it is physical or emotional.

I also have come to accept that we are all The Face of God.



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