Keep it Simple

God is here. All the life, and love, and healing, and abundance, and beauty there is, is right here. You and I have talked about this, read about this, thought about this many times. More importantly, we’ve felt it. In moments of inspiration and even desperation, we have all felt something give way and made a connection to real peace and power.

God is here. You can’t be separated from Spirit any more than you can stand apart from thermodynamics. We can quote the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:33, and many others). We can quote the New Testament (Luke 17:21, and many many others). I’m also a big fan of Tennyson:

Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet. Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

Then again, quoting anything misses the point. On a certain level, looking outside to find out about something that is fundamentally and profoundly inherent can get a little silly. Isn’t that the message of the Wizard of Oz and so many other stories?

There I go again, referencing. It’s a tough habit to break. The reason we tell the same story, the homecoming story, over and over again, across cultures and across time, is because it’s the one that’s written on our hearts. It’s our story.

It’s also the secret to happiness, fulfillment, and healing. If you want to get better, go home. You are a child of God. All the good in the universe is already where YOU are, just waiting for you to make that connection. You could have gone home all the time, Dorothy.

I think of all the most special moments, the most sacred experiences, the times when I was moved and inspired, the times when I looked true love in the face and knew it. I can’t think of a time when the experience would have been enhanced by adding complexity. Can you?

You can go to a chain coffee shop and have an engineered experience. You can walk past the shelves of expensive equipment and the focus-grouped murals, glance at the video screen playing footage of Juan Valdez and his noble steed. You can order from the trained cashier with the corporate-mandated apron and name tag. You will receive a perfectly mediocre cup of coffee. Not bad, exactly, but not good, either. And certainly nothing memorable or transformative. Too much of life is like this.

You know what I’m going to say here. There is a coffee place in your town where they remember your name and you remember theirs, even though nobody’s got a name tag. Maybe the menu has five items instead of thirty. The parking situation is sometimes tricky, and the chairs in the seating area don’t match. There are no bells, no whistles. But the coffee is so good that it’ll turn your day around. So good that you’ll tell your friends about it. It’s good because somebody cared. It’s good because it’s honest. And simple beats slick any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

Everybody’s been to a church that’s been engineered and focus-grouped and branded to within an inch of its life. The music is a non-threatening rendition of something familiar, the minister’s hair is appropriately interesting, and the sentiment is designed to validate rather than to challenge. We’ve sat through some perfectly mediocre lessons. Not bad, exactly, but not good, either. And certainly nothing memorable or transformative.

Bring your notebook to church. Write things down. Ask questions. Most importantly, ask these three:

  • What is the message here?
  • What do I do about it?
  • What next?

Let’s find answers that make sense to our minds and our hearts. We are here to bless and be blessed, to heal and be healed, to love and be loved. No more boring lattes.

There is something sweet, simple, and Spiritual happening right now. Finding it in your heart is not a matter of addition, it’s about subtraction. This is true about coffee, about church, about you.