156 God Is a Verb
The revelation that God is a verb, as laid out in the 14th chapter of “The Shack,” and evidently based on a quote by Buckminster Fuller, lends new meaning to the famous opening phrase of the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Incidentally, in the Spanish version, the phrase uses the term “Verbo,” as in “verb,” instead of the more modern word, “palabra,” (and I remember frowning on that years ago, because of its implication that God was a Verb, instead of a Noun).
But it makes sense in the light of the reference to God's old and Hebrew name (Jehova, Jahwe or Jah) meaning “I am,” ("I am that I am," or “I will be,” etc.). which in many languages is simply the verb of “being” in the first form or person… (i.e. "soy," Spanish for "I am," "sono," Italian...)
Naturally, as the book points out, we humans are more fascinated by nouns, and more specifically, things we chase after all our lives in our pursuit of (the nouns) happiness, money, fame… you name it.
Most of the 10 things the Ten Commandments forbid or tell us we shouldn't do, are things that we do in pursuit of those nouns (things) we think will make us happy: We steal, kill, lie, covet our neighbor's goods and wife and then make idols out of them and worship them, (by spending an infinitely greater amount of time on their pursuit than in our relationship with our Maker), instead of the One Who alone deserves to be worshiped, and since we hardly ever stop voluntarily in our perpetual pursuit of those nouns, God slapped the commandment to keep the Sabbath in there, to make sure that we'll give it a break at least one day per week…
It also lends all the more sense to why Jesus told His disciples, “I give you a new commandment: to love one another.” In other words, “If you keep that one, you won't need all the other “don'ts” anymore…
If you just do the right thing, the thing that God by nature does all the time (God is love - another Verb), then you'll be alright.
Perhaps He had to show us first how to do it by His own life, before we would ever understand it,
(hence first the 10 "don'ts"), and if there's one thing we can gather from Jesus' earthly life, it is the fact that it was most certainly not a life lived in pursuit of things (or nouns) at all.
All He did was do and say things that would evoke processes and actions (verbs) in our lives that would cause us to revolute, turn around and live and love and even die happily ever after, because the way He did and does all those things are simply divine.
(I just hope that none of the disciples of Richard Dawkins are going to find this blog entry, or I'll be swamped by insulting comments about the lack of sense I'm making as far as they're concerned…
But as some insignificant little songwriter once put it: “Love doesn't care what people say…”)
Maybe that's the reason why so many people who claim to be Christians or believers lack all the evidence of their discipleship in their sample: they don't do God. They lack the doing part of God. They may think they have God wrapped up in a neat little package like one of those Christmas presents under their trees, and the concept of God all figured out in the cube on top of their necks, and keep Him tightly locked up inside that big house they built for Him for 25.000.000 bucks, but the rest of the world still refuses to believe one word they're saying when they open their mouths and talk about God, because talking seems to be the only action and verb in their religion…
They don't do or practice the verb that God is.
They haven't even yet begun to love.
I - as a person whose principal and arch enemy is the sin of laziness - must admit that it isn't necessarily always easy to do God.
Likewise, our other human core weaknesses - our anger, pride, our tendencies to lie, our envy, avarice, fears, hedonistic streaks and desire for power - these all strive in us to stop us from doing the God-thing, the verb, the action that is God.
Our natural inclinations are to do the things that are good for ourselves, that give us big bellies, stuffed pockets, lots of zeroes behind the digits on our bank accounts, friends on MySpace or whatever, but the action of doing God and what God does is sort of alien to most of us, and it's almost as if we have to lose our own selfish lives first before we can find life the way Love intended…
Besides, doing God is so dreadfully unpopular in our world...
Anything else in our may be popular, except that one single activity.
Doing God comes across as corny, if not totally uncool our downright outrageous to most of our fellowmen who follow the examples of our Hollywood icons that we tend to shape our lives after, rather than the sad figure hanging on the cross in the building we visit on Sundays.
Well, perhaps that's precisely one of the points the author(s) of “The Shack” wanted to bring across, and what some of their publications refer to as thinking outside the box:
God is not something you can stick in a box and say, “It's MINE!” It's something you either do or… forget it!
God is the Action that's making everything happen, even if He may temporarily do most of it hidden from our view and from behind the scenes, letting us live under the impression that we're the ones doing everything - only until the curtain will be removed and it shall be revealed just how much the Great Director and His staff were actually involved of the making of this Big Picture…
Coincidentally, even the original meaning of the word “church” (ecclesia) is based on a verb. God is calling all of us out and away from our materialistic, greedy ways of thinking, to a new world, where His happy children dance around in a huge circle, calling out to anyone who will hear: “C'mon, let's do some God together!”