Friday, December 2, 2016

Words of Faith: Juan-Jose's story about childlike faith in God

Material God
A Words of Faith story by Juan-Jose Garza, a.k.a. Zay Heron

As a writer of speculative fiction, my mind regularly travels to a domain of make believe (or what philosopher Alexius Meinong’s contemporaries called Meinong’s Jungle), my own self-created universe of discourse. Because I travel there so frequently, I question many times: Are the beings and worlds in my “jungle” and my own understanding of God one and the same? Or does some line of demarcation exists determining the difference? For that, my faith is not only questioned, but simultaneously, I believe, it finds new strength.

Since before I ever knew sight-words or number facts, God and my imagination existed to me. Ironically, as a child, I knew they both were not tangible entities. Down the middle of my mind, a single line grew. On one side, I understood what classifies as the material world (things I can see, touch, taste, smell, or hear) and on the other exists things that are of the immaterial (things that cannot be observed as such). Among the immaterial, I understood my own jungle to be pretend and God was very much real.

As the vertical wall split the material and immaterial world, simultaneously, a horizontal line segmented my immaterial side into two halves. I wondered, does there exist a horizontal line on my material side as well? I would answer, yes. There are fir trees and plastic ones, as there are living chickens and rubber ones. In the material world, determining what is real and fake is simple and unquestionable. So since there is no denial in the material, why are there questions about the immaterial?

So when my teen and early adult years came, I naturally found that I was physically capable to care for myself if I wanted to. Thus, like many around the world, I decided what from my childhood to peel away and rationalize why to keep others, and like many, I began to ponder do I keep God? Since God fell into the category of immaterial, then my horizontal line needed to dissolve and He be pretend like my jungle residents. Like the tooth fairy, He was supposed to be for kids, but I could not let Him go.

Thus, I found myself in a place where the question became how can God exist in my logical and rational adult mind? Did God practically bring anything of value to adulthood?

The narrative goes, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, yet the American religious tradition claims God is personal. How can this God, who manages solar flares, relate to me? Logically, that is impossible, as kings not personally know the price of milk or the taste of poverty. The hypothetical connection was impossible.

Then, I reread what Christians call the “Gospel in a nutshell,” John 3:16 (KJV): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

For this verse was not new to me, but at the reread, the repetitive story no longer became just data. It revealed that God became material, allowed himself to die, and did it all so I can have greater access than what my reason hindered me. But as I thought about this, I could not help but wonder that since God is not tangible any more how can I believe? To still believe in this God that I have never seen is irrational and belongs to the mind of children.

And in Matthew 18:3 (KJV), Jesus speaks to me: “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

For it was the mind of a child, upon which faith is fueled. The greater one uses their mind as children, the more their faith allows God to be real beyond reason, but in the life of the believer. It is the faith of a child that gives us access to more than what we currently conceive, and it is that faith that allows our fears to be conquered. Thus, I believe, our courage and faith is then strengthened.

Author bio: 
Juan-Jose Garza is a writer of speculative fiction. His penname is Zay Heron. He is a native of Washington, D.C.. He works as a learning coach at Gifted Academy, working with youth from the ages of 3 to 17. 

He is a graduate of Washington Adventist University. He is also a Christian and drummer. He and his wife live in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Connect with Juan by following him on Twitter,

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