Religious exclusivism gives rise to a not-so-subtle form of polytheism. “Our God is better than your god.” No, you might say, it’s about which God is the real God. But don’t you see that the answer to that question must be none of them and all of them? The real God can never be adequately described or conveyed or captured by human language and tradition. The real God can never be simply equated to a particular culture’s version of God. Otherwise, we’d have to admit that God is a purely human creation. To be God, God must transcend all human custom and theology. Yes, some expressions more effectively reflect the Divine nature than others, but none of these expressions are comprehensive. Always more is needed, and no number of them will ever be enough. God must always be speaking, or God is as good as dead.
So… If we want to serve a graven image made to serve the purposes of a few, then let us vehemently declare that the outsiders are wrong, damned, mistaken, lost, and confused.
But if we want to serve God and free our own tradition’s expression to be all that it can be, let us humble ourselves, bowing before the Mystery, keeping our eyes open to the manifold ways in which God is always speaking, celebrating the diversity of all of God’s Creation, and welcoming the unity that naturally ensues when diversity is celebrated.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.