The domesticated God

Image: Tobias Keller

Most organized religion is a mechanism invented by humans for one main purpose: obtaining some sense of control over this vastly uncertain experience we’ve found ourselves in.

Not only do we create and write the rules of God…
We enforce them.

We create a membership model out of the divine. Some groups do it through sacraments. Others do it through making their members check off certain doctrines.

However we do it, the point is we decide. We shorten the leash as much as we can get away with, choking as much out of the divine as we can to obtain control.

Man, if I can just do these 9 things, I’ll be taken care of after I die. Cool.

That’s bold, humans. Well-played. Makes perfect sense.

But I’m afraid it starves us of a truly spiritually enriching life.

Talk to anyone who’s had a real earth-shattering life-transforming experience of the divine and they’ll tell you they had no control over the matter. They’ll likely tell you they were enraptured in a loving presence so strong and so unexpected that all they could do was surrender to it. They might say that they had the epiphany, right then and there, that this magnificent Force called God was with them all along, all it took was one little iota of them giving up control — one little opening for the divine to enter — for it to totally sweep them off their feet and change their lives forevermore.

This Force may have pushed them to do something totally irrational — Forgive the unforgivable. Love the unlovable. Heal the unhealable. Stand in their power when moments before they believed they had none.

This is when they realized they’d been trying to domesticate something that could never be contained.

I have a question…

If we could truly domesticate God, who would then be God?

Funny how we’ve turned it around. We’ve obtained control, sure, but we’ve made a mess of one of the most valuable aspects of human existence — the awe and wonder of standing in the presence of the divine.

No wonder we’ve created such a secular and empty world where hardly anything seems sacred. Because sacred is beyond doctrine. It’s beyond our ego monkey minds, the thing we’ve put at the head of the altar.

Giving up control and opening ourselves to the divine deep within ourselves as well as in all people and things, regardless of circumstances, is the only way we’ll unleash this beautifully rapturous, undomesticatable living God.

Our true power lies in our ability to surrender to that which is greater than our small selves and live from a Higher, albeit more grounded, place.

Think it’s time to take the leash off and let it run free. See what it can do. Whattdya say?


Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people transform their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way. To subscribe via email to his updates and exclusive content, click here.