Saturday, April 5, 2014

God is...A Surfer

As a theology teacher I hear a number of names, references and descriptors for G-d. The Divine, Ultimate truth, the Transcendent, Father, Abba, Yahweh, Holiest of Holies. I am fairly deliberate in my attempt to use non-gendered language when teaching and writing about G-d. Ever faithful and just, God is love. G-d is the Alpha and the Omega, the unmoved mover. the source of all being and apparently, a surfer.
Surfers will describe attributes of this wave with sheer joy.
When asked to identify a favorite passage of scripture for a recent project on Spiritual Identity, my student—an avid surfer, chose the second line of the creation story. He said "Genesis 1:2 states Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water." He paused and said "In short, God is a surfer."

He laughed and smiled; I don't think he was kidding.

I like thinking of G-d in this way—active in our world, delighting in our passions. As much as I enjoy golf, I can't see G-d on the links. I can however see G-d on the beach. G-d surfs, G-d swims and walks along the shore line. I know this because I have walked with God there. Footprints—one of my least favorite prayers, but beloved by many—affirms this truth. And I recently learned how many of my colleagues walk along Ocean Beach with G-d in the mornings.
Ocean Beach. San Francisco, CA
During a beach clean-up service project (with All One Ocean), one of the swim coaches told me that he walks there several mornings a week. In addition to collecting unbroken sand dollars for his garden, he collects his thoughts for the day. He told me how many of our colleagues he sees walking the same shore—prayerfully looking over the Pacific Ocean, in awe of G-d's creation.  

I love having surfers in class because they have such a strong sense of what the sport means and how it shapes their life. According to my student, to be a surfer means "one must be brave, obsessive, fair, respectful, at home with solitude and a good swimmer." It also means to be in touch with the Divine. They may call it "Mother Ocean." I know now she was created on the second day.

Stay stoked (the signature of choice by the former president of the SI surf club—love it).

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