My aunt Karen is in town for the Easter weekend, and I've had the joy of visiting with her about faith and the way God moves. She is, what I consider, a very traditional and conservative Southern pastor's wife. I am, what I consider, very contemporary and liberal.
The church body I belong to, New Life, is very forward-thinking and out-of-the-box with their practices. We attend service at the middle school auditorium because they've never heard God tell them to build a facility - nor have they found need for one. Our pastor, Sam, regularly disregards the notes he's planned for service and just wings it because he hears God telling him to go down another path that particular morning. It's too improvisational and unstructured for a lot of more traditional believers, but to me, it speaks as genuine.
Being able to dialogue with Karen about her beliefs has opened me to recognizing that New Life is not the only congregation in the world that is doing it right. In fact, there are many Southern Baptist congregations, far more legalistic than my comfort zone, that are also "doing it right." There are believers gathering in tents in Middle Eastern countries with no doctrine at all that are "doing it right."
Here's my breakthrough today: We have one universal God. And He hears from us equally. He is just as glorified by hymns as he is modern worship music. The fire and brimstone delivery of sermons speaks His word just as honestly as Sam's improv sessions. To be relevant and covered by all different cultures is just beyond my imagination.
I try to picture one man walking the earth that fits with all cultures, loves all people, and is relevant to each and every person in our civilization. I simply can't. God is too big to be placed in the "box" of human limitations. He is contemporary and traditional. He is conservative and He is liberal. He is compassionate and He is just. He is soft and He is stern. He is more than any of us are capable of being - and maybe that's the point.
Our God is an awesome God.