When I am most deeply aware of myself and my surroundings, I am aware of the all-inclusive empowering of all-inclusive reality, aka, God.

People may be aware of this without calling this God. But this is how the earliest New Testament writer, St. Paul, thought of the God of Jesus Christ, along with his early followers. They identified this God as the all-inclusive reality, empowering everything that happens all-inclusively, radically embodying this all-inclusive empowering through the humanly all-inclusive life of Jesus Christ:

“For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6). “From God, through God, and in God are all things” (Romans 11:36). “God is above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6). “In God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “In Jesus Christ all the Fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things … whether on earth or in heaven” (Colossians 1:19-20).

This too is how I identify the God of Jesus Christ, and how I experience God. (However, I regard God as all-inclusively empowering, but not as all-controlling—a nuance that St. Paul and his earlier followers seem not to have considered.)

When I am open to this empowering (that’s faith), I experience it as grace and love.

When I am closed or resistant to it, I experience it as judgment.

When I sacramentally participate in the continuing story of Jesus’ overcoming death-dealing hatred through unquenchable and all-reconciling love, my opening to this empowering is renewed, deepened and strengthened.

Nothing I have learned about myself and my surroundings through the natural sciences threatens my opening to this all-inclusive empowering of all-inclusive reality.

Nothing I have learned about how the continuing story of Jesus may first have been told and retold threatens its power to renew, deepen and strengthen my opening to this empowering when I participate in this story.

When others call this opening unreasonable or downright stupid, I smile.

When others say that I have reinvented my concept of God to suit my 21st-century sensibilities, I point to St. Paul and his early followers, and smile again.