I suspect the question most are asking is not, “Why the Side Street God website?” but rather, “Who (or what) is the Side Street God?”
Not a easy question to answer, for the Side Street God appears in many guises. We can say though, the Side Street God is not a god of rules, absolutes, dogma and condemnation. Nor is the Side Street God a god melded to Madison Avenue and Wall Street. The Side Street God is not a ferocious, vindictive god, nor is the Side Street God a namby-pamby god wearing a blindfold to culture. These unfortunately are sort of gods we hear about in many of our contemporary churches. These are gods that uphold the status quo and offer nothing when push comes to shove. Is it any wonder that folk are turning to the side streets to find the Side Street God?
But who is the Side Street God? Well, for starters, the Side Street God is not a he, she, or it. The Side Street God is both the ultimate Father, Mother and Lover, simultaneously. Hints of the Side Street God are everywhere, yet they can be no more than hints. We after all are finite, and the Side Street God is infinite, however we might interpret that. Still, the Side Street is waiting to be met along the side streets of life. And that, my friend, is a conundrum: knowable, yet unknowable.
Dogmas have been devised to explain this conundrum, but the Side Street God eschews dogma in favor of LOVE.
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, nor does love boast. Love is not proud. Love is not rude. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. Love never fails.– I Corinthians 13:4-8
The Side Street God is LOVE. Not merely about love, although the Side Street God is about that for sure. The Side Street God IS fully Love. The Side Street God as LOVE excludes no one, no thing. That, you have to admit, is TRUE LOVE. This is LOVE without condemnation. It is a LOVE that eludes our ability to fully comprehend it. It is a LOVE that rejoices and mourns with us. It is a LOVE that feels our pain and sorrow, as well as delighting in our joy. And it is because of this LOVE that Side Street God allows us without interference (in our lives or in nature) to find our own way to the divine. Yet, the Side Street God provides within our very nature, sparks of Holy Wisdom to enable us to make our way through life.
To be clear here. The Side Street God is a Radical God. The God who turns all of our preconceived notions upside down. And in so doing, calls us to be everyday radicals too. The Prophet Micah puts it this way: “What does God desire? God desires that we live justly, demonstrate mercy, and walk humbly with God.” To “walk humbly with God” means that we exhibit humility in all things. It also means that we humbly submit that our so-called knowledge of God is finite and speculative. To admit that some – perhaps most — of our notions about God could very well be wrong.
When we speak of the Side Street God as being radical, it means that the Side Street God is a reconciling God. The Side Street God desires us be reconciled to our own holy nature. When we become reconciled with our holy nature we will seek to live as one reconciled (ref: Micah). That means working toward the reconciliation of all things, recognizing that all things – animate and inanimate – are holy and thus, sacramental, conveyors of Holy Grace.
Not only is the Side Street God a Radical God, the Side God is a Communitarian God. The very nature of the Side Street God is community and the Side Street God desires us to be in communion (community), not only with the Divine, but also with the divine within our very being. The Side Street God desires that we seek to live in communal harmony with everyone and everything.
To be honest, this sort of radical reconciliation is a process. And not only is it a process, it is a hard process. We are going to trip many times as we wander the Side Street, meeting with the Side Street God here and there.
Again, community. We need to walk the side streets in quest of the Side Street God in community. We need to find others of like mind to wander with. Merely, reading the posts here on the Side Street God Website is only a hint of community. And although it is not face-to-face community, a sort of community can be built though the Side Street God Website by sharing your stories, thoughts, and insights.
And that is the “Why” of the Side Street God website—to provide company and community as we wander along the side streets of life seeking the Side Street God.