Nature is probably where I get most of my inspiration and revelation. I’m drawn to the water, in particular. Yes, as a metaphor but also as a real, powerful force. Some of my most profound times of meditation and devotion have been either on the beach or on the river. But because I am drawn to nature, I have to be careful to not make nature the object of my worship. This reminds me of a conversation I had with some fellow students in a seminary course I was taking on the difference between worshiping the Creator vs. worshipping created things. No matter how beautiful, powerful, majestic, and calming the water may be, it is not more beautiful, powerful, majestic, or calming then the One who created it. And that’s where I choose to ground myself. Nature reminds me of the power of the [big C] Creator. And how much of that power lives in me as a [small c] creator.
That said, there is absolutely danger in focusing on one trait of God at the expense of another. Particularly when that trait becomes the basis of teachings and whole doctrines. I grew up for a long time never experiencing God as parent, both mother or father, because that duality was never emphasized in my childhood church. God was Father and that was it. And yet, I desperately longed for something else, some other demonstration of God. I suspect having a fuller picture would have saved me many an internal battle regarding my worth. Emphasizing one trait creates a hierarchy that makes it impossible for us to see God as “all the things” as opposed to “the thing.” I want to know, am striving to know, the “all the things” God.
I also think there is another issue that comes up when we do this–maybe something that many of us don’t consider. As humans, we anthropomorphize everything. We see everything as a reflection of ourselves. It’s our nature and I don’t think it’s always bad thing. But it can be problematic when it takes a centering perspective that makes everything else less than. A side effect of only focusing on one trait of God at the expense of another is that we will be inclined to do the same with ourselves. We will wallow in the idea that we are “wretched and sinful” and miss that we are God’s “good” creation. Or vice versa.