Are there shortcuts to God?

‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

In a rather breathtakingly brilliant paraphrase, Peterson offers this: “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”

Are there, in fact, short cuts to God? The many that are on offer may turn out to be detours after all. For example, there’s a slight ambiguity in Peterson’s last sentence: is the way to life the same as the way to God? What we call “life” may turn out to just mean self-fulfilment (which may just mean a self-centred desire for the Good Life).

The key is there in the phrase “narrow gate.” Think for a moment of a “narrow gaze.” That means focus. It requires complete attention. I like that better than the idea of narrow-mindedness. Perhaps that’s the difference between fundamentalism and worship. The first closes off other possibilities, whilst the second sees in all possibilities the One Thing. By looking carefully, as Blake did, “To see a World in a Grain of Sand/And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,/
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand /
And Eternity in an hour.”

That reminds me of Rachel Held Evans:  “So what did God say to me in the silence that morning? I’m not sure, but I think God said something like, Don’t try so hard, little child, and, Hey, check out this cool turtle I made.”

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