One of my all-time heroes is Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong. I get his newsletter every Wednesday and was amazed to see that, in his recent one, the position he takes about the existence of God parallels the stance that Whitley and I have decided we must take with regard to the reality of the visitors, a point of view that is reflected in Whitley’s new novel The Grays.

If you substitute the phrase “the visitors” for the word “God” in the following statement, you’ll see what I mean. Spong says, “If I meet God in the enhanced ability to love, God becomes for me the source of love. If I meet God in an increased ability to be all that I am, God becomes for me the ground of being. I can talk about my experience. Having only a human means of communication I cannot really talk about God. Horses can experience a human being entering their horse consciousness, but a horse could never tell another horse what it means to be human. Somehow human beings have never quite embraced that fact that this is also true about the human being’s knowledge of God. I do not know how God acts therefore I can never say how God acts. For me to say God is unable to intervene would be to say more than I know. For me to explain how God intervenes or why God does not intervene is to claim knowledge of God that is not mine. I test my experience daily in the light of evolving human language. The result of that is that every day I believe in God more deeply, while at the same time, every day I seem to have less and less beliefs about God. Human beings seem almost incapable of embracing mystery, especially ultimate mystery. I am content to walk daily with the mystery of God.”

I don’t think the visitors are any more of a manifestation of God than we are, but I don’t think they are any less either.

One thing the visitors seem to do is to hold up a mirror in front of us, showing us what we really are. They may not do this intentionally?it may be the shock of encountering them that brings on this state of realization. That’s one of the main tasks of all real spiritual paths, because we can’t see where we need to go until we see what we are, so in this way, they DO play a God-like role.

I’ve read literally hundreds of thousands of letters about people’s experiences with them, and I certainly don’t think they are evil in any way; in fact, the whole good or evil question is rather silly. A wise man once told me, “Pay careful attention to what someone accuses other people of doing, because that’s what he secretly wants to do.” We should clean up our own act and work to exorcise the evil that is all around us in the human world?and maybe in our own hearts? before we accuse the visitors (whatever they are) of being evil.

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