“Well, I used to stand for something. Now I’m on my hands and knees, turning in my god for this one, and he signs his name with a Capital G.” ~Nine Inch Nails You know god, the guy in the sky who looks down over us and says stuff like “It’s good.” From the time … Continue reading Capital G
“But this time, Jesus, how can I be sure I would not lose my follow through between the altar and the door?” ~Casting Crowns There is a space between spirituality and religion. It is the space that I inhabit. Ask most people and they can tell you where they stand on religion. There are 4 … Continue reading The Space Between
“Yeah, I found God and he was absolutely just like me. He opened my mouth, looked down my throat, and told me I was thirsty.” -Ed Kowalczyk
I thought I knew who God was, back when I was little. My parents taught me to pray to this supreme being, this ruler of the universe. They taught me that God was always there for me, that He answered my prayers, even if sometimes the answer was no, or wait. And I couldn’t wrap my brain around someone who wasn’t able to be seen, who didn’t speak to me like my friends spoke to me, but they told me that He was my best friend, and that He was to be honored at all times, through my actions and through my words.
The first time I said a bad word I thought God was going to knock me dead right there on the spot. And when I snuck out to the movies with my sister against His teachings, I thought the world was going to come crashing down on my head, because not only did my parents teach me that God was there for me, but they told me that He was also firm.
Of course the Bible did nothing to dispel either one of these primary assertions, either. In the Old Testament the God I saw was unyielding, the firm God that was liable to strike me down for swearing or for sneaking out to the movies. While in the New Testament the God I saw was represented by his “son,” Jesus Christ, who was for the most part non-violent and spoke in a quiet but effective voice. Which one was the real God, the tough one who took no guff, or the one who was slow to anger and who believed in second chances? They were both supposed to be, but I could never reconcile it.
Interestingly enough, no one else could reconcile it for me either. And I asked everyone. What I did get from all the searching was that God is simply unfathomable, in both who He is and in why He does what He does. Simply put, that means don’t question Him or His motives because we will never know. I found it ironic, though, because God supposedly gave us free will, and a questioning nature, but when it comes to Him we aren’t ever going to know. And we should be alright with that. Apparently.
“I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn’t.” -Jules Renard
For a while I honestly didn’t know if God existed. I bought into the whole idea that people wouldn’t be dying in Ethiopia or Chicago if there was a God who truly cared about them, that women wouldn’t be raped, and that there would be no hardships in life. If there were a God, and if that God honestly loved everyone as the good book says, then why did bad things happen to good people? And it all came back to free will. Continue reading “God is Just Like Me”
There are some days when I strongly believe in a higher power causing the sun to rise in the East and set in the West, a being stronger than us who gives us free will but also pulls the strings when necessary, an iconoclast who by his very nature defies his own existence, who is revered by many but truly loved by few. Lip service, that’s what we usually pay to such a god, and we do it in prayer, sometimes down on our knees, sometimes standing up, sometimes over Skype with our grandmother who is in the home but we choose not to visit. And she believes in such a god who sits high and judges low because so did her grandmother who has been gone lo these many years, a woman who took religion as seriously as she did her shaving rituals.
Then there are days when I honestly don’t see how there can be a benevolent god in a world so full of misery and devastation, when good people die daily and bad people live to be a hundred. Then I stop myself because are there really good people and bad people? There are just people who do bad things, right? And sometimes those same people also do good things, but of course that’s when no one is paying attention. What kind of a god lets things happen, even in the name of free will, that could have been easily prevented? Some days I sit high up in my chair and judge low, feeling like maybe I’m that god I’ve been doubting all along, that maybe being made in his image means I’m upholding an image that is just that, an image, a mirage, a picture in my head that is shared by many who also doubt. Continue reading “Another Version of God”
You’d be surprised, but I spend an awful lot of time thinking about religion, about church, about spirituality, and about how each of these concepts can exist independently of one another. People often ask me why I don’t go to church, but the answer isn’t a simple one, even though the act of not going is simple. And I know what they’re thinking, that I must be a lost soul, that I’m one of those backsliders who grew up in the church but has now turned his back on it. They would be wrong on both accounts.
I’m not lost. In fact, for the first time in my life I think I finally have solid footing where it comes to God and my connection with him. It has been a long time coming, though, and I have gone through many wrong turns on the journey.
In college I worked at the Temple University library circulation desk, and I had a wide variety of students and non-students come in and ask me questions or tell me things they thought I needed to know. They were looking for the religion section (BS – no joke), or they were trying to find their computer password to log in (they really needed the reference desk), or they wanted to let someone know that a guy had built a book fort in the stacks. One time that stands out, however, was when two guys in gray suits with print ties came up to the desk to ask about my eternal soul. They gave me a pamphlet and invited me to go to their church on the following Sunday. At the time I had so many questions about my eternal soul that I think I became an easy target, and they could see it. Continue reading “Spiritual Detours”
I remember in college when I was working at the library’s circulation desk, and I would see hordes of other students come and go every single day. They would pass by the big black desk, or they would stop, and I would have small, incidental conversations with them about whatever book they were checking out, … Continue reading Spiritual But Not Religious