Monday, July 25, 2005

Hitting the fan

Once I decided to opt out of being a Christian, the questions started coming in droves.

For instance, why do we pray? In times of tragedy everyone says that they’ll pray for you. But what’s the point? Is God listening? If God is listening, why doesn’t he answer? I’ve had people say to me that “sometimes God answers yes, and sometimes no, and sometimes wait”, and my response to that is that it’s a load of crap. If God (supposedly) answers no or wait, then he didn’t answer. Ignore my son’s autism for a moment. Let’s say that I ask him to take the garbage out on Wednesday night, because the trash collector comes Thursday morning. He takes it out Thursday night. Did he answer my request? No, he did not. It doesn’t matter that he did the job, the job needed to be done at a certain time and he didn’t do it. Same with praying to God. If someone is down on their luck and prays to God for a job, a request born not out of selfishness but out of necessity, and they do what needs to be done to seek a job, and said job doesn’t come for a year and a half, then God didn’t answer that prayer. Or at best you can say that the evidence is inconclusive.
How about prayers for healing? Why do we have to pray over and over again for someone to be healed of cancer, for instance? What’s the point? Doesn’t God hear you the first time? And suppose you pray and pray, and the person dies anyway? Your prayers are wasted. Already I can hear people saying “but the person did get healed…they aren’t in pain anymore…they received the ultimate healing…” blah blah blah. My answer is no, they did not get healed and God did not answer the prayer. To answer any other way is to dance around the issue. You’re playing semantics. God then becomes a divine Bill Clinton who dances around the obvious meaning of a word. If I pray for someone to be healed, my intention is obvious. I want them healed in this life. Any other twist on the statement is just making excuses for God.

And what is up with Christians, anyway? Why do they have to behave like such a** … err … “orifices”? Bunch of arrogant (illegitimate children) who think they’re always right and mock those they believe are wrong. Mercy? Grace? Forgive your enemies? Yeah, right.
And why does church suck so bad? If I want to attend a pep rally I’ll go back to high school. Church is as scripted and fake as any pro wrestling match. If I want to encounter the divine I have a better chance sitting at the ocean listening to the Indigo Girls, or grabbing some breakfast at Burger King and reading the Bible there.

The Bible. I’ve never stopped digging the Bible. But geez, can Christians make this thing say anything they want. Democrats are going to hell. Republicans are going to hell. Catholics… Baptists… Pentecostals… everyone has a spin on this book. “Oh, but we just go by what the Bible says, and not any man.” You know what? That’s crap. No one goes just by what the Bible says. Everyone goes by the Bible as filtered by their pastor or favorite media preacher. No one wants to be Biblical; everyone wants to be comfortable.

And what’s up with denominations? Why do people cut themselves off from the wide variety of ways in which people choose to worship God? And why do people insist that they aren’t a denomination when that is in fact what they are? Are all of these religious groups in fact that different?
What’s the point?

These are the kinds of questions I was finally allowing myself to ask. Once I permitted myself to step away from the cookie-cutter Christian responses I found myself lost in the wilderness with no way out. I wasn’t sure I could ever be a Christian again, and even if I did find my way back, things wouldn’t ever be the same.


Anonymous Jen said...

You know, I think we need to be careful with "reason" and reasoning when it comes to dealing with God. I'm not saying that one shouldn't use reason when discerning what they believe, but we have to walk in it knowing that we're veiled from so much of what God is and how He moves. You may pride yourself in drinking freely from the many denominations (read "expressions of God") out there. But there does not seem to be a respect for the hidden depths of who God is.

I'm sure you've heard this before in the past several years: Read Job. If you just snorted or swore at me or thought "That's trite" then you didn't get it. At least not deep down. Just because you and I know what's going between God and Satan in the book doesn't mean we've got a comprehensive picture into the mind of God now. It still just scratches the surface.

It has to been admitted, even though there have been many fine minds through the ages, none of them have ever come to a total consensus. You gotta think it might be by design, at least in our present state.

Reason can't be worshipped, it's too demanding of a master. Perhaps you're immobilized from loving and serving God because it all doesn't make sense. I think it's time to set aside the potsherd you've been scraping your boils with and simply choose to worship God. And I don't mean with the help of the Indigo Girls. Maybe you should go a capella.

Is God good? Yes. Are we good? When we're in Him. I find that I find God faster not when I reason my way to a Resolution To Take Action For The Improvement Of My Spiritual Life, but figure out where the fruit is. And go there.

And oddly enough, it's usually where I don't want to go. But once I get there, I can't imagine going anywhere else.

9:00 AM  

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