Monday, October 02, 2006

Explain this to me

I can't really say I'm a big fan of organized religion anymore. I haven't been to church in a few years, pretty much since my wife left her job as church secretary and started saving the world one by one. But that's not to say I don't believe in God; I just don't think you need a middleman and I see too many churches getting built and too few hungry people being fed. I don't think God gives a rip whether I actually go to church; I think that's something blared by, oddly enough, churches. Go figure.

I don't need someone to help me talk to God. So pardon me for just a second while I hold a side conversation here.

God, what the hell are you doing?

I get the whole "mysterious ways" thing, which -- between you and me -- is code for "beats the heck out of me." I understand the concept of free will. I even understand the George Burns concept when he said in Oh, God!, "I don't worry about the little stuff, kid."

You know what I don't get? I don't get how some creep walks into a school -- and not just a school, God, an Amish school -- and lines young girls up against the blackboard and executes them.

I may be wrong, God, but that's not a "little thing." Where were you?

I watch NASCAR every now and again, God, and I see Jimmy Billy Bob hop out of his souped up car after winning and thanking you for winning the race, so I figure you had something to do with it. So why NASCAR and not little girls?

The fact I'm mad at you at all, it seems to me, ought to be enough to show I believe in you. If I didn't think you existed, I'd just be railing against some jag-off in Pennsylvania. Besides, I watched "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" last night and saw a bunch of volunteers build a house in 56 hours for a a woman with 6 kids in Michigan, who lost her husband last year... although -- now that I think of it -- what's the deal with taking a young man -- a firefighter no less -- on Christmas Eve?

I know you exist, because otherwise it's all just random acts of ... whatever. And coincidence isn't powerful enough to account for me and my wife, not to mention the two kids involved.

But, girls in an Amish school. What was that all about? To make a point? You used to make it with tablets and burning bushes, now it's guns in a school and little girls?

I've seen all the Albert Brooks movies, God, so I know that when I die -- and by the way, I'm staying out of Amish country for awhile -- I have to "defend my life."

But you know what? You've got some 'splaining to do too.

It's enough to make me want to go build someone a house, and stop watching NASCAR.


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be glib, but if we have the gift of free will we also have the consequences of it. A super hero god who swoops in to prevent wrongdoing robs us of the opportunity to do what he demands of us, namely, to do right, to love justice and to walk humbly with our God.

Bob Collins said...

Makes sense, 'cept that the consequences of free will were felt by 5 -- soon to be 6 -- little girls. Hardly seems fair.

And if I accept the premise of free will -- and I do -- then when someone survives a heart attack, or narrowly misses being hit by a car, God also has nothing to do with that?

If he does, then why is he in one spot, and not anothre.

Or is he just watching the whole operation just to see what happens?

Anonymous said...

It most certainly is not fair. But in a world with free will and unique individuals very little is. Some people are born with autism or HIV. What then can we say? That life is demonstrably unfair and we reject it and God who built a faulty world?

Instead I think it best to let him work in our lives so that we can become instruments of love, grace and justice. The Amish community that has just suffered such a terrible loss is doing exactly this. Their faith in a loving God is enabling them to forgive the unforgivable and reject justifiable hatred.

I don't know if I'm on point with that, but it does describe how I think God works.

Bob Collins said...

Yes, indeed, what the Amish have shown us has actually been quite amazing, and -- unfortunately -- quite missed in the midst of the Foley "scandal." I doubt, anyway, that the media stuck around long enough to do the "how they reacted" piece, especially since the Amish aren't going to talk into a camera or tape recorder.

Please keep in mind my questions are now one of accepting or rejecting. They are of understanding; and -- admittedly -- a longing for consistency.

When someone says "it's a miracle," we really can't take that literally, or -- as near as I can tell -- extrapolate the individual intervention of a loving God since to do so would also lead to the the "if/then" question. If X is a miracle, what is Y?

Millions of people, it seems to me, pray to God to accomplish or provide certain things. I think that's fine. So do I. But that would seem to suggest a belief that God is interested in these intercessions.

One of my favorite quotes is, "God answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is 'no.'"

But that still leads me to wondering why.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if things were consistent and comprehensible? It's a messy world we live in. I guess that's where faith comes in. And from faith the desire to do everything that we can to do God's will, which is good, while we're here.