Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life sucks and then you die

Nicki Elson frames a question: why are people scared of references to God and religion?

It's funny, in a sad way, that each person's answer to her question is a depersonalized one. They answered a clinical question clinically. What the question begs is "Why are you afraid of God?" Nobody answered that. They said: "Well, I don't know, but 'some people may' ..."


"Why am I afraid of God?" "Why am I afraid?" Why do I put down a book that dares to talk about God? I don't. I dare to dig deep down into me ... and that's my answer for you, Nicki. People fear God because it confronts themselves, very, very personally.

A confrontation very much like saying: I love you.

I love you.

Why are people afraid of saying that? Why are people afraid of what that means?

Because God and Love require everything I have and everything I am. And I know I don't measure up.

And you can sugar-coat that or depersonalize it, but God is God. "My life sucks. Why? DON'T ASK!" My life sucks because I suck and I hate God. And 'Good' King David (the 4th D?) life sucked when he turned from God. By putting God there, you pose the question noone wants to examine today.

So, I could do the same thing here. I could thumb my nose at the facile, unexamined responses, and thereby avoid giving a heartfelt response. After all, satirical criticism is hip. Or, I could ask myself that question. What disturbs me, irks me, makes me uncomfortable, about seeing God, well, anywhere?

And the disturbing, irking, fearful thing is this: if God is there, I have to be there. Am I there? Am I truly there? Or am I just trying to get by, unnoticed, and not cause trouble, and not get into any, either?

God is a challenge to which we have to respond. Job didn't question God. He couldn't. God questioned Job, and God questions us, and the only answer we can give ... is our very selves.

And the irksome, inconvenient thing is this: we don't measure up, and we know it.

So, the modern response is to ignore the question, and to ignore God. No God means no bothersome questions to ask, like: "Why am I here?" "Who made me?" "Why did God make me?" "Where is God?"

God is everywhere. God is here. God is in my heart.

Yes, even in my meek, weak, broken, unworthy, corrupted heart.

Ya remember the Baltimore Catechism and its very, very simple answers to very, very simple questions?

People don't want simplicity these days. They want full schedules, complicated lives, sound and fury.

Anything to blot out the silence and stillness.

Be still, and know that I am God.

But that requires I be still, and to know that I am me, and God made me, and loves me, just as I am, and wants the best for me, even though I don't. I just want to get by and read a smexy little romance novel so I can go to work, which I hate, so I can come home, and repeat that dull, pointless routine until I die, never having lived.

And not examine that the unexamined life is not worth living.

Examining a thing, me, and my life, reveals 'stuff.' And noticing stuff requires an action: either I do something about it (my 'stuff') or I intentionally ignore it.

So, if I don't examine it (my stuff), I don't have to become aware of that choice, and am choosing, every day, to ignore all of my stuff.

You put God in front of me, and, uh-oh, that all may just possibly come up. And then I have to deal with it all, including my very off-again relationship with God, and the shit that I know I am.

Then I have to ask the questions. "Why, God! WHY!"

And then, after I do that, God gets to ask the question: sheep, or goat? Or, specifically, "Did you feed me when I was hungry? ... Did you clothe me when I was naked? ... For whatever you did to the least brothers of mine, you did for me."

And I'm terrified I know the answer to that one already.

And you can be oblique as you'd like, and sugar-coat it, and indirectly reference it, or whatever, but you know, my dear, and your readers know, too, it all comes down to this: Why am I here, and what am I doing with my life?

God has a way of doing that ... cutting through all the bullshit, past the 'but I just wanted ...' ... to get what's really real.

People are so whacked today, that a dose of reality, even a little tiny gentle dose, ... might just be the wake-up call that they're terrified to answer.

They'd rather stay in the stupor of the nightmare that they're in: running, running, running so that it's all a blur, and being blurry, means nothing matters and it's not their fault they can't attend to you, me, or their own selves. Busy, busy, busy, always busy, but never completing anything. Running, but never arriving, just passing by, but not staying to visit and to be present.

The nightmare has it's comfort: it's all they know, it's all they can hold onto.

The wake-up call has no comfort. It only has you and God, face-to-Face. And what can He offer, but Faith, Hope, and Charity? And what do you get out of that, but Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the LORD ... you know, what everybody claims to want, but nobody has?

Not without God they don't.

But let's not talk about God. Religion starts wars and stuff. And it doesn't do everything that it does do, like feed and shelter and comfort the hungry or disenfranchised or poor. Government can do all that for us now. I mean, we've done a great job on our own without Him: Hitler and Stalin ring any bells, anyone?

Or were Blessed Mother Teresa and Blessed Pope John Paul II misguided fools who did nothing of consequence?

Like us, like all of us, like, personally, me ... without God.

Yeah, it's much safer with that God-stuff left to old fogey priests in Church on Sunday if I can make the time to make it this week, maybe. So busy these days.

Please don't mention it in your books. That God-stuff may make some people uncomfortable. So I hear. Oh, you mean me? Why are you making this personal? What's your problem, and don't you know that's not polite to ask me personal questions? Anyway, gotta get ready for work. 'Bye.



Do you mean: "Good bye"? Like "God be with ye"?

My confirmed name is Michael (מִיכָאֵל), after the archangel. The name comes from the Hebrew: "Who can question God?"

1 comment:

Nicki Elson said...

Hehe, this would've been a very looong comment! And I love it - I love that you let it all spew so brilliantly forth.

You so much nailed what's been rattling in me and bothering me but I couldn't pin it down. What rankled me recently, inspiring me to publicly ask the question, were reviews from readers who actually liked Three Daves but felt the need to either warn other readers to "get past" the Bible stuff, reassuring them that the story gets sufficiently naughty, OR as one reviewer (and a commenter on my post) did, to warn me to be more careful about including Biblical references in future writings. Yeah? Well guess what - NO! God talks to me most loudly when I'm writing and I'm certainly not going to ignore Him if He wants a mention in the story.

Anyhow, what you say about people not wanting to recognize God and thus be forced to recognize themselves is it exactly. And it makes me feel bad for people who are so sold on society's teachings that they can't admit they're weak and wretched and fallible - we ALL are. I wish everyone could know the joy that comes acknowledging this and resting in the Lord - who wants us so badly, even in all our ickiness.

It scares me very much that not only do people want to turn their backs on God, they act like I'm doing something wrong by wanting to follow Him. If we tie God up & keep Him only inside the walls of our churches, who do they think is going to take control of the rest of the world? Could it be...