So, here’s the thing. I have a problem with God. Well, not God, but what people try to tell me about Him. In all honesty, I’m not even sure, when I say “God”, what that even means. But for now, lets go with “God”=”Christian God”=”Dude with white beard”. Good? Okay. Now, back to my problem. I don’t believe that God has an active role in our world and I resent those that say he does.
At the time I started writing this I was dealing with a minor health issue. Nothing major, but something enough to awaken the sleeping worry inside. As I was thinking about what the future might hold, I caught myself falling back into my old “fundamentalist” views about God. I say caught myself, not because of a militaristic need to avoid God, but because I don’t subscribe to those fear based beliefs anymore. I honestly don’t believe the theology they are rooted in. So it was interesting to catch myself thinking along those lines and recognizing, “Hey wait a minute, I don’t believe this stuff.”
I have grappled with the idea that God is not actively present in our world for a while. This leads into the thoughts and prayers stuff you always see on TV or social media. While I do believe positive energy can be helpful, I’m not so sure that praying does much more than help center us. I have friends that were taken much too soon. I can attest to the fact that people were praying their little hearts out to no avail. Every time I see a St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital commercial I wonder where is God? If he were all about the children like Jesus said, why wouldn’t he just heal all of the kids? Since so many are afflicted, he must not be actively present…or he’s a dick. Wait. What did you say? Oh, “he works in mysterious ways.” Right. So, I’m supposed to support a God that likes to kill innocent children but lets politicians grab women by the pussy and be okay with that? What kind of God do you follow?
Now hold on. That’s gone a bit too far. Really? Has it? Lets look around for a minute shall we? How many times a night do you turn on the evening news just to sit back, shake your head, and say something like “What is happening to this world? Things have never been this bad.” Let me guess, like, every night right? Well, if you believe God is here in this world, where the heck is he? Why is he letting it get so bad? Why is he letting children starve to death, veterans kill themselves from the trauma of war, and Kenneth Copeland fly around in a million dollar jet promising salvation if you will only donate to his church? Oh right! We have free will! That must be it. He doesn’t want to step on our toes. Well how about this then. If you believe God healed you of something, that means he actively refused to heal that small child of cancer. Think about that for a while. And don’t give me the “he has a plan” line either. I’m pretty sure you didn’t deserve it more or play any bigger role in society than that child would have.
Was that too harsh? Are you angry yet? Well you should be! But not with me. And, here comes the plot twist, not with God either. You know who you should be angry with? Yourself and any other Christian you know. Do you know why? Because God is present in this world. No, not directly himself, but indirectly. Remember in the Bible how it talks about being the hands and feet of the Lord? Well, that is exactly what we have here. I’ve struggled so much with how it’s possible for God to turn his back on people pleading for mercy. How can a God of boundless love (unending joy-love this song, my mom used to sing it in church with her friend) ignore the cries of his people, his children? Then it hit me. He isn’t. He sent us each other. God isn’t ignoring us, we are ignoring one another. That child died of cancer that we can actively research to cure. But do we focus on it? Not as much as we could. Those kids starving in Africa, how much food do we toss away at dinner? Refugees fleeing their countries ravaged by famine and wars, how much fossil fuel do we burn everyday driving to Walmart to buy the cheapest clothes imported from sweatshops so we can save a buck? We are feeding into all of the hurt and pain in the world. When is the last time you smiled at a stranger? When is the last time you said hi? Do you wave at people in your neighborhood? Do you even know your neighbors? It’s really hard to spread the love of Christ when you won’t even take the time to smile at the woman in line with you at Walmart.
If you are quick to denounce someone going to Planned Parenthood, or if you think the group of refugees stuck in a concentration camp on the southern border should just go back home, maybe you need to take a step back and think about that. What is wrong with the world today? The answer might be you and me. There is a saying that we get back what we put in. Analyze what you are putting into the world everyday. No, you don’t need to buy a hybrid, adopt a refugee family, move off the grid, give all your money to cancer research, stop bathing to save water, and what ever else you think will make a positive impact all at once. Let’s be honest, making a drastic change is not sustainable for most folks. Its hard and people won’t stick with doing hard things if they can find an easier way. Besides, you can’t fix the world all by yourself. Believe me, if you could, someone would have already done it. All I’m saying is, challenge the dogma of “God is in control.” Since the world is the problem, and we are all in this world together, that makes us all part of the problem. And, since we have that whole free will thing, that means we actually can choose to make a difference. You don’t have to make a revolutionary change, just take a step back and recognize your role. Don’t condemn people in different situations than your own. Try to understand instead. By the way, we are all human, and that basically means sometimes we are gonna suck. Even Jesus questioned God. You can’t fix everything, but I bet you can find areas that you are uniquely suited to address. The key is to find something that is meaningful to you. Then go tell people about it. Not everyone will care, but a few will and they will tell people and so on and so forth. Pretty soon you have a group of people that can make a bigger impact. And if you aren’t into creating a group, there are already numerous organizations out there to join. Volunteer once a month for a place you believe in. Do some research on it, make sure it is legit and then go for it!
If you believe God put us here, if you believe God made us all in his image, then lets start acting like it. If you believe God made this world, then let’s treat it like it. Don’t offer thoughts and prayers and tell yourself you are a good Christian. Offer thoughts and prayers and deeds. Actions speak louder than words. Go out and act. Walk the walk. After all what did Jesus do? Are you sure you want to be a follower of Christ? Then you better catch up, he is waiting for you.