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January 12, 1999

God

During my sojourn in the country where I spend 98% of my time alone and the other 2% with the farm animals who live with me, I've had a lot of time to think.

God is someone I think about a lot.

I'm aware of all the great debates about the existence of God and God's essence. I also know about the Trinitarian debates and other philosophical debates. These are not what I think about here.

I think its a given that God exist. I also think it is a given that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, so I'm not sitting around worrying about that.

What I think about is God's action in the world. Now that I place that in front of me I realize I've been thinking about that a lot.

I had a wise spiritual director whom once told me something that I have often quoted and not forgotten. He said, "Most of the time that people talk about God they are talking about themselves."

When I first heard that as a person around 25 I rejected it. But with age I have come to see the truth of it more and more.

We regularly use God to justify our "bloody deeds" to steal a line from a pop song. We declare that "God" wants me to do this or that and of course ignore everything that we believed to be a revelation from God like the Bible and the Church. In some ways I think this is an American phenomenon. I can't imagine someone in Turkey saying that Allah wills him or her doing something that Allah condemns. I use Turkey in my example because it is the only place that I have lived overseas for more than a year.

The other thing I think a lot about is God answering prayers. I have no problem believing that God answers prayers since so many of mine have been answered in the most miraculous ways I would be an idiot to deny that. What bothers me I guess is the prayers that God doesn't answer.

There we encounter a mystery to great to comprehend. One that I guess just shows that God is way beyond my ability to comprehend and perhaps that is the genesis of all the God problems in our lives. Whenever we declare anything most assuredly to be God's action in our lives we are claiming to know the mind of God.

I have found that is nonsense. God's plans are way above us and our ego's ability to comprehend. Anytime we declare this to be God's plan it is merely another version of our ego's latest attempt to usurp God.

There is a great mystery to God's action in the world. I have reflected a lot on it and I would have to agree with my spiritual director that a lot of what we canonize as God's will is really are own and very often has us moving steadily away from God. One day we wake up like the Prodigal Son in a foreign land eating the feed of pigs and wonder who put us there.

Thankfully in my own situation I'm still feeding the pig and not sitting at her table just yet...

It is comforting to know that God is waiting for our return, in fact the party invitations have already been sent out. The question is will we continue to mire in the mud of our own making blessing it as God's will or get up and start rehearsing our lines as we journey back home?

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