God or god? (part 1 of 2)

My daily starting, mid, and ending point: I am a Christian believer. I ascribe to a faith, a conviction about, a confidence in the existence of a God as revealed in the life and ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. As I read and reflect on Jesus’ story as recorded in the Bible’s gospel accounts, as I believe in Jesus, I behold in him the incarnation, the embodiment in space and time, the enfleshment in human life of divine love and justice, unconditional generosity and equality.

On most days, my faith holds together, makes sense to me and holds me together, allowing, encouraging me to act with love and justice toward all around me. (As human, I confess that I am limited by my perceptions and perspectives, my preferences and prejudices; how I view, understand, and respond to others and things. In this, my love and justice, even at my best, are provisional, falling short of the perfect impartiality of my God.)

By “on most days,” I mean that I can hold, sometimes in anguished tension, this world’s lights and shadows, joys and sorrows (or perhaps, truth to tell, I maintain this equilibrium largely less by conscious attention to life’s dichotomies and rather by focusing on whatever is before me, momentarily mindless of the ongoing cosmic clash between good and evil), so to remain upright and moving forward in seeking to do love and justice, in striving to be loving and just.

Then comes a day that disrupts, destroys my balance, painfully reminding me anew of life’s fragility and the friability of my equipose.

Sunday, June 12, was such a day in Orlando, Florida, and swiftly around the world. A person, driven by animus toward the LGBTQIA community and, perhaps as now speculated by some, psych-social/psycho-sexual maladjustments, and, doubtless, motivations unnamed and unknown, even to himself, murdered 49 people, wounding another 53.

There have been other days like this. Many. Too many.[1] More, it seems to me, as I age. Or maybe in my aging I am more aware of our inescapable mortality, thus more alert to the stages, especially when accelerated by vicious acts of human hands, along our inexorable human pilgrimage from birth to death.

In my grief, my hurt, my anger, my helplessness, I cry out, borrowing the psalmist’s words of eloquent despair:[2]

My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

Why are you so far from helping us, from the words of our groaning?

O my God, we cry by day, but you do not answer and by night, but find no rest.

My God, is it because you do not hear or care or because you are not there? Are you God (more or less), the creator and judger and reconciler of all – good and evil – things? Or are you god (more or less), a creature of human invention, a figment of human imagination?



[1] I am especially mindful of the approaching June 17 one-year anniversary of the murders of nine people at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC, by a person acting out of a virulent, violent racism.

[2] Psalm 22.1-2

4 thoughts on “God or god? (part 1 of 2)

  1. Dear one, my only consolation (for myself) is to remember that this life is not the end of the story. When I was near the end of my emotional strength last year I picked up, as an almost after thought, a book by Timothy Keller, “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.” It has changed my life…my outlook on things of this nature. I recommend it to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Paul, Thank you for your compassion. One thing that I feel some awe (and sometimes some terror) about, is how often God gives space for redemptive acts to come from….Other Human Beings.

    It’s the small, fragile African American boy at a protest hugging a policeman with tears streaming down his face. The powerful good unleashed throughout our socety by the actions of the people of Mother Emmanuel’s. The calling felt by Deitrich Bonhoeffer, long before he decided to return to Nazi Germany to his death, while he was in America discovering the faith of the people in Harlem….and then finding himself called, called, called to go into silica mines in this country where poor people worked, and found their lungs filled with silica, and died. It is a love and a call that can fill our mortal selves with terror….but its results flash through society with all the power of Heaven behind them.

    There is terror all over these situations….but there is an even more profound call of love that shows itself specifically by what it does in the face of the terror, or by what some in society do, unexpectedly, when moved with compassion and suddenly clear sight.

    Thank you for hurting for other people….. It is much needed. Please protect your own needs and cultivate divine abundance and relief where you can…but don’t fear another call, if you get it.

    I have read in an old devotional book that Paul (I believe it was the apostle Paul, but otherwise Peter), on his cross, was unspeakably happier than the rest of us.

    Sometimes that’s true. Those (strange) good days — the days when even our crucifixion doesn’t matter and can’t stop us.

    Please don’t give yourself any grief for this journey and for how much it hurts to see these things. To me, this is a sign that you are exactly where you need to be with that. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Olivia, sincerely I thank you. For me, there is ringing in and through your words, as John the evangelist might say, “grace upon grace.” There is a depth of spiritual perception in your words. AND, trusting this is how God works (speaking to me through the perspectives of others) you, in your examples of “redemptive acts (coming) from…Other Human Beings”) provides an insight for a path to follow for a sermon I’ve been contemplating. Again, I thank you for this and for your encouragement to me in my life’s walk and for your kindly counsel of self-care. Much love and peace


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