My Own Private God
About a week and a half ago I went to a Cocaine Anonymous meeting at Club 101 with Lubbock’s lawyer friend Chris. The meeting was a Big Book Meeting, which means that some portion of the Big Book is read aloud, and then participants comment on it. The Monday night meeting at Club 101 is a big one, and they time participants to limit their comments to five minutes or less, and still someone was able to say something for me that was profound. Or, more probably, someone was finally able to get a message through my thick skull.
She said that the God that she had troubles with, and, boy, did she ever have troubles with him, that that God didn’t have to be her higher power and that she could make up her own God in which to place her faith. Well, I don’t know so much how I feel about making up your own God, ‘cause that sounds like idolatry, but what I did take from that comment is that she said that she made an inventory of the qualities of the God that she believes in. Her higher power has a definable character. I suppose some more orthodox folks would say that’s what the Bible is for, but I think this is great. Write down a definition and a description of the God that you believe in.
My God is neither male nor female; or maybe God is both, but God, though I may use the pronoun he, is not a man. God is God. He created men and women in His image.
My God is love. He is kind. He doesn’t approve of wars made in His name. He doesn’t punish pagan cultures by sending them hurricanes. He doesn’t send earthquakes because women expose cleavage. He doesn’t send newborn infants to hell because they haven’t yet been baptized.
My God doesn’t have a political party. He is neither Republican nor Democrat. He doesn’t belong anymore exclusively to Communists or Socialists or Libertarians than he does to members of the Tea Party. God has no political affiliation, even though Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin would like you to think otherwise.
My God is absolutely involved in the smallest details of my life, to the extent that I let him in. God loves and cares personally and equally for all of his creation. “From a Distance,” was a big hit for Bette Midler, but it doesn’t describe my God. My God loves us Up Close & Personal.
My God thinks sex is great. He approves of it. It was His idea in the first place. He gives sex a big thumbs up. The thing he doesn’t approve of is when it’s used improperly, but when it’s used to convey affection and to indulge in pleasant recreation with someone for whom we have affinity and treat with respect, God thinks that’s a beautiful thing. The ideal circumstance for that to occur in would be in a marriage, but God doesn’t condemn a single person having sex. He condemns adultery.
My God gave us the gift of an earthly body to take care of us and for us to care for until we can join God in the afterlife. He wants us to take the best care of it that we possibly can. Drugs, whether legal or illegal, are not inherently evil. Alcohol and tobacco are not the handiwork of the devil. Drugs, of all kinds, from aspirin to caffeine and food to methadone, are only evil when we abuse them to achieve a mind-altered state. If you can’t use a drug in some kind of moderate and sane way, then it is best to abstain from that drug altogether. Of course, you can’t do that with food, but you can decide to give up the Ding Dongs and the McDonald’s at least.
My God gave us dominion over the land and the animals of this earth. Dominion does not equal the indiscriminate exploitation of our natural resources. It implies good stewardship.
My God thinks that it is important that we be kind to one another. Act in love always, and you will be doing what Jesus would do.
My God inspired men to write a book that could serve as a guide to know Him better. The Bible is the inspired word of God. It is infallible, but not every word is meant to be taken literally. Whether or not there was an actual Adam and Eve or if there was a Tower of Babel or a Noah’s Ark, it doesn’t diminish the truth of the story for me in the least.
My God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to good people. People and circumstances and sometimes bad choices cause bad things to happen to good people. God is good and just. We have to trust in God’s plan and have the wisdom to understand that is beyond our comprehension.
My God knows that there is evil in this world. There is a devil in each one of us. Human beings are sinful. We are filled with the capacity for equal parts of light and dark. It is how we choose to live our lives that will ultimately determine the fruit we bear that will show proof of our love for God. My God thinks the excuse, “The devil made me do it,” is lame.
My God is infinitely forgiving of the sincerely contrite. He will forgive well beyond a human being’s tolerance for forgiveness. But my God can see into the hearts of men and knows when that man’s heart is truly sorry and when it is not. My God forgives those who are truly sorry.