What’s Your God Up to this Summer?
On Vacation or Holiday? Or Working Overtime to pay the planet’s stack of bills?
Is S/He lying on the beach somewhere, in World Cup Rio (tanning) or Gaza (bombed to bits)?
Is S/He out in a sunflower field in Eastern Ukraine (stunning us with beauty, or fallen from a jet)?
Maybe S/He is crouched low in fear riding a bus through an angry crowd of Faithriots (God, Guns, Flags and Country) or out among the crowd screaming for the “Illegal Children” to “Go Home!”?
Is the Lord of the Universe, as you understand Him/Her, frenzied with taking sides in unending conflicts?
Or maybe the Almighty is sad and depressed, thinking maybe it’s time to rescind the self-imposed order NOT to wipe out Humanity with a flood again? Nothing like another divine genocide to “make a point.”
So, God’s having a busy summer. . .
Here’s how Timothy Egan writes it ( “Faith-based Fanatics”, NYT)
But this year, the ancient struggle of My God versus Your God is at the root of dozens of atrocities, giving pause to the optimists among us (myself included) who believe that while the arc of enlightenment is long, it still bends toward the better.
[The rage between Israel and Hamas] has its roots in the spiritual superiority of extremists on both sides.
The clashes [between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar] prompted the Dalai Lama to make an urgent appeal to end the bloodshed. “Buddha preaches love and compassion,” he said.
And so do Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The problem is that people of faith often become fanatics of faith. Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.
In the United States, God is on the currency. By brilliant design, though, he is not mentioned in the Constitution. The founders were explicit: This country would never formally align God with one political party, or allow someone to use religion to ignore civil laws. At least that was the intent. In this summer of the violent God, five justices on the Supreme Court seem to feel otherwise.
Suggestion: Pay attention to the role of the irrational in the old, old “news” all over our screens. Listen, learn, THINK, FEEL and ask a lot of rational questions. Seek solutions to the fanaticism and fearfulness. At the same time, take some breaks. Be good to yourself. Read some good books, watch some comedy or thoughtful films. Take a walk. Get some fresh air. Try to focus on inspiring stories like the ones on “Making a Difference” (NBC), “On the Road with Steve Hartman” (CBS) or “Upworthy.” Do your own acts of kindness. Get out in Nature (probably the BEST move).
Whatever Your God or Someone Else’s God is doing this summer. . . take short, daily vacations, if only for a moment.
Good Knows, we need it. . .our world needs it.