Thursday, January 12, 2012

God Gets a Bum Rap

In this week's Parade magazine, Daniel Radcliffe sounded off on God. "I have a problem with religion or anything that says, 'We have all the answers,' because there’s no such thing as 'the answers.' We’re complex. We change our minds on issues all the time. Religion leaves no room for human complexity."

If sounding off on God is good enough for the guy who played Harry Potter, then I figure it's good enough for me. And I have problem with what young Mr. Radcliffe said. Because my experience of religion has not given me all the answers. Au contraire. Though I was raised a Catholic and still identify as a Christian, despite my interest in all things spiritual, I'm more in line with Mahatma Gandhi, who observed, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."

I don't have any more proof than the next guy that God exists, or doesn't exist. So I'll quote another wise guy, the Dalai Lama, who says, "My religion is kindness." Amen to that. I'd add gratitude. And an expectation that good things are in store for each of us, if we only align our desire with what is actually good and wholesome for us.

In my life I've put a lot of pressure on myself, and at the advice of a very wise woman, Renay Oshop, I've spent the last three years learning to let go of those old patterns and allow room for grace to work. I can't say I've been a star student at the grace thing.

But like any mediocre student, I've learned something. I don't know what else to do now, except head in the direction of grace's slow drip, which in the Creator's wisdom is the only way I can receive it. I couldn't handle fast honey, so I get it slowly. I used to feel unblessed and unlucky. Now I know that's an old story I used to tell myself. By telling myself that story, I was cutting off the possibility of noticing what I've been receiving and being grateful for it. Now I'm noticing that things are being placed in my path, whether it's objects or people appearing at the right time, or more subtle opportunities. I don't know where it's all leading--to want to know is to apply pressure again--but watching and waiting for the good stuff is a lot more fun than the old way. It's like collecting pennies vs. waiting for fortune to rain down on me, and only me.

Whether I've noticed it or not, the good stuff has always come to me. Because the God I know doesn't withhold. The God I know is always rooting for us, for me. For everyone. It's no accident that our ancestors worshipped the sun, which gives its light and warmth to all, worthy and unworthy unlike. God doesn't believe in terms of worth or lack of worth. That's how we humans punish each other. So that's another part of my religion--abstaining from the cycle of punishing those deemed unworthy of love.

So believe. Or don't. Because whoever you are, the sun is shining on you

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