A Casual Conversation with God
(Cover Image: Cradling Earth (©2022 Archean Enterprises, LLC; ArcheanArt)
One of the more striking images I carried from the January 6th insurrection was the sight of police officers being beaten with American flag poles, while Trump signs and Jesus Saves banners floated in the background. Conservative White Christian Nationalists were on a mission. Undoubtedly their actions followed a good deal of prayer where they communed with God, seeking instructions. It would be interesting to know whether the part about beating police officers with an American flag was part of a divine directive or some misguided ad-libbing. The January 6th crowd was not an anomaly; millions of Christians pray daily to get some heavenly direction for their lives.
Some of the latest headlines raise questions about what kind of advice is being dispensed. Southern Baptist preachers appear to either have gotten some terrible advice or grossly misunderstood the message. One would think the proposition of sexually assaulting women or minors would be a straightforward yes or no decision, with no being the correct answer. Still, the facts of the scandal indicate some Southern Baptists may view it as a bit of a gray area. Catholics also seem to occasionally suffer from this same quandary.
Like many people, I have the occasional conversation with God. In my experience, She is always reasonably helpful. The first time we spoke, I was hot on the trail of deciphering how Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in the one God, the God of Abraham. Yet, the historical relationship between these three religions is rife with acrimony and distrust. When I asked, She didn’t have much to say on the subject except that it was above my pay grade. I liked that answer. After all, it’s none of my business how another person relates to God.
I received the same sort of message when I inquired about abortion. She said the particulars were a private matter between God and pregnant women, and I was not a part of either of those groups. I casually mentioned how lots of people down here seemed to be speaking on Her behalf, and some were even passing laws about the issue. The best words to express Her refrain were “Quite presumptuous of them.”
But preachers and priests speak daily on God’s behalf with sermons like “Knowing God’s Mind.” This observation drew a bit of a chuckle from Her. After successfully managing the universe for 13.8 billion years and tending to trillions of inhabitable planets, it’s ironic that some newcomers to the scene, advanced apes on an obscure backwater planet at the fringes of the Milky Way Galaxy, appear to believe they are qualified to speak for God. I saw the humor in it also. No disrespect to the Pope, but he has only been at the game for less than 100 years.
Naturally, since I had Her ear, I asked about the Bible. She seemed to infer it was a reasonable account of what people believed She had said. But language, being such a slippery and ambiguous mode of communication, left ample room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. I thought this observation was a refreshingly honest critique.
The conversation drifted to guns, and She pointed out that neither the authors of the Bible nor our founding fathers knew what an AR-15 style weapon was. They would probably be appalled how an original desire for a well-ordered local government militia to defend the community had turned into a murderous free-for-all. I felt there might not be much distinction in Her mind between those who do the killing and those who willingly support them with weapons and legal protections.
I finally got around to Her views on gender orientation and identification. There was a very long pause before She said, “How do you think I feel about it?”