Sunday, September 5

Told You, We Are Not Our God

A “Huh?!” thing happened on my way to and in church today.

Suddenly found myself caught in the middle of two vehicles on a 25 mph, one-way, backstreet. The van in front of me was obviously in no hurry to get to where it needs to go. The Camry behind me was the total opposite.

At the very first stop sign, I heard a honk coming from the Camry. Looked at my rearview mirror and saw a lady driver. Long black, wavy hair. Deep-set eyes. Well defined cheek bones. One can easily see the exasperation on her face. She obviously needed to be someplace else, now!

As soon as all 3 of us cars passed the stop sign, I slowed down allowing the Camry to go ahead of me. With anticipation, I watched at what the Camry would do next; seeing that the van was obviously not to be bothered. The Camry tailgated, then eventually overtook the van and sped at about 40 mph on this 25 mph street. That was the last I saw of the Camry. Or so I thought.

I arrived just in time for church. I was getting into the flow of the service, oblivious to everything around and outside of me, when I happened to look at the reader. And there I saw. “Long black, wavy hair. Deep-set eyes. Well defined cheek bones.” The Camry! I mean, the Camry’s lady driver!

Well, what do you know? Who would think that an aggressive, offensive driver could actually be a church server?! Then again, why not? Told you already, we are not our god.

So, why do we subscribe to a religion? Albeit, the reasons are aplenty. But whatever they are – the need to uphold tradition or the need to meet new people, to be part of the community, to belong, to be grounded and centered – there is one word that threads it all together: NEED.

Obviously, where there is a need, there is imperfection. And where there is imperfection, there is a search. Essentially, all things equal, with the notion that God is good and God is perfect, the need and the search end with the notion of a God. God then is the end. And where do people normally start their search for God? Religion*. Religion, and all activities related to it therefore, is not the end. It is a means; a means that will hopefully lead to the fulfillment of the need.

Thus, don’t be surprised to see us not-so-perfect and struggling individuals there. We are there precisely because we are imperfect and we are struggling. We are in need of answers and healing. Of course, not everyone is healed. It all depends on one’s belief that one’s choice of religion is what the doctor ordered, on one’s resolve to stick to the prescription**, and on one’s faith that he/she will be healed and, once healed, will be in a place where God is. A place of goodness and perfection.

If we are our God, then we wouldn't be in search would we?  We would be perfect then, won't we?  No, we are not our God.  Nor are we a mirror image of Him.  Far from it.  Not until we start behaving like Him.

* Religion is as much a means as materialism – drugs, alcohol, sex, money, fame, power – is a means. And don't we know where both religiosity and materialism, if taken to the extreme and, worse, in combination, end? One need only think September 11 to know.

** Yes, what is uncool about religion is that it requires discipline, yet it is not a cure-all.  One has to really believe that it is in the grind that we get our imperfections polished and our needs eventually fulfilled … a step at a time, one day at a time.

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