I almost quite doing my blog last night. All I wanted was to close the door to everything, curl up in a little ball and let the world pass me by. I'm tired of religion, every aspect of it: tired of leaving mine, tired of talking to people about it, tired of hearing about theirs, tired of being asked questions, tired of thinking about it, tired, tired, tired. Can I just say this has been a hard year. Good-bye to 2014, the year from Hell. Good-bye to you!
So why am I sitting at my computer this morning? ...why... because I can't let go of God. And I frankly don't care who God is, male, female, a spirit, the trinity, three separate beings, I don't care, because until I die, I won't really know. So, I'm just sticking with what I do know...God is love. And when we miss that, we miss it all! Who knew those four adorable mop heads with British accents held the answer all along..."all you need is love."
There's something about God that I just can't give up on... and it's love.
That's my story and I sticking to it! That's the God I know and that's the God I will defend. Here's the kicker though, love isn't easy. Like Christ said, its easy to love those that love you, but others it's a bit more difficult. But, and here's the good part... when you know love is the answer, at least you know which direction you need to go, and that's half the battle! The other half is actually doing it; that's hard and God knows it, so this life gives us PLENTY of opportunities to learn it. And when we fail because pride gets in the way, and we become miserable, we can turn to love and dig our way out of the mess that we created, and try again. Always try again, and again, and again!
Many years ago, I had this most adorable friend named Grace. She was my next door neighbor and 30 years older then me. I loved her; we had so much fun together! Grace had the best sense of humor, we laugh and laugh, and Grace had style, let me tell you she had style. She was just one of those rare gems that comes into your life and adds a spark that you cherish forever. And even though I moved a few miles away, we still remained good friends.
A couple of years into our friendship, Grace was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We went to the doctors appointments together, I was by her side through chemo, she went into a short remission and then the end came. My spark was gone, this adorable, full of life person was gone.
We had a neighbor named Natalie that was also our friend. Sometimes we would have little luncheons at our houses. One day, after Grace had passed away, Natalie stopped by my house. I invited her in and we sat and talked about Grace. Natalie seemed very emotional during our conversation and I wasn't quite getting what she was trying to tell to me. (Oh...let me explain before I go on, Grace and I were both Mormons, and Natalie was a born again Christian, I don't remember which church she attended) Natalie told me that she had vowed to herself that she wasn't going to let another of her Mormon friends go to Hell, and that she was here to warn me of the danger of me going to Hell. Natalie had intended to warn Grace, but failed to do so and now Grace was in Hell and it tormented Natalie, so she vowed not to let that happen again and she was there to save me.
I have to admit that at first I didn't grasp what she was saying. But finally I did. And I asked Natalie, I remember the exact words I used. "You mean our darling Grace is in Hell?" And when I realized that that was what she was telling me, I just said, "I don't know that God." Let me just add here, that Natalie was not offending me at all. I knew she was coming to me out of love and concern, and I respected that. And I hugged her and told her I appreciated her coming, because I did. But I also remember thinking to myself, I'm so glad I don't have to explain that God to anyone. Really, more than anything else about our conversation, I was glad I didn't have to explain that God to anyone and that my concept of God did not send darling people like Grace to Hell. You may recall in my last post that I said I don't believe in a pointless God and that in my opinion is a pointless God, it's the exact definition of a pointless God!
People confess God, say He is love...but sometimes miss the big picture.....GOD IS LOVE! So anything unloving, like sending Grace to Hell just because she happens to be the wrong religion, isn't very loving is it? Could it be that it's not God that isn't loving, but the religion that is proclaiming that Grace is going to Hell that isn't very loving? You know the old joke... Christianity, isn't very Christian, or Gandhi's famous quote. "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Don't get me wrong, I do like Christian's, I consider myself one, but Christianity has a lot of explaining to do, and so many of it's beliefs do NOT follow what Christ taught.
We went out to dinner the other night with our friends who are very kind, good people; after we ordered and were sitting chatting at the table, the wife asked us, "what do your kids think about your leaving the church?" They looked intensely interested in hearing our answer. The question kind of threw me a bit, I wasn't expecting it. So I sat there for a minute to gather my thoughts. Well first of all, two of our kids are not active members, so it doesn't bother them any, and the other two are very independent thinkers, especially our son. He loves to discuss religion and would never be swayed by anything we said. Our daughter, it has been a bit harder on. Those were the thoughts going through my head, but I don't think I explained that to them; I think we began to explain our current state of thinking if I remember right. But while we were talking, I asked them what they believed about, why we were here, what was this life for? I was very interested to know what they believed, as they are, I would guess Evangelical. They said that God created us because He wanted people to return to Him that choose to worship Him. He said, "God created us because He wanted people to worship Him and that free agency was important because He wanted people who choose to worship Him, God could have created people to worship Him, but God wanted us to choose it because that was more meaningful to Him."
At this point, I can hardly put the words together to make a sentence. "You mean to tell me that your God, created all these people knowing that some would not choose to worship Him and would be cast down to Hell as a result and suffer there, just so He can have a group of people who choose to worship Him live with Him in heaven, even though He could have created people to worship Him, He wanted those who chose it because it is more meaningful." And if the cost of that meaningfulness is to send some, many actually, people to Hell, so be it, that's the cost. Okay, I have heard this same scenario too many times to just say, "I don't know that God." This night I had to defend my purposeful God, from this pointless God, and I said, "I would not worship that God." Is that so bad? I wouldn't worship that God. I worship a God who loves all of His children and shows that love to us by creating a world and experiences for us to grow and learn to Love as He does. I believe He's bringing us all back to Him. What all that in tells I don't know, He's the one that's Omnipotent not me, and if Christ's atonement is necessary to do that, then I believe in that. I have a hope in Christ. But I have a bigger HOPE and trust in a purposeful God that has a bigger plan that includes our becoming like Him, meaning learning to love like Him. And where that all leads to in the next life I don't know, I think that is where faith comes in, we don't have the whole plan, but I have faith in it.
Let me pause here, to say, I really mean no offense to our friends, they mean well and that is their belief and I don't want to be disrespectful. I really don't! That's why I don't like religion. It divides people, it causes arguments, it destroys family and friend relationships. I have no ill will towards anyone and their beliefs and to quote Mormon doctrine, "let them worship how, where, and what they may." I really believe in that. And I know the hearts of Christians are good, very good, as are the hearts of Mormons, who are Christians. And I know that born again Christians would take exception to the way I explained their God, I'm sure there is a lot more purpose and meaning to their beliefs, but you should hear what it sounds like to an outsider, this really is what it sounds like. So now that I have made a lot of enemies, let me again say I love you all, I simply choose to believe in a bigger God, or at least a bigger plan. And if I'm wrong you can come visit Grace and I in Hell, I'm sure we will need ministering to.
So I guess for now, I'm sticking with the Beatles... all you need is love. Hey why not, I like their music too!