The Not So Hidden God

The Not So Hidden God

Remember when you were a little kid and your mom or maybe a nun at school told you that God is EVERYWHERE. I recall being sort of freaked out. You know what I mean? It made me nervous to know that God could see me, even when I was trying to light up one of my dad’s cigs in the bathroom.

In my grown-up way of envisioning God, I still see God as everywhere but it’s not the stern overseer of all my shortcomings that I see but a God of love. He (She) is not up in the clouds somewhere counting our failings. God is not “up there” at all but in me and in all of creation.

God is not a hidden God at all. He is easy to discover anywhere we look.
Want to see God? Look for Him in a young couple saying their “I do’s” to one another on their wedding day, or a soldier putting his life on the line for the country he loves, or parents working two jobs for their family, or entertainers volunteering their talents for starving children they will never see.

The God who is everywhere is in us. He is our better nature, the part of us that yearns for peace in the world and hope for our children. God lives in our longing for a just world where every kid has parents, who tuck him in at night, put away money for his education and show up for every school play.

The presence of God is not limited to our species. Who among us cannot see the hand of God in the way elephants will mourn the death of one of their own, or in the loyalty of dogs to their owners or the fierce protectiveness of a mother lioness towards her cubs? Call it “instinct” if you must but I see in that instinct an expression of love.

Ah! But you say, if God is everywhere, where is he when children in Somalia starve to death or when warlords recruit children to kill or when politicians act out of greed instead of following the conscience? How do we explain the seeming absence of God in the killing fields of Cambodia or the Holocaust? The French philosopher, Camus, put it powerfully. “Explain to me how God allows the suffering of children in our world and I will believe in Him.”

I don’t pretend to have an answer for Camus. Much greater intellects than mine have grappled with the mystery of evil in our midst. What helps me to reach even a glimmer of understanding of something so beyond me, is to acknowledge the awesome power in each of us to choose evil over good. It is not that God is absent but that we have the freedom to blind ourselves to His presence.

The yearning for power or greed has shut our eyes to that better nature for which we were created. God is still here but we look past Him. And, in doing so, we render Him, who is the source of love, invisible for us. The hidden God is not in hiding at all if we have eyes to see.

The New Narcissists

The New Narcissists

Did you happen to catch the article entitled “Living Alone is the New Norm.” in the March 12, issue of Time Magazine? The article written by Professor Klinenberg, a Professor of Sociology at New York University, is like a peon of praise for living the single life.

Says the professor, “Living alone allows us to do what we want, when we want, on our own terms. It liberates us from the constraints of domestic partner’s needs and demands and permits us to focus on ourselves.”

To the harried mom trying to do a shopping trip with two little guys in tow, or the dad working a second job to support a family, or any post honeymoon young couple struggling with their relationship, this vision of living alone sounds pretty seductive doesn’t it? Yes! That’s for me. Doing what I want when I want to do it, untouched by the “constraints” of other people’s needs.

But you know something? It’s those “constraints” that help us grow as human beings. We grow as persons by the give and take involved in relationships with others, by putting aside our own interests so that we can be present for our children. We are created social beings, responsible for one another, both in our own families and in the wider community. It’s the push and pull of living in relationships with others that stretch us and mold us into
complete persons.

Profess Klineberg, in his article, claims, “Living alone helps us pursue the sacred modern values-individual freedom, personal control and self-realization.”

What a load of manure. I submit that too many of us are already “pursuing our sacred modern values” with the predictable result of widespread poverty, abandoned children and darn near perpetual warfare among nations. We want our individual freedom; no matter if our choices hurt the freedom of others, We don’t want to be responsible for others. It’s all about seeking self-fulfillment without the messiness of including others in our quest.

I suggest that we are much better off both as individuals and as a society by renewing our commitment to some of the Judeo-Christian values enshrined in the Golden Rule and leading us to stand for values like
brotherly love, making a difference in the world and serving others.

Whether you live alone or with others, these are the values that will turn you away from narrow self-focus and put you on the road towards being a whole person. Don’t you think?

Song of Our Lives

The Song of Our Lives
Today, Tomorrow and Forever

TODAY

I cry for humanity
For little children dying in the streets
For old people who no longer hope
For babies who will never be born
For inmates languishing in their cells
For soldiers who no longer know why they kill

I cry for those who die alone
For the poor of Calcutta
For the wealthy who live without meaning
For woman who have no voice
For the greedy who never have enough
For parents who abuse their kids

TOMORROW

I sing a joyful song
I sing for the wonder in a child’s eyes
For early morning coffee and family dinners
For the passion for justice that lives in young people
For the kiss of the sun on your back
For the daffodils in spring, and laughter and dancing

I sing with joy for the hope that lives in our souls
For that universal, unquenchable yearning for peace
For the hero who lays down his life for a friend
For the cry of compassion that never dies
For the overwhelming beauty of our universe
For kindness and gentleness that will not be quenched

FOREVER

And the tears and the laughter are the sinews of our lives
The weddings and the funerals
The births and the deaths
The bliss and the loneliness
And the loving God who made us
“Saw that it was good”