God has really been irritating me lately. I need clear direction and answers for some important questions about work, career, and income. I’ve tried prayer, meditation, sitting in silence, journaling, nature walks, talking to friends, guided visualization….The absolute silence is galling.
I appreciate lovely notions about “The Cloud of Unknowing”, Mystery, and letting go of certainty over and over again. Great. Beautiful. . . Now how about some answers!
- Which option should I choose when pros and cons clash like hyper-partisans in Congress with no clear sign of what is for the highest good of myself, much less the rest of humanity?
- While I’m at it God, how about answering for drought, AIDS, and violence perpetrated in your name?
- For that matter, why not just lay out clearly the meaning and purpose of our existence in a way that can be understood and accepted by all cultures, races and religions?
- And above all, please explain the popularity of the Kardashians.
Of course, one possibility is that there is no God, and that I’m just talking to myself. Perhaps, at most, there might be some sort of evolutionary force moving the universe forward. But there are no answers to be found there, only an impersonal sense of participation in a grander story than my own. While that has a modern poetic vibe, it does nothing for my deep yearning to connect with Something alive and tangible. How can I find guidance or be intimate with an ineffable cloud of mystery that seems like a paler version of “The Force” as presented in Star Wars?
And herein lies the dilemma. I want the answers to my questions, and I would abhor any God who would tell me what to think and do. I’ve already experienced that fundamentalist version of the divine. It was toxic, soul-numbing and asphyxiating. Yet I want God to function like a Ouija board: answers appear, and I can either follow them wholeheartedly as genuine spiritual guidance, or I can laugh the whole thing off as a meaningless parlor game.
It feels like a spiritual version of teenage angst. I want an external source of wisdom (“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!”) to clearly say what life is about and what is the right thing to do, and I also want complete freedom to make up my own answers. (“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter. You must feel The Force around you.” Yoda)
Irenaeus said that the glory of God is a human fully alive. Perhaps the divine, whatever it might be, is not so interested in giving me answers but in me growing up so that I know myself, connect with LIfe within and around me, and generate my own answers. In that creative process I think God also comes fully alive.