One Small Favor

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Dear Yahweh,

You prefer to be referred to as Yahweh, right?  Yahweh – the unnameable, unspeakable one.    A jumble of vowels that can’t be pronounced.   Do you mind if I just call you “God”? 

So, God – I gotta say, you have this whole mystery and ‘inscrutable’ thing down!  I mean, I get the strategy.   If you stay mysterious and unknowable, then no one gets left out.  Everyone has access to you, speaks your language of ‘no language’.

But I’m just wondering if you’d consider setting this whole “mystery” thing aside, and be a little more obvious in what your grand plan is for our planet.

See….we’re really struggling down here.  First, we keep making more of ourselves, doubling and then redoubling . . . like true consumers, we think more is better, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not working out so well.

I bet you’re rethinking that whole “go forth and multiply” thing.

Anyway, I know it’s been a long time since we’ve been in touch, and I’m really sorry. I have been meditating a lot lately though.  That has to count for something, right?  And also, just to refresh your memory, I haven’t asked for much in quite a while.  I haven’t asked you to win the big one for the Broncos, or to speed Mueller along, or even give me a sign whether to buy those cute jeans.

I guess I didn’t want to use my tokens.  So, maybe, can I use one now?

Here’s the deal.  We’ve lost our minds.  You gave us these neuron-packed brains that can figure out so many things – like living in space and curing cancer and packing gigabytes of information on a tiny piece of plastic – but we can’t do the most basic thing, like keep our house clean and picked up.  Or not pee in our bath water.  Or not shoot each other to smithereens . . . all because we like to have our ‘fun’ with rat-a-tat guns that slice through bodies like butter.

We’ve forgotten the most basic of rules, that pesky Golden one.  We put people in categories – like red, blue and purple – and then get all indignant when we ourselves get put in a category.  We’re swimming in our own hypocrisy, thinking that if only that person out there changes, we’d all be better off.

That whole glass houses thing…it’s so inconvenient.

Well, it just seems to me like we’re heading in the wrong direction.  The truest truth that’s out there, that just hits my gut like a well-place jab but I admire it for its grace and accuracy – is that we’re probably not going to make it. 

What I used to read as dystopian science fiction – it feels less like fiction these days.

I don’t say this out loud to many people.  I’ve hinted around at it, and it’s like I’ve said “God is dead,” or something.  The “it’s all love and light” people shower me with helpful advice, reminding me that the ‘arc of the moral universe bends toward justice’ and ‘love is all there is.’  And you know, maybe they’re right.  Maybe I am this glass-half-empty pessimist who has given up. 

But you know….I don’t think so.  I really don’t.  I plant seeds.  I serve refugees.  I protest.  But not because I’m banking on any outcome that saves us all, but because there’s just nothing else to do.

I do have one small request though.  There’s this tiny little thing that keeps bugging me.

I just want to make sure that you’re aware of our suffering, right? 

I’m not talking about little suffering, like not getting the promotion you want.  I’m talking about the extreme kind, like the little Rohingya babies tossed in fires or the journalists imprisoned for decades for just speaking truth.

Well, it would be great if you’d consider changing the terms of our agreement.  I mean, we get free will and that’s awesome!  But all this suffering is a pretty steep price to pay for the gift of autonomy, don’t you think? 

I just don’t think it’s too much to ask.  With all due respect, you helped Moses and his people for decades in the desert, St. John in his dark night of the soul, and don’t even get me started on Lazarus! 

All we’re asking for is a little help here.

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