Born and raised in the faith. Somewhere between the GOD IS WATCHING YOUR EVERY MOVE, READY TO DAMN YOU TO HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY of the 1950s and the HEY, MAN, GOD'S COOL vibe of the 1970s.
And so, in the name of all things midlife-crises, I'm questioning everything.
No, it's not along the lines of Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People... I get it. Parents die. So do pets. And it sucks for a while, but then the memories turn more sweet than stinging and the tears subside.
I'm currently struggling with God's love.
I'm told over and over that God loves me. But the concept is hard to grasp. Love. Love is a human emotion. God's not human; He's superhuman. So is He capable of human emotion, given that he's not human? And can He exhibit a feeling that he was powerful enough to create?
I can write a book. But can I be a book?
And if God is capable of the human emotion of love, is He capable of other human emotions?
Can He hate? Can he be bored? Depressed? Manic?
We're told our God is a jealous God. Jealousy is another emotion. In fact, jealousy is a vice, isn't it? So God is capable of some green-eyed envy?
Isn't that weird? Do we want a God who is jealous?
"Hey, Mohammad, I wish I had half your followers. Dang."
"Geez, Christians, look at all the folks into Buddha. <kicks a stray planet with His toe> Wish I had some of that..."
Heaven is another puzzle to me. God created us. He loves us. He wants us to be with him for all eternity, having created a place for us. Which always sounded like the prizes on The Newleywed Game, whose announcer always informed winning couples that they'd been chosen "...just for you."
But to get the "prize," you need to approach God for judgment, where He'll assess your life and either reward your steadfastness against sin or send you down the chute to live in the basement.
Meanwhile, the world sets up so many obstacles that sin seems inevitable. And when God created us Himself, he made us weak in constitution and prone to temptation.
Not exactly worthy tools with which to combat our way into Heaven, are they?
So it all comes off to me like this: Stripped naked, we're set before a forest of brambles. And the challenge is this: Run through it without getting a single nick on your skin. Ready? GO. And if you emerge from the other side with just one scratch -- just one! -- you're through. So solly Cholly.
I know we're reliant on His mercy. But it still seems so... poorly thought out.
I end up picturing heaven as either full of people I know. Or completely devoid of people I know.
Heaven also seems, forgive me, boring. I'm worried about heaven being dull. No chance for an invigorating bike ride. No scrumbling a dog's coat with my fingers. No chance to drink from a long, tall glass of iced tea that is so cool, the moisture on the outside of the glass dribbles to the bottom. No gorgeous sunsets to see. No bracing swim in the ocean.
Just the "bliss" of looking into the face of God all day.
What if he's cranky that day?