“… and that’s the third great lesson of Job. There’s no justice in a world where God makes bets with the Devil for his own amusement.”
Irreverent, sarcastic, a little caustic – this is the kind of line that defines my writing and my usual demeanor. My second favorite passage comes a little earlier in the same chapter when Blanche offers to pray for Cliff and makes a mockery of Christian charity in the process:
She still had a grip on Cliff’s hand. A crowd had started to gather around them, circling like sharks sensing blood in the water. Blanche looked up toward the ceiling, suspended acoustic tile punctuated with fluorescent light fixtures. So fervent was her gaze Cliff almost believed God must be on the other side of the tiles, hiding in the conduit and duct work, just waiting for the chance to bless a petitioner.
You might get the idea from reading these that I delight in making sport of the religious inclinations of others. You would be right. I do. I don’t know why, really. I just have this abiding idea that there is a lot of shit lurking down in the details of most people’s personal theologies, and it’s my job somehow to call them out on it. I’m sorry if this offends, but I can’t help myself. Neither it seems can a lot of the people I call out … so there’s always that.
The world is full to the brim with people beating each other over the head with their personal interpretation of the God of Love … or the love of God, whichever way you want to think of it. Only rarely, if at all, is this of any use to the person being beaten. If you’ve been a victim, you know this is so. If you’ve been the bully, then you need to pause and reflect on just how many souls this approach has led to salvation. My guess is none.
There is Humility in Grace
There is nothing inherently wrong with being right. Lord knows I put a lot of stock in it myself. Still, for the pious Christian, it’s more important to be sympathetic than correct, to be merciful and understanding rather than legally righteous and judgmental.
The fellows in the Gospels who were always taking the legalistic and judgmental approach to religion and arguing the fine points of correct behavior were the Pharisees. Jesus called them ‘whited sepulchers.’ I think this phrase has lost some of it’s oomph in translation. I think it was meant to be a lot less complimentary than it sounds.
… and Grace in Humility
It also pays, I think, when you are going to make a stand on moral grounds, to take careful note of who is standing with you. White supremacists are notoriously religious in their self-justification. They look to Biblical precedent for the preservation of their race and the denigration of others. They think of it as a heavenly mandate. You probably don’t want to be standing next to these people when the real judgment begins. Just sayin’.
As usual, if you found any merit in this post, please consider sharing it with you network by clicking one or all of the social media buttons below. You’ll help me grow my fan base, and maybe in some small way help to change the course of human history back to a kinder, gentler way of living. I’m vested just because I don’t want to have to worry who is standing next to me on judgment day.