Monday, June 23, 2014

Church thoughts

Yesterday was Mom's first official day as eucharistic minister, so my sister, nephew and I went to St. James, the church of my youth, to witness it.

It was, I think, my first visit to St. James since Gram died. Still smelled the same -- incensey and musty -- like a church should. It all looked the same, except the pews had less wax stains on them.

It felt good to be back, then Mass started. Actually, my chief problem is not the ideology and the fact that some people there would prefer to undo Vatican 2 (more than they have), it's the sound system. I literally heard one Jesus and a few snatches of the Creed, and that was about it.

Instead, I stared at the statue of Jesus near me and thought.

Almost no part of me, at even the worst times, doubts God exists. Too much had to happen just so to enable life, and it did happen. I am sure something started the process of life, something gave the right push to the various atoms into the right forms.

But then I am stuck because try as I might I cannot say God is a loving father. And it didn't help that I did hear one other phrase: "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

So God can wipe away sin with a word, but he cannot, or chooses not to, wipe away disease, broken bodies and monumental evil? That is hard for me to swallow.

I'll even make it easy: God does not need to fix everything. Any manmade fault is not his business. That means idiots who kill or lead others to are not God's problem. Someone injured in a car accident -- God does not need to fix. An illness that comes after years of mistreating one's body -- God gets a pass.

BUT people who are born sick? People who never had God's gift of having life and having it to the full? I totally blame God.

And don't give me that "it'll be great in the next life." Screw that. I am pretty sure the afterlife will be good. Who  cares? I am suffering now. Jesus didn't say, "Sure, I am about to be crucified, but the afterlife will be so great." And that was meaningful suffering, we're told. Does my suffering do anything?

Is God limited? We say he is all-powerful, but are we wrong? Mom asks where God would stop if he healed.

Reynolds Price suggests God may not care for everyone as deeply. I don't like that idea.

He also suggests that everything, good and bad, comes from God. That is more tolerable to me, but it portrays God as kind of uncaring. He knew going into this then that a certain number of repeats on  a certain chain of one's DNA would cause Friedreich's ataxia, for instance, and he did nothing.

How is God not culpable?

I feel this even surrounded by blessings that make FA bearable. I refuse to feel hypocritical, though, because unless God accepts the blame for FA, he cannot be responsible for the blessings.

So I am left with an all-powerful God who can't help or an all-loving God who doesn't care.

I guess the former  is better, but God would have to limit himself.

And I just don't get how a loving father can be so cold.

Maybe I am better off sleeping in on Sundays.


Anonymous said...

response has changed. odd hearing at first , but i like it now. copied this explanation:

- Right before Communion we say this: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

Pretty soon we'll say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." That sounds odd until you realize it's from the Gospels, when a centurion tells Jesus that he's not worthy to have him come under his roof.

ahhhh, my soul shall be healed. my experience at healing services, exactly. not healed, but feel better about being sick !


Anonymous said...

credit my source.

Matt Trott said...

Yes, I do not like that new flowery language.

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