God and I don’t usually get into theological discussions, but recent claims on Facebook—that we shouldn’t worry because GOD IS IN CONTROL—forced me to bring this up. “Are humans autonomous?” I asked God.
“Yes,” God answered, looking a little wary. “It’s a package deal. Comes with consciousness.”
“So when people say ‘You, Oh Most Amazing, Most Loving, Most Majestic Creator, YOU are in control’…”
God interrupted. “They’re wrong. You know I’m the biggest forgiver you could ever hope to meet, but I’m not a control freak. I made it possible for you to love each other and tend the earth responsibly. To save things and make things better. That’s my contribution.”
“So, um, you’re not going to do it for us? You’re not going to intervene? Even if we’re sinking like bags of rocks? Acting worse than pigs? Lying, torturing and starving each other?”
“Right. But you always have the option to save yourselves.”
God looked impatient. Maybe even a little angry. “Haven’t I made this painfully clear?”
“You mean like, um, love our neighbors? Give our lives for our enemies? Share? Tell the truth? Ten Commandments. Golden Rule. All that?” I was stammering.
“Exactly. Do you watch the news at all? Do you think, even for a minute, I don’t LOVE the Rohingya? That I’m not starving with the 870 million who are hungry right now? Do you think it was ME who built nuclear bombs? You think I profit from gun sales? C’mon.”
I looked away. God ranted on. “You can’t be serious. Me, in control? What have you been smoking?”
I think God thought this was funny. I wasn’t laughing. God continued. “Okay, I’ll admit, I hold out hope that you’ll do my bidding, but I realize it’s damn hard to give all that you have to the poor, forgive everyone, stop building walls, stop amassing riches, stop hoarding weapons, and just hang out with me in the cloud of unknowing, unselfish, unbearable love.”
“But, God, aren’t you on my side?” I whined. This was my co-author, my sometimes gentle friend, cutting me no slack.
“No,” God said in a big voice. “No. No sides. Your football games? Your stunningly stupid, shortsighted selfishness? Your empire-building? Your big winners and dead losers? No. I have no dogs in your fights. No. NONE.”
God took a deep breath which led to a coughing fit due to the smoky air. I held still.
After some throat-clearing, God went on. “I do have one dog, though. She’s a rescue mutt. I call her Gracie. Look at those eyes.” God’s voice was playful and gruff. I looked. Huge brown eyes, liquid with love. Her fur was long and scruffy, her tail, wagging. God continued. “She’s not a fighter though. She’s a lover, aren’t you girl?” Gracie licked God’s hand. God leaned down and went nose to nose, soaking up some doggy kisses.
I waited. God’s head stayed down, but Gracie offered her paw, and we shook. She licked my hand. I threw a stick, she brought it back. I threw it again, she brought it back. One more time, she brought it back. And then they were gone and I was alone, but Gracie had left me a pile of sticks. Enough to last a lifetime.