Thursday, September 20

What is God to you?

There was a man, gifted with the ability to see into people’s hearts, in search of truth. He travelled the world to speak with the most renowned and spiritual men humanity had to offer. He asked them all a single question, one which he himself could not answer – “What is God to you?”

He approached a famous preacher, who drew thousands of people to stadiums whenever he spoke. “What is God to you?” the man said. The preacher replied in a most harrowing voice “He is our glorious Father in Heaven, who knows all and sees all!” The man became confused, as what preacher who actually believed that God could see all things would privately act in a manner that he deemed inappropriate for public consumption.

Later in the day, he stumbled inside a small archaic church building, and approached an old priest who was sitting in his office. The priest’s warm smile and welcoming attitude endeared all who visited him. “What is God to you?” the man said, greatly anticipating what answer this kindly old priest had to give. The priest, with a smile as wide as the horizon, said “My dear child, God is the benevolent ruler of the world; he is the healer of mankind.” Disappointed, the man became confused, as the gratuitous amounts of evil and suffering in the world belies such a definition.

After receiving his answer and walking out of the priest’s office, the man stops to see a layman kneeling in prayer in front of the altar. The man decided to ask him the question, as the determination in the layman’s face dazzled any onlooker. Interrupting his prayer, the man asks “What is God to you?” Turning his head sidewise with a firm gaze, the layman said – “He is my rock, He gives me strength to do all things!” The man became confused, as this layman was like any other; he relied on himself to accomplish ordinary things.

Before the man could walk out the door, he spies a gentle lady quietly practicing a song for next week’s service. Now willing to ask it of anyone, the man approaches the lady and asks “What is God to you?” Pausing between notes, the lady uttered her answer with a swoon, “God is the love of my heart.” While appreciating the sincerity in her answer, the man became confused, as this lady was a lover of many things, who sought pleasure and was heavily attached to her material possessions.

More confused as he was when he began his journey; the man exits the building feeling no closer to the answer he yearned for. While walking away from the church on a sidewalk, the man spots a beggar ahead, giving shoe shines for spare change. Before drifting past the beggar’s position, the man asks “what is God to you?” The beggar pauses, staring at the man quizzically, and moans “Coins first, answers later!”

The man grasps the loose change in his pockets and hurls it onto the beggar’s rag, eager to get his answer and keep moving. Without flinch or hesitation, the beggar says “God is nothing to me; I would not be able to live with myself if such a being existed.”

Initially shocked, the man was not confused; as it was the first honest answer he had heard all day.

7 Comments:

Blogger Timothy said...

The burning bush can't have all the fun, so I decided to change my prose for a narrative in this post. In the end, like all posts, it has a two-dimensional point it is trying to drive home.

4:40 PM  
Blogger the_burning_bush said...

I hold nothing against fun readings, but I do hold, with a burning insistence, to the serious emphasis. Reading this narrative, you seem to understand my appeal.

Indirect communication is essential in conveying 'existential christianity' ... espeically when eyes do not see and ears do not hear. I believe it serves this blog well.

As for the narrative itself, I regard it highly. The subject seems to be able to read what's going on inside people, but it doesn't rely on the 'shock' of such a power as most science fiction does. (Along those lines I was wondering if the beggar could live with himself knowing a being with such a power existed).

Without mentioning the obvious about the beggar's quality in this story, he reminded me a lot of Peter when Christ first met him in Luke 5: "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Chloe said...

Perhaps this is about how we have a habit of falling into idolotry?

2:07 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

That is indeed part of it chloe. It was designed to explore the practical implications to common theologies. Does the way we live coincide with how we define God? Or does it clash, producing a man that spends his life trying to convince himself of his beliefs, but never getting there.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Ry said...

Hey Timothy,

Ryan from Florida here. I think this post is one of your better ones. Can you do more of this?

-R
P.S. I still think we should somehow meet.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hey Ry,

Sorry if this is a very late reply to your comment, I only just noticed it here. Thankyou for the encouragement! The message behind it was beating around in my head for quite awhile, but I just could not find an effective way to express it through prose. And after seeing the burning bush dabble in fiction over at his blog, I got the idea to hide it behind a narrative!

Unfortunately being in Sydney I imagine it would be quite difficult to meet.

6:05 PM  
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11:36 AM  

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