Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spirit in the Sky

We've made it through the more ominous of the Jewish high holidays and as of Friday at sundown we start that week where Jews hang out in backyard huts and shake tree branches and lemons in every geographic direction. By the way, it's called Sukkot and it's a really great holiday but not the topic of tonight's post.

For now, I thought I would regress to one of the themes that dominates both Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). No, not repentance or how to survive a 25-hour fast. I'm gonna dig a little deeper in these next few paragraphs of random musings and try to get a conversation going about God.

I make absolutely zero claims here and have no intention but to describe how I sort of envision a higher power. More than anything, I'd love to spark a few ideas in your head, dear reader, and to read your own thoughts in the comments section. Oh and I'm uber-rebellious and spelling out the word God. A format like a blog is ephemeral enough for me to sport the ineffable. So there.

Like most good little Jewish kids, I learned about God creating the Universe in six days and then resting for a day before doing things like kicking out Adam and Eve, parting the Red Sea and rocking a few miracles. We got some vague lesson about God not being a man or a woman, but then all the prayers seemed to be addressed to a rather powerful and sometimes angry dude.

As an adult, I'd like to think my conception of the Almighty has evolved somewhat and here's what I've come up with that works for me. God or Yahweh or some higher power designed the world in a way that everything harmonizes together. Whether that took place in seven days as we conceive of them or in "God days" that actually take a few millennia, I'd like to think that certain things are just too perfect to be totally random. Flower petals, symbiotic animal relationships, etc.

After that initial breath of life so to speak, God set the ball in motion and left it to the created beings to take over. God may or may not know what we do on a daily basis and God may or may not care. God may have a jam-packed schedule or may be stuck in traffic on the 405.

I don't believe God is a He or a She. God is just God and our language is too damn limited to figure out how to talk about God without restrictive pronouns or gendered adjectives. God may be majestic, sheltering, compassionate, merciful, judging, infinite and 72 other things, but God isn't a man or a woman. That said, ask me again after a day in pantyhose and heels and I may denounce this whole paragraph and voice my frustration with God for making my ass and legs look so much better in such uncomfortable clothes.

Finally, I'm pretty convinced there isn't any difference between Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Vishnu, Jesus, Allah, Zeus or Buddha. They're all manifestations or slightly varied conceptions on a Creator imbued with greater power and force than us mere mortals. Listen, the Universe is a complex place. People need a little cosmic organization and nothing says anal-retentive like an all-encompassing, all-knowing Supreme Being.

So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering or academically sourced, but it's my honest view of a ridiculously ambiguous and challenging notion. Take from it what you will and then if you feel sufficiently brave, share. Thanks for being a part of this fun little group project and please be respectful of others before you post. Let the theology begin!

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